One of my friends was insisting that the leadership of national political parties are corrupt and we don’t have any hope for our future. When I asked for his opinion about our local level leadership, he was having many justifications to vote for people facing widespread corruption and mismanagement allegations at local level. Before discussing this I want to share some information with you about a seminar held in Hunza.
The Ismaili Council for Hunza in collaboration of AKEPB arranged a seminar on ’50 years of evolution of development in Hunza/Nagar-opportunities and challenges’ on November 7, 2007 in Karimabad. This was aimed to reflect upon the development in the area over a period of 50 years, role of AKDN and to foster harmony among the communities to enhance synergy in the developmental initiatives in the future. This seminar was a corner stone for reflecting on previous developmental experience and sense of future development in the region. Seminar was chaired by Mir Ghazanfer Ali Khan, Chief Executive, Northern Area. More than 300 development activists, social workers, political and religious figures, community elders including representatives from Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) participated in this unique seminar. Speakers and participants from both the regions appreciated the efforts of AKDN, civil society organizations and Government for rigorous contribution in all sectors of rural development in the valleys.
I am sure you are thinking about, why I am writing about this seminar after 2 months. The reason is, now I am feeling a close relationship between the justification of my friend about local level leadership and the speech of Syed Yahya Shah from Nagar in this seminar. While addressing the intelligentsia of Hunza, he saluted the revolutionary development of the people of Hunza valley in all wake of life. However, he posed an open question to the people of Hunza and said “I don’t know when the people of Hunza will think about an educated leadership at political front”. In respect of this question we should first theoretically analyse what is leadership and who are leaders?.
There’s an old saying that the way to become a leader is to find a parade and run to the front of it. We refer to a person “leading” a parade, but walking at the front isn’t really leadership unless the person in front is actually choosing the direction! If the person isn’t choosing the direction, then being at the front of the line is merely a way to pretend to be a leader.
Leaders set a direction for the rest of people; they help people see what lies ahead; they help people visualize what they might achieve; they encourage people and inspire people. Without leadership a group of human beings quickly degenerates into argument and conflict, because they see things in different ways and lean toward different solutions. Leadership helps to point us in the same direction and harness our efforts jointly.
When we analyse the local educated people according to above definitions, we can point out hundreds of leaders from Hunza working all over the country on leadership positions. However, on political front we are unable to point out a single person in true leadership position. Here I am not going to criticise some specific personalities but am just presenting a holistic sketch about political evolution in Hunza. It is equally important for us to align ourselves with the national level politics but more important is to lead a change in leadership situation at local level. We know leadership of different political parties at national levels are charged with corruptions and mismanagements. But we don’t have any direct influence in selection of these people on leadership positions. On the other hand we can directly influence in selection of people on leadership position at Union council, District Council and Northern Areas Legislative Council (NALC) Levels.
As an educated person, each of us must recognize the importance of leadership when we vote for our political leaders. We must realize that it matters who is in office, so we participate in a contest, an election, to choose the best candidate at local level. It is need of the time to encourage new and educated leadership without political affiliations, to represent the educated people of Hunza and to lead the people of Northern Areas in true sense.