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Danyal Haroon Bilour to fill his father’s shoes

Danyal Haroon Bilour to fill his father’s shoes

PESHAWAR: Big names lost election held on July 25 this year, but for some like Bilours of Peshawar, the loss meant much more than just an election.

The family lost its ‘political heir’ and PK-78 candidate, Haroon Bilour, in a terrorist attack on July 10.

Just like his father, Danyal Haroon Bilour, came forth to fill his father’s shoes. He has taken responsibility from the day his father was killed. Whether it was to console enraged party workers or to be on his mother’s side during the mourning period, he acted much older than he looks.

Danyal Haroon Bilour was trying to do what his father did after he lost his father, Bashir Bilour, in a brutal terrorist attack on one cold December day in 2012.

There is a difference though. While soft-spoken Haroon Bilour had been a mature man, who had already taken part in local body election when his father got killed in a terrorist attack, bold and eloquent Danyal has not yet attained the legal age to take part in electoral politics. He is just 21, while legal age for contesting election in Pakistan is 25.

“If he wants to join politics in future, it would be his decision,” says Samar Haroon Bilour, the 41-year-old widow, as she looks at her young son, who had attained the role of ‘family’s head’ in a symbolic ceremony where ANP president Asfandyar Wali Khan put a traditional cap on his head.

However, Danyal is firm in his support for his mother to contest in by-elections on constituency PK-78 and says it was desire of all the young workers of ANP, too.

“The elders have not yet decided who could be the best candidate but I believe my mother is the best choice to contest the by-election,” Danyal said while sharing his wish.

He wants his mother to contest saying his father was the political heir of the Bashir Bilour family and it was the ‘political rivals’ who could be behind his elimination as there were other ANP leaders and Ilyas Bilour also at the corner meeting that was hit. This suggests that ANP leaders or Bilour family was not the target.

“It was Haroon Bilour who was the target because he was gaining popularity as an educated and people’s leader,” claims Danyal.

Danyal did not complete his bachelor’s degree and left studies in the United Kingdom in the middle to be on his father’s side. He said his father was coping with the loss of his father and so, he came back to support him.

Danyal also ran his father’s election campaign by not only going around in Peshawar city for campaign but he would also run his father’s social media page to promote and canvass for him.

He plans to do the same for Samar Haroon Bilour, who is the daughter of a politician and granddaughter of former president of Pakistan Ghulam Ishaq Khan.

Senior politician Haji Ghulam Bilour, who himself has lost election from NA-31 constituency, has to be consulted in this important family decision but Danyal is ready to break the barrier and let a woman contest by-election to ‘keep his father’s name alive’ as both mother and son agree that only someone having Haroon’s name should contest by-election in this constituency on the ANP ticket.

Samar Haroon Bilour, who said since everybody was in mourning, it had not been decided yet who would be the candidate, didn’t rule out her election nomination as her son was not of the legal age yet.

“Yes, it could be me, too,” she said affirmatively when asked if there was a possibility that she could contest the by-election on the secular ANP party’s ticket if the opportunity arises.

Published in Dawn, August 7th, 2018

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