BAJAUR  -  Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf MNA-elect from NA-41 Bajaur tribal district, Gul Zafar Khan, was reportedly running a restaurant in Rawalpindi before he was given the party ticket for the July 25 general election.

Gul Zafar Khan, widely known to be a ‘chaiwala’, turned out to be a millionaire. According to the documents submitted to the Election Commission of Pakistan, Zafar owns assets worth over Rs 30 million, including a garments business. The documents further revealed that Zafar owns immovable properties worth Rs 10 million as well as two houses and agricultural land worth Rs 12 million.

“Some of my powerful rivals who were badly defeated by me in the election tried to ‘malign’ me and ‘degrade’ me in the community by saying I am ‘working in a restaurant’, but I am proud to have worked in a restaurant as there is nothing wrong to prepare tea for customers,” said the PTI MNA-elect, talking to this correspondent from Islamabad on phone.

Gul said becoming an MNA was a dream of his life as the people of his area had been facing numerous problems and troubles since long. He said although he was not ashamed of having worked at a restaurant in Rawalpindi, some of his powerful and strong rivals had used it as propaganda against him during the election campaign.

He termed his win in the election against several powerful and strong candidates a victory of poor people. He added he has proved the people are fed up with traditional landlords and so-called tribal elders and want a positive change in the region.

Gul Zafar recalled there was a time in the recently-merged tribal districts, previously known as Federally-Administered Tribal Area (Fata), especially in Bajaur, when majority of the people liked to vote for powerful and influential figures, including landlords, chieftains and religious leaders in the elections. The people voted for these powerful figures in the elections only because of their strong background, wealth and influence in the region. Almost all former MNAs who were elected from the tribal district in the past were either landlords or they belonged to well-known and influential tribal and religious families.

“However, the people’s mindset regarding the traditional tribal elders and wealthy people witnessed a great change in the July 25 general elections. This is a great honour for me that the people of my constituency rejected powerful candidates and voted for me in the election,” he said.