PESHAWAR: Mirza Mohammad Afridi, Tehreek-e-Insaf Pakistan candidate for the office of Deputy Chairman of the Senate, is a businessman from the Khyber tribal district who was elected Senator as an independent candidate but later joined the ruling party.
Afridi, 42, belongs to a well-known businessman family who owns textile and steel factories and other businesses not only in Pakistan, but also in Singapore, Indonesia and South Korea.
He has contested the Upper House Parliament elections in March 2018 in the seats reserved for the Federally Regulated Tribal Territory (Fata). He was elected as an individual candidate, but joined PTI after forming a government winning the July 2018 general election. His term as a member of the Senate will end in March 2024.
After that, former Fata, known as the district that only joined after the merger with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in May 2018, will not have eight seats reserved in the Senate.
Afridi, who is a member of a number of Senate committees, is from Bara in the Khyber district.
One of his uncles, Mohammad Shah Afridi, has remained a member of parliament in the past. His eldest uncle, the late Haji Nawab Khan, has competed several times and lost the elections for the National Assembly to Khyber.
Mirza Mohammad Afridi is a cousin of Javed Afridi, owner of the Peshawar Zalmi cricket franchise.
He is optimistic about his chances of winning the Senate Deputy Chair election against Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri, the JUI-F leader from Balochistan and the joint candidate of the 11-party opposition alliance, the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM),[ even though the latter has four more members than the PTI if one were to exclude the lone Jamaat-i-Islami Senator who may abstain from the poll. “I want to give glad tidings to the people of ex-Fata that we will win this election,” he was quoted as saying.
Afridi termed his nomination by the PTI to contest for the post of Deputy Chairman Senate as the fulfillment of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s commitment to the people of erstwhile Fata.
If he wins, Afridi will become the first person from the former tribal areas to hold such a high elected office.