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March 4, 2021

Shahryar’s wasted vote makes him target of ridicule, jokes

National

March 4, 2021

PESHAWAR: Shahryar Afridi has become the target of ridicule and jokes after having wasted his vote in the Senate elections in Islamabad as in the end even one ballot counted in the close contest between the winner, Yousaf Raza Gilani of the PPP and the loser, Abdul Hafeez Shaikh of the PTI.

This will haunt the MNA from Kohat for years, more so if he is around during the next Senate elections. His vote was one of the seven that were rejected. Hafeez Shaikh lost by five votes and if Shahryar Afridi had voted correctly the margin of Gilani's victory would have been four. However, even a victory by just one vote is more than enough in such tough contests. In the July 2018 general election, he retained his National Assembly seat, NA-32 Kohat, after having won it in first in 2013. His speaking skills, particularly in Urdu which is often challenging for Pakhtuns, and his performance on TV talk shows opened the way for him to become part of Prime Minister Imran Khan's cabinet.

The 50-year old Shahryar Afridi has been on the downgrade trajectory since some times. He is apparently the only minister to have been shifted around far too often and allotted one portfolio after another in quick succession.

He was first appointed the minister of state for interior, making headlines due to his 'surprise' visits to police stations and his tough, high-sounding statement. However, he was removed after serving for less than a year from August 2018 to April 2019.

He was then made the minister of States and Frontier Regions (Safron) as an additional charge after the death of the minister Ali Mohammad Mehar. This tenure arrangement was also brief as he took charge in April 2019 and was changed in September 2020.

Next he became the minister of state for narcotics control. It was during this period that PML-N's Rana Sanaullah was nabbed by the Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF), which operated under his ministry, for carrying drugs in his vehicle, though the accused is yet to be convicted. Shahryar Afridi served from April 2020 to September 2020 in this position.

Since May 2020, Shahryar Afridi has also been the chairman of the special parliamentary committee on Kashmir whose status is equal to a federal minister. This is the same position that Maulana Fazlur Rahman held for years, but didn't nothing noteworthy

for the cause of Kashmir. Compared to him, one must admit that Shahryar Afridi has been more active on the Kashmir issue. Who knows Prime Minister Imran Khan after having reportedly expressed his anger to Shahryar Afridi for wasting his vote, might consider downgrading Shahryar Afridi's position further in future. This was apparently the fourth time during his two terms as an MNA that he voted during the Senate elections and yet he was unable to properly cast his ballot.