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Dark horse Mubashir lands mayor’s job

Dark horse Mubashir lands mayor’s job

LAHORE: Little known even among PML-N circles, retired Col Mubashir Javed on Saturday was elected unopposed Lahore mayor, unofficially, along with his nine deputies, after the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf failed to pitch a full panel for mayoral polls.

The PTI was required to form a panel against the PML-N’s, but the one it submitted to the Election Commission was declared ‘incomplete’ and subsequently rejected.

“We had to submit a panel of 12 candidates, but we had only 10 seats (in the UCs). So the PTI panel for mayoral election was rejected by ECP, declaring it incomplete according to its rules,” PTI Lahore president Waleed Iqbal told Dawn.

He said although the PTI did not have the required number of candidates to form the panel, but there should have been some provision in the law for such a situation. “We will take up this matter in the Lahore High Court,” Waleed declared.

PML-N’s Mushtaq Mughal, Waseem Qadir, Nazeer Swati, Mehr Mahmood, Ijaz Hafeez, Mian Tariq, Bilal Chaudhry, Haji Allah Rakha and Rao Shahabuddin have been elected unopposed. Otherwise, they would have to contest polls on Dec 22. The elected mayor and deputy mayors are likely to take oath after about three weeks.

The PML-N had won 228 of 274 union councils in Lahore in the local election held over a year ago. This is the first time in Lahore’s history that the mayor is going to be elected a year after the local body election.

Mubashir -- ‘A friend in need of the Sharif family’ Mr Mubashir joined the PML-N in 2001, three years after he opted for retirement from the army. He was not given any office in the PML-N and was just a ‘loyal worker’.

A ‘pukka lahori’ (staunch’ Lahorite), as he likes to be known as, Mubashir was born at Mian Mir Colony here, but still has roots in the walled city. His family had migrated from India and settled inside Mochi Gate.

“I joined the army with passion after 1971 war (between Pakistan and India),” he said, adding that at that time he was doing his graduation from the Government College, Lahore. He went to schools in Mian Mir and Cantonment areas.

According to a couple of PML-N politicians Dawn spoke to on Saturday Mubashir was among those who ‘helped’ Hamza Shahbaz after his family was in exile in Saudi Arabia.

“Col Mubashir also served in ISI and was a well connected officer. Hamza acknowledged his loyalty and introduced him to his uncle Nawaz Sharif and father Shahbaz on their return (from exile). However, he (Mubashir) was not considered for a party ticket for any provincial or national assembly seat,” he said, adding Hamza chose a candidate with whom he was most comfortable.

“This is one of the reasons Khwaja Hassaan could not be considered for the coveted slot,” he said.

PML-N Lahore president Pervaiz Malik told Dawn that the party would give some “other responsibility” to Khwaja Hassaan.

Authorised by his father, Hamza carried out an extensive exercise to finalise the names for mayor and deputy mayor slots in Lahore and other districts of Punjab. “Hamza submitted the lists of final candidates to Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif who slightly changed it before approval,” he said.

Col Mubashir reportedly made his presence felt at least in the party circles during NA-122 by-poll where some of the party leaders lauded him for his hard work resulting in the victory of National Assembly Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq. That also brought him closer to Mr Sadiq.

Talking to Dawn, Mr Mubashir said he had no idea even a week before his nomination that he was being considered for the important slot. “It was a surprise for me too. I always work in the party as a worker. I spent most of my time in the past in getting the civic issues of Mian Mir addressed. I never sought a ticket for MPA, MNA slots,” he said.

When asked why he quit army, he said: “I took early retirement from the army back in 1998 because of illness of my father.”

When asked his ‘close links’ with Hamza Shahbaz, Col Mubashir said: “PM Nawaz, CM Shahbaz and Hamza... all are my leaders and I am thankful to them for considering me for this slot. I will carry forward their vision of development.”

About his priorities after assuming the mayor office, Mubashir said: “Provision of clean water, cleanliness, better sewerage system and basic health and education facilities to Lahorites will be his top priorities.”

Published in Dawn, December 11th, 2016

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