Veteran PaK politician Sardar Khalid Ibrahim dies

He was 71 and is survived by his wife and two sons and as many daughters.

Sardar Khalid Ibrahim, a veteran politician in Pakistan administered Kashmir (PaK) and chief of Jammu Kashmir Peoples Party (JKPP) died of brain hemorrhage on Sunday, plunging his family, friends and followers into gloom. 

He was 71 and is survived by his wife and two sons and as many daughters.

A 5-time PaK Legislative Assembly member, Ibrahim was born on November 5, 1947, in KotMattay Khan on the outskirts of Rawalakot to MsZaib-un-Nisa and Sardar Muhammad Ibrahim Khan, the founding president of PaK. He started his political career in late 70s from the platform of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) but right from the beginning was known for his straightforwardness, even if it would cost him dear politically. 

One particular incident of mid 80’s was its glaring example.

It was in the first week of November 1986 when Benazir Bhutto was touring Poonch district with Ibrahim at the wheels. At some particular spot, a large number of women had gathered to greet Ms Bhutto and when Ibrahim asked her to address them, she declined allegedly maintaining that it was not part of her pre-determined engagements. 

This led to a brief argument between the two and Ibrahim left the driving seat in protest, to the bafflement of Ms Bhutto.  Later, both were reconciled by Ibrahim’s father at his residence, where Ms Bhutto had stayed.   It was perhaps one of the reasons that when the PPP came in a position to form its government in PaK in 1990, party’s central leadership ignored Ibrahim’s father and party’s regional president and instead chose Raja MumtazHussainRathore for the coveted slot of prime minister. The differences with the PPP leadership grew so big in the following days and months that Ibrahim and his supporters formed their own party by the name of JKPP in November 1990 with sword as its election symbol.  Ironically Rathore dissolved that assembly in less than a year, paving way for fresh elections in 1991.

Ibrahim won fresh elections as well but sacrificed his assembly seat in protest against the passage of a law that had allowed appointment of ruling Muslim Conference (MC) activists against gazetted posts in PaK while bypassing the Public Service Commission. That law was later struck down by the superior courts.  

The 1996 elections were contested by Ibrahim’s party as an ally of the PPP following which his father was elected as PaK president for next five years.  In those days, Ibrahim, who was an MLA, would neither stay in the presidency nor use any official vehicle. He lost 2001 election but again returned in 2006 as an ally of the PPP.  But when the PPP decided to topple SardarAttique led government in collusion with a breakaway faction of ruling MC, Ibrahim cast his vote in favour of the no-trust move that eventually brought SardarYaqoob Khan of his Sudhan clan in power in January 2009.  Right after the success of no-trust move, Ibrahim announced his resignation from the assembly, saying that he had voted in support of the move on the insistence of the party (PPP) that had helped him clinch victory [as an ally], but he felt a burden on his conscience and could no more remain part of this house.    

Last general elections in 2016 saw him succeeding for the fifth time, but this time round as any ally of the PML-N, after some of his meetings with Nawaz Sharif.   He parted ways with the PML-N and chose opposition benches for himself. On Saturday night he was struck by brain haemorrhage at his Islamabad residence. He was rushed to a hospital where he breathed his last on Sunday morning. His funerals were held in Islamabad on Sunday afternoon following which his body was taken to Rawalakot in a caravan of hundreds of vehicles for burial on Monday which has been declared by the PaK government as closed holiday to mourn his death.