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August 19, 2019

MPA-elect to provide healthcare, education facilities to his constituents in Khyber


August 19, 2019

PESHAWAR: Member Provincial Assembly (MPA)-elect Mohammad Shafiq Afridi not only defeated a former federal minister but also a nominee of the sitting lawmaker of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) from Khyber district in the recent election for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly.

Mohammad Shafiq Afridi, 45, contested from the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly constituency, PK-107 Khyber, as an independent candidate and emerged victorious.

He defeated former federal minister Hameedullah Jan Afridi and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) candidate Mohammad Zubair Afridi, who was supported by the PTI MNA Iqbal Afridi.

After winning the election, Shafiq Afridi joined the ruling PTI in the hope that he would get funds to execute uplift projects in his constituency, which was affected by militancy and military operations in the recent past.

“I joined the PTI after consulting my people and voters,” Shafiq Afridi told The News.

Belonging to the Akakhel Afridi tribe in Khyber district, Shafiq Afridi also gave credit to his fellow tribesmen for his victory.

“The entire Akakhel tribe supported me and convinced other candidates from our tribe to withdraw in my favour,” he recalled.

“The people of my constituency voted for me due to our social services. Our family runs the Karwan-e-Haq Foundation for welfare of the people,” he said.

He said he had been in politics since his college days and had opposed the role of the tribal maliks and traditional politicians in the erstwhile Fata.

After obtaining a diploma in Civil Engineering from a local college, Shafiq Afridi started his own business and established a small industry in Peshawar in the 1990s.

After losing the 2018 general election as an independent candidate, he joined the PTI.

However, he revolted against the party decision and opposed the PTI candidate when he was not awarded the ticket to contest the recent polls.

He claimed that he had been approached by many political parties to join them after elections, but he had opted for PTI.

“However, I was not among the ones about whom Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Mahmood Khan had remarked that some of the independents were in his pocket,” he remarked.

He said that his top priority now is to provide education and healthcare facilities to the militancy-stricken people of his constituency. He added that majority of the schools and basic health centres had been damaged in militancy and subsequent military operations.

He said the affected people of remote Tirah valley should be compensated for their damaged houses, shops, crops and other properties.

Shafiq Afridi further said that cannabis was the main crop of Tirah valley and it should be legalized for medicinal purposes as many countries had done.

He asked the federal and provincial governments to promote Tirah valley as a tourist destination because it was blessed with natural beauty.