[Opinion] Elections in Hunza 2009, Facets of Candidates
October 7, 2009 12 Comments
By: Abbas Ali
Analyzing the names who have obtained nomination forms for the forth coming elections, what would you like to call them all in one word, you may like to say ‘traitors’ or if you would not like this name at least those who struggled under the banner of All Hunza Action Committee (AHAC) for an additional seat in GBLA would like this name, but it would exclude from the name those were part of AHAC. However, it is not most concerned matter if they should be given an name or not, because it is out of an individual’s circle of influence but what could be done is to peal the political skin of these men to show how ugly or beautiful they look without being camouflaged in the rhetoric they grout on the name of welfare of Hunzukutz. This time a family is going to make history where parents and two sons ‘I mean four people from one family’ Mr. Ghazanfar, Ms. Atiqa Ghazanfar, Mr. Saleem and Mr. Sheheryar are going to contest the elections, excluding two of their very close relatives Mr. Bahdur Khan and his son Mr. Shebaz ‘again two people from the same family’. If we further scrutinized the list the other names are either previous or current political supporters of Mr. Ghazanfar except a few of those who were active in Hunza on the fringes of PPP. In a bird eye view it seems that if the election is going to be held within the same family and the potential voters are only those twenty people who took nomination papers for the elections. I know the situation at deeper level is not like that and is much more interesting.
Does it bother you and do you think that who among the people listed for taking nomination papers capable of leading Hunza and ensure protection of its rights and welfare. By applying the method of multiple choice exams you would exclude those who are least competent and capable to lead you. The first one to exclude would be Mr. Ghazanfar and all his family of four, this way it would lead you also to exclude the other two family members Mr. Bahdur Khan and his son, good you have excluded six people. But it is not satisfactory to exclude them right away, because a prudent person does think why you are going to do it. It requires looking at the history and knowing facts regarding this crocodile family of Hunza. Since 1974 Mr. Ghazanfar is the longest serving political figure of Hunza, a Hunza that was much stronger and political much more influential among its neighbours and countries surrounding her, Gilgit-Baltistan was represented by non but Hunza in the international agreements such as Karachi declaration or Bhutthu’s reforms or deals with China. But since then seemingly this dim man named Mr. Ghazanfar has deteriorated the honour and political influence of the people of Hunza, and many of Hunzukutz rightly accuse his political advisor Ms. Atiqa for this vicious level of political circumstances.
Mr. Ghazanfar for being naive and originally a Hunzukutz and due to his affiliation with a family that long served Hunza, people do ignore much of his political stupidities, but their ire and anguish for his political advisor Ms. Attiqa does not last. She is being considered solely responsible for all miss deeds of Ghazanfar Ali Khan whatsoever, where Ms. Attiqa has extorted money on the name of Hunza and development projects for the women of Hunza at the same level Ghazanfar has extorted public funds and ruthlessly embezzled funds without any regard of the rights of the people of Hunza. This time as well Ghazanfar seems to by playing all his cards to stay in power or stay in touch with power. Applying for candidature of the seat by his four family members seems to be a strategy forward in this regard. Time has proved that and it was sure that due to the conditions of defaulters not being eligible to contest the elections at least Saleem and Ghazanfar would be out of the race, but fortunately the most fiend character Attiqa is also said to be out. A good news indeed!!! Now the most inexperienced and not even been recognized as Hunzukutz and being consider as a pseudo Punjabi Sheryar would be at least eligible for contesting the elections but the conscious minds and souls of Hunza would never make him a winner.
Now to choose from the rest is further easy and it does not require any lengthy debate, from among the rest of the candidates, over the time many of proxy candidate would be sifted through until the last week of elections and two or three blocks would emerged with at most three candidates contesting elections, however playing the game of vote divide the number could go to four. The most potential candidates expected to remain in the run seems to be Zafar Iqbal, Noor Muhammad, Sheheryar Khan, Kameel Jan and Fida Karim. The two Zafar Iqbal and Kameel Jan have said to be formerly links and remained supporter of Ghazanfar which may possibly confuse voters about their post elections loyalties and actions. Karim Sher belongs to PPP which has lost much of its support in Hunza and people are charged against it so despite Fida Karm’s personal integrity people may refrain from voting him, in addition he has not been seen on political landscape of Hunza prominently any time. Noor Muhammad who has proven courageous and brave leadership skills which he also tried during the All Hunza Action Committee (AHAC) struggle for additional seat have on his side the blames of social irresponsible behaviour, however on the basis of pools conducted by media he is the most favourite candidate. Sheryar Khan is seems to be the least interesting candidates for the people of Hunza and little known with the baggage of frauds, oppression and violence of his parents and brother.
It would be interesting elections and wholly different from the rest in the past for a lot of concern and political activism by the people of Hunza this time, which is also evident from the list of the candidates and the high profiles of the candidates contesting elections. One thing people of Hunza and Gilgit-Baltistan have to keep in mind that personal likes and dislikes needs to be kept aside when we are looking for a leader of national stature, we should look into the person whom we are going to vote on the basis of his/her character and past track record. We should vote for a person who is thought to be capable of delivering public good and welfare with honesty and determination and is capable of representing Hunza or Giglit-Baltistan on broader platforms at national and international level with roots in the people. We should not give to someone about whom we don’t know anything; we should not give vote to one who wants to use our vote for his personal benefits and to gain power only to exploit our resources sitting in Islamabad. No, we cannot tolerate any more those whose tyranny have deprived the money and sources of poor mothers and kept them deprived of providing the noble needs of education and health to their children, and those who have tried to steal their land and money and undemocratically exploited the voting rights for years such as in the case of Sost Dry Port.
People of Hunza are more conscious and aware with enhanced political activism, so this time it could be expected from them to take a more reasonable decision, and time will tell us soon about the political maturity of Hunzukutz, and we hope for the best.
Writer is a contributor to the Daily Dawn, and a Karachi based consultant for social development programmes. firstname.lastname@example.org