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July 29, 2018

Dr Haider Ali wins NA, PA seats in Swat


July 29, 2018

PESHAWAR: As most of the newly elected lawmakers of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) have started lobbying for getting a berth in the cabinet, a senior politician is looking to his leader Imran Khan if he will finally utilise his services.

The politician is Dr Haider Ali, who won a National Assembly and also provincial assembly seat on PTI ticket from Swat.

Sources close to him told The News that Dr Haider Ali was associated with Awami National Party (ANP) since his student life.

His college fellows recalled that he played an active role from the platform of the Pakhtun Students Federation when he was a student at the Edwardes College and the Khyber Medical College in Peshawar.

Dr Haider Ali has been in politics since 1984. He rose in the ranks of the ANP in upper Swat due to his strong family background.

He was elected Member of the Provincial Assembly (MPA) on ANP ticket during the 2008 general election from Swat.

In those days, the Swat valley and particularly his village was under the influence of the local Taliban loyal to Maulana Fazlullah.

He was likely to be appointed health minister in the coalition government of Awami National Party and Pakistan People’s Party, but it didn’t happen, apparently because of lack of lobbying by him to get a berth in the cabinet.

Dr Haider Ali was not happy with his leadership but remained associated with the ANP.

After the ANP-PPP government completed its five-year term, he joined the PTI.

“In 2013, he won the election on PTI ticket and it was speculated that he will be assigned an important portfolio in the cabinet. He neither got a cabinet position nor adequate funds for the development of his constituency affected by militancy and devastating floods,” said a PTI source close to Dr Haider Ali.

However, he didn’t switch loyalty and organised the party in Swat.

There were rumours that he might quit PTI and rejoin ANP before the election as his close friends reportedly used to make fun of him that he owned PTI but PTI leadership never owned him.

Still Dr Haider continued his association with PTI.

PTI had earlier issued him party ticket for PK-2 Swat-1, and awarded two tickets to former provincial minister Mehmood Khan, one for National Assembly and another for provincial assembly.

It is said he avoided facing PML-N’s Amir Muqam on NA-2 Swat-I and he reportedly requested the PTI leadership to field someone else in the constituency.

Amir Muqam had undertaken record development work in the constituency from funds provided to him by the PML-N-led federal government.

The PTI leadership gave the ticket to Dr Haider Ali as he belonged to Kheazakhela. He was now required to contest for both the National Assembly and provincial assembly.

He won both the seats. For the National Assembly seat, he defeated Amir Muqam by 19,000 votes.

Sources close to him told The News that Dr Haider Ali unlike other elected PTI lawmakers hasn’t done any lobbying to get a berth in the cabinet.

“His friends suggested to him that it was the right time to use his connections in the party and seek a position in the government in the centre or province. However, he is still arguing that it doesn’t suit him to do lobbying,” said a PTI office-bearer close to Haider Ali.

He said if Imran Khan wanted to accommodate someone from the Malakand region in the federal cabinet, Dr Haider Ali would be the best option.

When reached for his comments, Dr Haider Ali said he would obey whatever instructions are given to him by the party leadership.

“Well, I haven’t taken any decision to keep the NA or provincial assembly seat, but will abide by my party’s decision,” he said.

He said he would prefer to serve in the province if his leadership sought his opinion.

Asked if he would lodge any protest in case he was not accommodated in the provincial setup, he said he would never like to create any controversy in the party for the sake of a cabinet position.

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