[Opinion] Elections in Hunza 2009, Facets of Candidates


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. abbashnz@yahoo.com


12 Responses to [Opinion] Elections in Hunza 2009, Facets of Candidates

  1. hunzkutz says:

    I appreciate your writing skills but writer should give a fair picture of situation projecting the whole scenario but what I feel after reading your column that you had got a good amount of money from Noor Muhmad or you are a close relative of him or you have some personal problem with some people who are contesting elections.
    any way I am voter of Noor Muhamad but again to be fair if you see his past then he did alot of crimes why u didn|t discuss those … I know it will be not fair with him n people to be personal so you should also keep in mind the same thing for others…best of luck

  2. Abbas Ali says:

    Dear Altaf, Many thanks for your comments. As you have mentioned yourself that personal life of a person is not a matter for me to discuss as it is against social norms but yes public life is a domain possibly open for discussions. Having said this, did I mention that for people the socially irresponsible behavioural blames are a matter of concern that affects Noor Muhammad’s personality? Rest whatever I said about him is with reference to his public profile and same for others as well. You know that what people does talk about Either Ghazanfar’s or Atiqa’s personal lives but I have not even given a clue to it, what I talked about is the issue that are public concern.
    If you ask me personally I have an open mind for all those who contesting elections yes other than that ‘crocodile family’ for obvious reasons the way they have exploited, looted and embezzled the national assets and pride of Hunzukutz. Today if Hunzukutz were on the street with their unmet legitimate demand for an additional seat in GBLA is because the Ghazanfar, who ruled Hunza in much of post 1974 political era and for his own personal assumed benefits he refrained from get the additional seat for a population of more than 60,000, where as political leaders in other areas of Gilgit-Baltistan managed to get a seat for a population of 13000. The recent Sost Dry Port situation and misappropriation of the funds of poor and their rights in very obvious, than how we could expect in future this person would benefit if he would be re-elected.
    Rest of the candidates either it is Kamil Jan or Zafar Iqabal (Now his stauts as a candidate is undecided and in the process of appeal) or Noor Muhammad or Fida Karim ( However it appeared that Fida Karim is out of the election run) are all sincere and committed sons of the soil of Hunza and we could expect good from them. Let me tell you Noor Muhammad is neither my elative nor he has given me lots of money.:-)))

    Abbas Ali

  3. Karim Alam says:

    A good piece of writing.

  4. hunzkutz says:

    thanks for ur response.happy to know that you have clear mind for all candidates except one family.I respect your opinion and to be frank same with me.
    Actually just I want to high light the general issue that during these elections season people start to discuss the personal life of people ,being educated we should avoid and try to convey the same to general public through our writings.If writers in their writings start to write only about individuals then what you can expect from a common person.

  5. Sher Baz Ramal says:

    What verbosity…I am sure the nomination papers’ submission process was open to all and any Hunzukutz was welcome to do so. If none other than the “traitors” – as you wrote – were “daring” enough to submit the papers despite of AHAC protest, should we stop them from doing so? Because they are “traitors” in your eyes. Now I am not saying that they are the “best” but if no one comes forward what should the voter do? And the mention of AHAC activists is quite funny “The Action Committee, having failed to stop this, allowed other candidates to file papers as well” and AHAC activists also submit the papers (PT Report, October 3, 2009). Since AHAC was against the election – though for a good cause – should have continued their protest/boycott to assert the pressure. But their surrender at the last and most crucial moment proved that their leadership was not capable of bearing the pressure. They could make history by boycotting elections.
    And for Mr. Hunzukutz… there is a saying that political personalities are public fugures and their actions harm or do good to public so attacking them (other than very very personal-and keeping in view the firm social/cultural structure of Hunza seems appropriate, if you please.

    BUT I appreciate the piece of writing you contributed which I am quoting for readers’ (if any) convenience. “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”.

    Hope people come forward with this piece in mind, if not now… in future hopefully.

  6. Adil Karim Altit says:

    A very balanced and well conceived writeup. It is indeed the socially irresponsible behavioural whether committed by either Ghazanfar or Noor Muhammad which we as a educated and conscious Hunzukutz will consider before vote. If they want to be our leader then we have all due rights to discuss their past behavious. It was the case of Monika which ashamed Clinton in front of all the world. The wrongs of Noor Muhammad is although not compareable with that of Ghazanfar but it counts the most for the people.

