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KARACHI: Mohammad Jibran Nasir, a prominent human rights activist, and lawyer, will be contesting in general elections 2018 from Karachi.
In an exclusive conversation with Geo.tv, Nasir confirmed that he would file his nomination papers for the National Assembly constituency NA-247 (previously NA-250) and provincial assembly constituency PS-11 (previously PS-113) as an independent candidate.
The activist earlier contested from the said constituencies in General Elections 2013 as well but was unable to win a seat.
“I am filing nomination papers for the national and provincial seats but will eventually contest from one seat when the campaign officially starts as per election schedule,” he said.
“The politics today has been restricted to personalities and cult following due to which the public issues and ideological politics have taken a back seat. A glaring example is the fact that not only those who were elected MNA and MPA from my constituency but even the CM of this province has to order water tankers to meet requirements at their personal residence.
“Perhaps, because they are able to afford this expensive arrangement they have failed in the last five years to address the issue of scarcity of water which has now become a national emergency,” he added.
Currently, the rights activist is at the forefront in a number of legal cases being heard by different courts. He is part of an extended legal team in the Naqeebullah murder case, Khadija assault case, as well as a counsel in another police encounter that claimed the life of an innocent citizen named Maqsood.
Nasir was also one of the petitioners against Sindh High Court’s order that removed terrorism charges from Shahrukh Jatoi in the Shahzeb Khan murder case; he is still pursuing an appeal against Abdul Aziz of the Lal Masjid.
“I have been on the ground in Karachi, Thar, Lahore, Islamabad, [and] Parachinar, working with various marginalised groups and, in the process, gaining firsthand experience of the injustice caused by our political system.
“From political parties, to State institutions, to influential feudal lords, to property tycoons, to media channels, to terror outfits, I have experienced how power, religious provocation, the threat of force and/or money are used to manoeuver the system at the expense of the ordinary citizen.
“I have also paid the price of confronting these forces but it is due to the support of the people that I have never backed down; in fact, together, we have been able to push back — in some instances — even managed to hold the guilty accountable and only got more encouragement to work for the collective welfare of the people.”
The lawyer-activist rebuffed the idea of joining any political party sooner or later; instead, he plans on building a new political party with likeminded individuals from all walks of life representing all economic, ethnic, religious, and gender groups.
“There is hardly any recognition for merit, expertise, integrity. The tragic result is in front of us. Those who can serve the country best either shy away from politics or not allowed to enter without compromising on their principles. And we are left at the mercy of an apathetic ruling elite,” he remarked.
“The youth of this country has the potential to change the political landscape of Pakistan and for that, we cannot afford to wait for opportunities. We need to believe in ourselves, take the initiative and create opportunities.”
Nasir said that his campaign team itself will be reflective of the party he plans to build.
“NA-247 is a very diverse constituency in terms of income groups and development. At one extreme we have flyovers with exclusive diversions leading towards high rises and, on the other, we have an enormous number of homeless families seeking refuge under those very flyovers at night,” the activist said.
“The constituency is home to all inhabitants. Hence, in order to work for its collective welfare, it is necessary that every group is represented,” he added.