In 2012, in the lead-up to the last election, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan promised to award 25 per cent of his party’s tickets to young members. Since then, PTI’s vibrant social media campaign, slogan of creating a “Naya Pakistan” and rooting out corruption, has resonated with the 64 per cent of the population under 30.
Last week, in his first address as prime minister, Khan again spoke of the youth, vowing to introduce skill development programmes and interest-free loans to help them set up their own businesses.
Even then, when the new assembly took oath, young lawmakers were largely absent from Pakistan’s 342-strong parliament. Currently, there are only four members of the National Assembly under the age of 30.
According to an independent study by the Daily Jang, these young legislators make up one per cent of the total house. While the majority of the lawmakers are above 40.
So who are the four youngest MNAs to win power?
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, 29, Pakistan Peoples Party
Son of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, and now chairman of the Pakistan Peoples Party, he entered the parliament for the first time on August 13. In last month’s general election, Bilawal won from NA-200 in Larkana, Sindh. His party is currently the third largest party in the National Assembly.
Raza Rabani Khar, 25, Pakistan Peoples Party
Another member of the PPP, Khar secured NA-183, Muzaffargarh, Punjab, and walked into the Parliament with his sister, Hina Rabani Khar, the former foreign minister of Pakistan. The young Khar contested from his home constituency, where his father and sister have also won in the past.
Chaudhry Hussain Elahi, 26, Pakistan Muslim League-Q
Much like the other two, Elahi was also in the political arena for the first time this general polls. The 26-year-old is the son of former federal minister, Chaudhry Wajahat Hussain and the nephew of Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, the chief of the PML-Q.
Shahid Ahmad, 28, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf
Ahmad outpaced several notable families of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province to secure a ticket of the PTI for the July 25 election. The former member of PTI’s youth wing picked up NA-34 in Karak, KP, and is now a member of the National Assembly.