Mr. Ali Salman is member elected independent from Punjab Assembly (PP-168, sheikhupura-cum-nankanasahib-I). He is newcomer in politics and a son of retired bureaucrat. He shared ‘District Sheikhupura shaped my interest in politics since childhood. To pursue my passion, after completing my schooling from Aitchison College, Lahore, I proceeded abroad to Sussex University, England to study Economics with Development Studies [B.A Hons.] primarily to understand rural development and the impact it has on the economy of our country. While studying at Sussex I realized that to be a successful leader, in addition to Economics and Development Studies, the knowledge of Law is essential and it is therefore after completing my degree at Sussex, I studied Law at BPP Law School, London and followed it up with a Master’s in Law in Development (LLM) from Warwick University.
Motivation to Join Politics:
Ali stated ‘My father’s eagerness for good governance and development while he served on different positions in government and my grandfathers humanitarian zest for handling the problems of our village helped shaped my passion for socio-economic development of the poor people that I believed would not be possible without entering the field of national politics. The combination of Law, Economics, and Development Studies helped shaped my own view of development. I have been working in my constituency on the concept of a Model Constituency with a demand based development strategy which has not only helped the people of my area but also it has made me won a seat at the Provincial Assembly of Punjab to represent them as an Independent Member of Parliament.
He is newcomer and his political career is started from May 2013 General Election. After winning election, he did not join any political party and he represents his constituency as an independent candidate. He stated, ‘I have never joined a political party even though have had meetings with some of them. I believe that for joining a political party one needs to first fully realize the potential of a political party, the space available for professional growth in it and its ways and means to achieve a sustainable developed Pakistan.’
Election Experiences in 2013:
This was my first election and I was elected to the Provincial Assembly of the Punjab PP-168 Sheikhupura cum Nankana Sahab seat as an Independent Member of the Provincial Assembly. As discussed earlier, my motivation stemmed from the passion for socio-economic development of this country and I realized that to achieve a developed Pakistan it was essential to enter politics and use the platform for effective policymaking that would enable our country with all its resources to achieve sustainable economic growth and help improve lives of the people. It was extremely difficult to create a space in the Political Sphere of the already entrenched family feudal politics of this country. However, without having a single person from my family in politics, my drive and passion for continuous development work through my NGO [Ihsas Development Society (IDS)] in my area helped me achieve this task and confirmed my belief that the people of our country are desperate for change of leadership if they are any better alternatives available.
To contest election, I divided my election campaign into 5 main groups. Group 1 was my Family/Closest Supporters who were based in my Headquarters at Manawala closely monitoring the constituency and taking/giving feedback to the other Groups. Group II were the Senior Committee Members in each village and town of my constituency who were campaigning in their respective areas and coordinating with Headquarters. Group III were our Female Committee members again campaigning in their respective areas and trying to win over women votes through our manifesto. Group IV and my favourite were the Youth Wing of my campaign who were at the forefront of my campaign and at the polling agents on election day. And finally Group V were our very own Media/Counter Check force which was checking up on our groups and giving us vital confidential feedback as to the performance of our people before and on election day.
Challenges & Objectives:
After winning the elections my first priority was joining a party where I would be allowed to continue my development work and be a part of policy making, a dream I always waited for. However, PML (N) achieved a landslide victory in Punjab, and I was invited for meetings with them that took place with their leadership. I realized that I would not be able to achieve my goals with them as there was strong opposition against myself from the elected members of PML-N from Sheikhupura and my father’s previous assignments with different governments also did not go well with the leadership of PML N. It is therefore, I chose to stay Independent, continued my development work in my constituency, and raise the concerns of the province in the Assembly. Even though much is needed for training and education of members of the assembly, I believe that there is enough room for professional growth especially if one is independent and strives hard for raising issues of the province and working on new and effective legislation. I want to see an empowered Punjab Assembly House where members of the assembly understand the real issues of our province and work towards effective legislation to resolve them. I feel this is a key that lacks the attention of our political leadership and our members who are more interested in local personal politics based on development funds and local issues rather than policymaking.
My Dreamed Pakistan:
I believe in Quaid-e-Azam’s vision of Pakistan and strictly adhere to his motto Unity, Faith and Discipline. My dreamed Pakistan is a peaceful, tolerant, and developed modern 21st century democratic Muslim State where rule of law is respected and people of different cultures, religion, and society are allowed to live together in harmony and without any oppression and fear.