Saifullah's - Politics of Business

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Saifullah's - Politics of Business, Muhammad Riaz
Published in Khyber.ORG on Friday, September 16 2005 (http://www.khyber.org)


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Saifullah's - Politics of Business

Muhammad Riaz

Publishing Date: Friday, September 16 2005

The Saifullahs of the Frontier have been an integral part of power politics in Pakistan. They have nothing to do with the system or the form of government. They have equally participated in military dictatorships and the so-called democratic governments tailored on different occasions to deceive the civilized world.

It is very difficult to differentiate between their politics and business. They have adeptly used the two for the expansion of their monetary gains. "For them, politics is business and business is politics," say their detractors.

They made a huge investment in the textile and cement sectors in their own constituencies and provided hundreds of jobs to their electorates in their industrial units. This lucky family hails from Lukky district in the southwest of the Frontier.

Kulsoom Saifullah, the mother of five politician and entrepreneur sons, had been an active political and social personality for many years. She earned a good reputation as a nationalist figure when she worked with nationalist forces, mainly the successors of the late Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan. Now, she has left the field for her sons. Her elder son, Humayun Saifullah, entered politics from the PPP platform in the seventies. But, he could not make a durable place for himself in the party, which was already split into powerful groups. He left politics when Gen Ziaul Haq dismissed the PPP government.

Later, his two younger brothers, Salim Saifullah and Anwar Saifullah, entered the political field. They chose to follow a pro-establishment line and joined the PML to save their business interests and establish their own identity in the province. But, they had to suffer during the Nawaz Sharif tenures.

Salim Saifullah is the real heir of his family's political legacy. He had opposed the resolution which was tabled by the Awami National Party and the PPP proposing a change of name of the province. He along with some other MPAs forcefully opposed the resolution on the Pukhtunkhawa and termed it "contrary to the spirit of the PML's struggle", waged for the creation of Pakistan.

When the powers that be decided to create a docile PML in the form of the like-minded group, Salim Saifullah joined it as its Frontier president. He also secured the release on bail of his brother, Anwar Saifullah, who was arrested by NAB in various cases.

Like so many other political families, they too are related to a number of influential families by cross-marriages. Their two maternal uncles - Yousuf Khattak and Aslam Khattak - have been active in politics for many years. Aslam Khattak has served in various capacities under different governments. He has been a personal friend of the former king Zahir Shah of Afghanistan and persuaded the him to agree to a confederation between the two countries.

Anwar Saifullah, who was petroleum and natural resources minister in Benazir Bhutto's second government, is son-in-law of the former president Ghulam Ishaq Khan. Dr Iqbal Saifullah is son-in-law of Gohar Ayub Khan. Anwar's daughter is also married to Gohar Ayub's son.

Saifullahs have managed to establish their own permanent constituencies in their native town. They have a good number of influential followers behind them.

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Saifullah's - Politics of Business, Muhammad Riaz
Published in Khyber.ORG on Friday, September 16 2005 (http://www.khyber.org)