Election Day is almost upon us and soon enough, Pakistan will have a fresh new set of leaders to shape its future.
But while we’ve been hearing a whole lot of political jargon involving the election’s main players, some – like a bunch of local celebrities – have gone unnoticed, even though they are contesting this year.
Did you know actors Ayub Khoso and Gul-e-Rana, for instance, are running for provincial assembly seats. No, right? Also, Sajid Hassan and acclaimed singer Jawad Ahmed are also campaigning for national assembly seats from Karachi. They are candidates of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Barabari Party Pakistan.
To help simplify things for you, here is a list of the four main celebs who are taking part in the elections this year.
1. Ayub Khoso
Veteran actor Ayub Khoso, a candidate of PS-101, which mainly includes areas of Gulistan-e-Johar and Abul Hassan Isphanai Road, was busy in a meeting and about to leave for another when we finally got a hold of him.
“I’ve got less time and I have to reach a maximum number of my voters in my constituency,” he told The Express Tribune, adding that he suspended his political campaign to reach out to the victims of Mastung. “I’ve seen all the mainstream political parties very closely but I find PPP as the most ideologically mature one and hence, decided to join its cultural wing a few years ago as its information secretary.”
“Being a social person, serving public comes naturally to me. That, I believe, is only possible through awami siyasat and man to man interaction,” Ayub continued. “I have also served people during floods. Now I resolve to serve them on a larger scale for personal satisfaction.”
According to the actor, the MPAs and MNAs have to deliver on bigger things, like issues related to water, environment, education and health, rather than local issues which is the job of local government.
Gul-e-Rana, contesting for PS 94, Landhi Area, was busy with PPP supporters at her election office in Zamababad area. According to her, no party other than PPP and its Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari had the capacity to award tickets to members of the entertainment industry – that too to a female.
It was June 30 when she first visited the area – a day after she was awarded a party ticket. But now, she spends more than 12 hours a day to develop a vote bank in the constituency. “The real elections take place in these areas, where the people are actually affected in a good or bad way from their leadership,” said Rana, who is also the mother of singer Asim Azhar.
“People are welcoming me wherever I go, especially the ladies, as they open their doors seeing that a female candidate has come to them,” the optimistic Rana remarked.
According to her, areas like Landhi are the real Pakistan and the people are not willing to miss a chance this time as they seek a real change. Gul-e-Rana said she wants to work for the welfare of artists and culture as she believes they form the identity of the country.
3. Sajid Hassan
Sajid is contesting for NA256 which includes North Nazimabad and other parts of the locality. According to him, joining a political party and vying for a national assembly seat was necessary to share his thoughts on a platform where all national issues are addressed.
“Before a celebrity, I’m a common man and I could see a solution to everything either small or big,” Sajid said, adding that he also faced backlash for joining PPP. “I see them as the most progressive mainstream political party of the country,” he explained.
Talking about his campaign, the actor, “My 30 years in this field is my campaign and I’m not going to leave the people of my constituency for which my leadership has awarded me a ticket, even if I lose.”
Sajid questioned why Pakistani artists can’t run for elections when Ronald Reagan (an artist) could be a president of the United States and other Bollywood celebrities can run for office as well. “PPP has also taken the first positive steps towards introducing artists in mainstream politics.”
4. Jawad Ahmed
Jawad, a renowned singer and founder of Barbari Party Pakistan, is contesting elections from Lyari in NA-246, against Bilawal. He is also competing against President Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz Shahbaz Sharif and chairman Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Imran Khan.
Like the name of his party suggests, Jawad hopes to bring equality between the rich and poor.