Huge sums of money are integral part of modern democracy. In order to get elected, candidates are forced to run competitive and costly campaigns. They have to raise and use private funds to finance their political activities. The case of Pakistan is no different where politics is considered the job of landlords, industrialists, and financers. The wealthier candidates can easily influence the locality. They have the connections, effective resources and enough wealth to compete or get elected. The middle class or lower class candidates suffer due to lack of material resources. But, like in any society, there are some exceptions in our political arena.

Manzoor Abbas Khan, alias Haji Sheeka Khan, 36, is one such exception. Living in village Tarri Khel, 12 km north of Mianwali city, Sheeka Khan is one of the famous political workers of PTI Mianwali. Despite his lower middleclass background, he was contesting the seat of District President Mianwali in the recently postponed intraparty elections of PTI against Attaullah Isa Khelvi and incumbent MPA Dr. Salah ud Din Khan. With his effective campaign and impressive abilities to lead, he was considered a serious candidate in intraparty elections. Few days ago I interviewed him at his residence and discussed the abovementioned topic. His untold story is one of the best examples of the survival of a layman in the current national political spectrum.

Sheeka Khan says he belongs to a humble background and had seen his brother and sister dying at a very young age due to poverty. It was his dream to be an MPA. He started his political career in his 20s when he contested his first ever election of General Councilor in 2004’s local body election. He lost that election by 26 votes. Instead of losing heart, he never gave up. Then he remained firm on the principle of boycott of election on his leader’s call in 2008. When PTI announced her first intraparty elections in 2012, Sheeka Khan decided to contest as Union Council President and won it comprehensively.

But the question arises here that in such a short period, how did he become so confident that he stood there to compete for MPA and District President of PTI? Sheeka Khan said it was his leader’s words which became the driving force for him. In 2012, he hosted a lunch party for the PTI chief with several workers. At the end of the ceremony, Imran Khan said, “If someone wants to see my junoon, he should see Haji Sheeka Khan”. Then the self-belief came into him and he decided to contest for MPA-ship on Youth Quota in 2013 General Elections. But he was not rewarded with the party ticket.

When asked how difficult it is to survive in power politics without money, Sheeka Khan argued that “it’s a very cruel thing”, but he has the biggest power with him: God and the general public, which is now fed up of industrialists, landlords and businessmen. He believes that money cannot bring u everything. He says that a layman can survive if he keeps faith in God, have self-belief, and honest attitude.  

He remained firm and tried his level best to win workers’ heart. Sheeka Khan believes that he is the voice of all workers. Strong faith in God, honest background and love for downtrodden motivates him to fight against the traditional politicians. In the recent intraparty election campaign, despite his scarce resources, he kept knocking at the doors firmly. Full of self-belief, Sheeka Khan is sure he will be the next MPA of PTI in the 2018 election.

Before ending our conversation, I asked the last question with a heavy heart: what if Sheeka Khan couldn’t turn his dream into realty? He replied with immense confidence that he believes in God and will never lose. He will chase his dream and will keep working hard as Quran says that “Laisa lil insane ailla ma sa’a”: there is nothing for man except what he strives for. And if he is not awarded the party ticket in the next election, he will campaign for party’s candidate. PTI will be very unlucky if it doesn’t give opportunity to a worker like him, to be the voice of the masses in the assembly. Indeed honest, selfless workers like Haji Sheeka Khan are a real asset for any political party.