  7. sher khan says:

    Sherbaz Ramal do you thing AHAC did a wrong job. If you have traitors as Abbas Sahip calls them to those like Atiqa and her team who along with other obtained nomination papers what AHAC can do? Throughout AHAC has not used violence so they were not in mood to use violence at the time of obtaining nomination papers as well but they had requested all potential candidates not to take the nomination papers and boycott the election, but those with selfish interest did not hear the voices of AHAC.
    What do you think was it not a protest by the voters for an additional seat for Hunza, why are you separating voters from those of protestors?
    Among all those candidates I will vote for Noor Muhammad as he has potential to represent us in a good way. Whatever you say anti social behaviour is just blames not proven in either way. He is a steeled leader, a self-made successful educated, brave, honest and committed person and through-out his life he worked for Hunzukutz.
    Sher Khan, Islamabad

  8. Sher Baz Ramal says:

    Right of suffrage, my dear, is for every “adult”, “sensible” and “responsible” citizen. You are free to vote whoever you want be to your leader. And normally vote is meant to be cast anonymously, but you are quite free to ‘broadcast’ or do it otherwise. Now I did not say voters and protestors are separate in the afore-written piece, rather swap normally. But, for sure, you are quite free to draw conclusions of “your choice”. The only thing AHAC could do was to continue their boycott, if they wanted to cast pressure on the authorities, by doing so making ‘history’ in the entire election history of the region. As for as violence is concerned, violence hatches more violence and the ultimate victims are laymen. So I suggest you not to preach it.


  9. sher khan says:

    I did not mean to focus on any one individual, neither I consider the voting right nor any one with democratic zeal feels it is right to hide his political affiliation with one or other individual. If I am voting for a certain person and express the same it does not mean violations of sacret balloting. Let making it clear balloting and voting are two differnet things. Voting in sacracy is not a democratic insitutions yes balloting is needs to be done secretly. Een in the pakistani Parliament sacred voting is discrouged as it promoting lootacracy!

    AHAC’s struggle is initself a historic movment in the context of GB and Hunza. It has mobilized first time ever the people on political grouds and had been a litmus test for people oriented and anti-people political individuals. There was not authority with the leaders of AHAC to stop those anti-people political figures from geting nominations papers, all it could have done was to request and appeal them to boycott the elections which it did till the last moment. If the boycott has not been possible we should not blame AHAC rather should blame those anti-people politicians who sabotaged the wishes and aims of AHAC to boycott the elections. I agree with Sher Baz Ramal if it the boycott had happend it would have been a history of its own kind.

    Now lets look ahead and try to choose a leader whoever you consider best to serve the people of Hunza and not personal interests. Some sections of Media have already strated to flame the same old mantraa of regional politics which we need to stop and work on the grounds of Hunzukutz.

    Sher khan, Islamabad

  10. Mujeeb says:

    I am in full consonance with the views of Mr. Abbas Ali expressed in his article “Elections in Hunza 2009, Facets of Candidates”. I would go even one step further and would appeal to the people of Gilgit-Baltistan in general and people of Hunza in particular that they should not cast a single vote for candidates with name tags so called PPP, PML (N/Q), and MQM etc… Because they are the political parties of mainland and they have nothing to do with Gilgit-Baltistan. People of Gilgit-Baltistan are striving for to get their legitimate rights from the elected representatives from different political parties sitting in the Assemblies for the last 60 years. How the people of Gilgit-Baltistan influence and impress with the ideologies and manifestos of these alien political parties? People of Gilgit_Balitsan should have their own and indigenous parties (like Gilgit-Baltistan National Movement, Karakuram/Himalaya Welfare Party etc. etc….) aiming for the welfare and safeguard of rights of the people of this area.

  11. Sher Baz Ramal says:

    Mr. Mujeeb, Agreed and appreciated!!!
    Inroads are made when the people are not accepting their own people. Can we come out of religious and regional hatred? Can we get together to form ourselves as people of Giglit-Baltistan rather than dividing ourselves on the name of religion and region. If yes then there is no obstacle in achieving whatever you dream in above writeup.

  12. Hisam says:

    Nice debate. The cause of AHAC is equally shared by all Hunzukutz but the way they represented the faces of Hunzukutz at mnay occasion was not civilised. Is it a rational and logical to use the plateform anf call for disobedience, occupation of Government offices and threatening state?

    My second observation is that this is not a commmittee representing whole Hunza. I can count the main leaders Sheikh Abid, Noor Muhammad, Hoor Shah, Iman Shah, Baba Jan, Sher Khan, Iman Tai, Mir Baz Khan. On which ground these people are representing us? who gave them the charge to represent us? All of us better know the role of Sheikh sahib in Hunza. Noor Muhammad despite of well educated played a had played highly irresponsible roles wihin Hunza. Hoor Shah and Iman Shah were searching for a plateform or hiding cave after having rivalry with Mir due to their personal interests. Each of us are aware of their deeds as part of Mir camp. Sher Khan is the only leader of PML N in Hunza without any worker. He even remained unable to stop Mir getting hide in PML N. Iman Tai is a ticket checker in transport adda and was the most active part of Mir camp in past and thus also need a hiding camp. Mir Baz Khan everyone knows just visited Hunza during previous elections in order to serve the interests of other groups.

    I dont think this is some all hunza action committee. This is a interest group of who were searching any plateform to serve their interest.

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