Election promises to boost employment are not uncommon in the run-up to polls. Those vying for the country’s top job, often vow, if elected, to create more jobs. Last month, Asif Ali Zardari, the former president of Pakistan, said that every family would have one member in the government service if his party came to power.
But that promise, if made by Imran Ullah, would be unconvincing.
The 30-year-old is a Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz candidate in NA-19 (Swabi) in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. He is the only politician contesting this election who is unemployed himself, despite completing a Masters in Business Administration in 2015.
Imran Ullah insists that if given the chance, he would work for the betterment of his people. “The previous candidate who won from this constituency only gave jobs to his close friends,” he told Daily Sun News’s Election Headquarters in an interview, “I don’t want to be like him. I want to help the poorest in my area find jobs.”
He lost his father a few months before the election and has relied on his uncles and extended family to bankroll his election campaign.
In 2016-2017, Pakistan’s unemployment rate was 5.9 per cent, according to the Economic Survey. The International Labour Organization (ILO) warns that this number is likely to increase and by the end of 2018 a total of 71.1 million youngsters will be unemployed.
Challenging the young politician is Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf’s Eng. Usman Khan Tarakai, who was elected to the parliament in 2013 from the platform of the lesser-known Awami Jamhuri Ittehad Pakistan, which in 2015 announced a merger with the PTI. Other contenders are the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal’s Atta Ul Haq, and Awami National Party’s Waris Khan.
“I choose to contest on the PML-N ticket because they have done a lot for my area. For instance, there was no passport office here until they set one up,” said Imran Ullah, who is confident of his victory on July 25.
There are a total of 463,633 voters in NA-19.