Late Munir Khan Orakzai. - A file photo

Anwar Shah Orakzai

PESHAWAR: Wrong decisions and unwise friends often bring downfall in politics, and the same happens with former Member of National Assembly Late Munir Khan Orakzai.

In Pakistan, the politics mainly revolves around personalities and the party votes also count. The same is the case in NA-45, Kurram tribal district. People change loyalties with different political parties while seeing the popularity graph and mostly the people also follow the personality instead of the party ideology or greater national interest.

The downslide started when Dr Abdul Qadir, younger brother of Munir Khan Orakzai, did not get ticket of the ruling PTI for provincial seat for the July 2020 elections, and Shahid Bangash instead got ticket for the ruling party in KP. Munir Khan Orakzai was a successful candidate from JUI-F, but Dr Abdul Qadir was desperate to get PTI ticket, which he couldn’t get even for the recently-held by-polls in the constituency after his brother’s death. Malik Fakhar Zaman, who was considered a political rival of Munir Khan Orakzai, was issued the PTI ticket who returned successful in the by-election of Kurram.

Political observers believe that Dr Abdul Qadir was ill-advised to run after PTI ticket and he could have easily got JUI-F ticket and there were good chances of win in that case.

Munir Khan Orakzai won first election from Kurram in 2002 and he was very popular till 2013. He also utilised his good relations with former presidents Pervez Musharraf and Asif Ali Zardari for development projects in the area. However, development in the area from 2008 to 2012 was affected due to militancy and military operations. Elections in the area were not held in 2013 due to law and order issues, but in the 2018 elections, Munir Khan Orakzai was again the winner for third time with the JUI-F ticket. This time, development schemes were not happening in his constituency as he was in the opposition.

Dr Abdul Qadir joined the PTI in 2019 in a hope of getting its ticket for provincial elections, but it didn’t happen. Munir Orakzai’s elder brother Haji Afzal Khan and cousin Advocate Waheedur Rehman were already in the ruling party. Waheed was formerly the PTI president from Kurram and also president of student wing ISF and now he is PTI Birmingham president.

No one from the Orakzai House contested the provincial elections after denial of ticket to Dr Abdul Qadir. Munir Orakzai had to support JUI-F’s Muhammad Riaz Shaheen, his former political rival, in the provincial elections. In the by-election in Kurram, Riaz Shaheen again supported his relative Malik Fakhar Zaman instead of Orakzai.

Late Munir Orakzai did two mistakes before death. His younger brother should have vied for JUI-F ticket instead of PTI and the Orakzai House did not have a plan-B over denial of the ticket from the ruling party. It led to Orakzai family support someone else for provincial seat which they could have easily won provided that they already had the National Assembly seat.

After Munir Khan Orakzai’s death, his brother again applied for PTI ticket for by-elections and again faced failure. They supported PTI candidate’s rival in the election, but the PTI candidate won due to divisions in the rival candidates’ ranks. So Dr Abdul Qadir is yet to contest elections, and political rivals of Orakzai House are now members of National and KP Assemblies.

Now the political survival of Orakzai House depends on its return to the JUI-F folds.

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