Ikramullah Khan Gandapur - The polite cowboy

PESHAWAR: Ikramullah Khan Gandapur, a former provincial minister for agriculture, always appeared to be something who had stepped right out of a Hollywood movie, or at least the red carpet.

Mostly clad in western tailored suits with shiny formal shoes and a signature cowboy hat, any time he would walk into the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) assembly to take his seat on the floor, everyone would turn around to see what ensemble had Gandapur picked for that day and just marvel at it. But perhaps what really defined his look was a pair of handguns which he carried almost everywhere. They were encased in double-shoulder holsters, much like police officers shown in Hollywood movies.

Some parliamentarians even reserved some time, before and after the day’s session, to discuss Gandapur’s look for that day.

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Despite his outward appearance, as a man, Gandapur was quite the opposite. Anyone who came across him found him to be quite a polite and a humble man.

Gandapur had been elected from PK-99 (previously called PK-67) in the Kulachi Tehsil of Dera Ismail Khan (DI Khan) in 2013.

He only contested the seat in a by-election after his brother, Israrullah, was killed by a suicide bomber in October 2013 as he greeted people on Eidul Azha.

Gandapur was handed a ticket by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) to fill the boots left behind by his brother. He was given the portfolio of agriculture since that was his area of interest, expertise and primary occupation.

“He would come to the office in the morning and would listen to and address issues of public interest until the evening prayers. We would offer Isha prayers in his leadership (Gandapur used to lead the prayers) at 8:30pm and then we would call it a day,” said Muhammad Tariq, who works in Gandapur’s office.

“His office was always open to people from every part of the province and he would have  tea and Kehwa,served to them all ” Tariq said.

While he liked to keep his finger on the pulse of the people, the only thing loud about Gandapur in the assembly was his get up. Even when directly addressed about the affairs of his ministry, he preferred to offer brief, concise replies.

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However, Gandapur was not wholly original in his demeanour. He followed on from his father, Inayatullah.

The senior Gandapur had briefly headed the provincial government in K-P in the 1970’s when Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was the prime minister. He too was quite well dressed and liked to sport a cowboy hat.

Gandapur thus kept his father’s tradition alive with a vast collection of hats of different kinds.

He, however, was not highly educated, holding a bachelors degree and a Shahadat-ul-Almia certificate from the religious seminary board.

He is survived by his wife, a daughter and four sons.


Published in The Express Tribune, July 23rd, 2018.

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    Original news : https://tribune.com.pk/story/1764456/1-ikramullah-khan-gandapur-polite-cowboy/