By Zulfiqar Ali Khan
Hunza, October 06: The cabinet of Afsar Jan won the first ever election of Silk Route Dry Port Trust getting 77 out of 133 votes. The election was conducted under tight security arrangements to avoid clashes among the supporters of both groups.
The Civil Judge, Aliabad acted as Returning Officer. The winning cabinet is comprised of Afsar Jan, Chairman; Hoor Shah, Senior Vice Chairman and Raza Muhammad as Vice Chairman.
The former Chairman, Mir Ghazanfar had not submitted his nomination paper for contesting the election. The lawyer of Ali Afsar and his cabinet tried to convince the Judge to declare their unopposed win, while the lawyer of Mir Ghazanfar and Member District Council, Shahbaz Khan, tried their level best to postpone the election.
The civil judge after consultation with judges of Chief Court, Gilgit, finally decided to conduct the election according to schedule. About 20 trustees supporting Ghazanfar were also present outside the court but they did not poll their votes.
A small gathering was also organized after the election polling stopped, near the petrol pump, in Aliabad. Hoor shah, Ali Afsar, Sultan Madad, convener dry port reconciliation comittee, Advocate Ahsan , and Baba jan, Chief organizer of Progressive Youth Front, spoke to the audince and appreciated the trust that shareholders and land owners had shown by helping them win the election. Hoor Shah promised that full benefits will be provided to the trustees. Sultan Madad, refering to a decision of the arbitration committee, said that their decion was also to hold fresh elections but Ghazanfar went to the court. Baba Jan invited all the people of Hunza to unite for development of Hunza, learning from experiences at the dry port.
The newly elected Chairman of the port trust, Ali Afsar, thanked the stakeholders for expression of confidence and promised to include the names of all shareholders in port deed and ensure merit in management recruitments.
An important observation during the polling was absence of the ‘highly educated’ shareholders. Elders of the region expressed their dissatisfaction with leadership of Ghazanfar Ali Khan, a good changed, according to some.
People believe that Mir Ghazanfar and his supporters saw the writing on the wall and, thus, avoided contesting the election. He even tried to postpon the election by filing a petition in the Chief Court, seeking six months delay in the election. Shehbaz Khan was seen convincing trustees to vote for Ghazanfar but he himself did not vote, like rest of the supporters of Mir Ghazanfar. There are reports that four trustees from Gulmit received threats for ‘consequences’ from certain people. Objections were also raised at the presence of PT volunteers at the polling station.
Men and women from Aliabad presented floral garlands to the newly elected leaders and congratulated them on their victory.
According to latest updates, some unknown persons have pelted stones on the vans carrying people back to Sost after the election is overed. The side glasses of 2 vans are reported damaged as a result. The new cabinet has also received warm receptions at Sost and Nazimabad. Ealier, the procession was also offered tea at Gulmit.