Activist and lawyer Jibran Nasir on Tuesday said he will contest elections independently from Karachi on an issue-based agenda.
While talking to Dawn.com, Nasir confirmed that he would be filing nomination papers for PS-111 (formerly PS-113) and NA-247 (formerly NA-250) but would decide to contest on only one of those seats.
Asked about his campaign, he said it will be different from those of the mainstream political parties. Although everyone talks about issues during elections, no one looks to resolve them once in power, he pointed out. “For example, most ministers of the [former] Sindh cabinet live in DHA Karachi and get tankers for water [due to shortage]. When they have this situation in their own homes, how can they solve issues of the people?” he asked.
Elaborating on his agenda, the activist — who has been in the forefront of many causes, including missing persons and rights of religious minorities — said that much has changed since he last contested the election in 2013 from NA-250, receiving a few hundred votes.
“You probably did not even know my name back then but are now asking me about my plans for election,” Nasir quipped, adding that in the past five years he has learnt a lot about himself as well as the system.
Nasir also believes that the masses have evolved politically over the last few years, and are more aware and politicised than they used to be.
“Back then, parties in Karachi would contest elections only on the one-point agenda of throwing the MQM out,” he said, adding that now that peace has been established in the city, the focus is likely to shift to provision of water and health facilities as well as other basic rights of the people.
His reason for entering politics, said Nasir, was to show that the youth is not weak and can provide an alternative against those who do nothing for the people after taking their votes.
Although he will contest the upcoming elections independently, Nasir says the eventual aim is to form a party, comprising like-minded individuals, which focuses on ideologies rather than personalities.
“There is a huge space for an alternative because the current political parties have run their course. Their politics is dying,” Nasir said, adding that people are not content with the current political parties because of the immense compromises on their ideologies they have made for political gains.
“Our politicians have accepted the militarisation of politics which is now a major, toxic issue of Pakistan,” he said, pointing to extra-judicial killings in Karachi and the rest of the country which no one is talking about.
“On these issues, very few people from other parties speak up. Who can dare ask questions?” questioned Nasir, who led protests against Lal Masjid cleric Maulana Abdul Aziz in 2014. “Our politicians have stopped asking difficult questions.”