[Editorial] Pre-Elections Political Situation of Gilgit-Baltistan
November 11, 2009 3 Comments
In Gilgit-Baltistan the elections campaigns for Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly (GBLA) reached to the end point on November 10, with massive rallies by all political parties and independent candidates. From many aspects these elections would be considered historic in the political journey of Gilgit-Baltistan. The elections are being held for the first time since the promulgation of ‘Gilgit-Baltistan Empowerment and Self-rule Ordinance 2009’ which has given much more authority and powers to the Gilgit-Baltistan assembly as a pseudo-province with chief Minister and Governor than it was in the recent past.
The rapidly growing realization of the geo-political importance of Gilgit-Baltistan at national and international level has pushed many high statured politicians of Pakistan to invest their time and money in the elections that includes PML (N) who’s Chief and former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, his chief Minister brother of Punjab Shebaz Sharif along with other stalwarts of his party spend four days in Gilgit-Baltistan campaigning for the elections to support their nominated candidates.
MQM has very first time in history has initiated its political activities in Gilgit-Baltistan but amazed many people for popularity it has gained in the region with a short span of three months of election campaign although MQM lacks the basics of political party’s organizational infrastructure in the region. Altaf Hussain the Quaid of MQM who may have hardly imagined that one day he would be so busy with his political workers in Gilgit-Baltistan almost every day addressed in his traditional telephonic speech with the people of Gilgit-Baltistan and member of the Rabat Committee such as Haider Abbas Rizvi came all the way long from Karachi to spend days in Gilgit-Baltistan to galvanized MQM’s political process.
PPP too has been rigorously involved in the political campaign of Gilgit-Baltistan just before the election PPP government has announced the said reforms ordinance hoping that it will be able to cash the sympathies of people on this basis. Prime Minister Giliani visited the area and announced a 12 billion development package although it was rephrasing and re-presentation of all those previously announced projects under the PPP’s government. Beside it Qamar Zaman the acting governor of Gilgit-Baltistan and member of PPP cabinet are continuously engaged in offering pre-election government incentives from ‘Sweet Homes’ to buses for colleges and Schools, and at the same time distribution of Benazir Income Support Scheme cards are on its peak all which is coming from Government’s exchequer but labelled with PPP.
PML (Q) has also put all its weight behind its candidates, Marvi Memon and Sher Afghan Niazi being in the Gilgit-Baltistan with all their possible backing for the candidates. Many people remembered President Pervez Musahraf on the occasion who is the most revered Pakistani Politician in the Gilgit-Baltistan for his tremendous contributions for the development of the area. In his absence PML (Q) made its efforts to win on the sympathies of the past that goes to Musharaf but they may not work well this time at least.
In the race their where other smaller regional and mainstream Pakistani political parties both with nationalist and religious agendas, but they may not have a significant high voice however Gilgit-Baltistan Democratic Alliance (GBDA), and BNF have made their good presence on the political scene. In Hunza All Hunza Action Committee (AHAC) is very popular.
On the basis of all political activities and public minds political pundits forecast that the PPP may be able to raise with highest number of wining candidates, because in the history of Gilgit-Baltistan often rather always the governing party in Islamabad forms the government in Gilgit-Baltistan as well buy using all hook are crook ways. MQM is said to be able to have chances of getting at least three seats and PML (N) may also grab three to four seats, PML(Q) there is no chance of a seat, religious parties there is no chance of a seat, and GBDA and BNF may won one or two seats, rest will be won by the independent candidates.
In the context of Hunza the competition is very sharp and intense among Noor Muhammad, Kamil Jan and Wazir Baig, however it is said that there are more chance for Noor Muhammad or Kamil Jan wining the elections, but it is all time to prove who wins.