Sher Baz Khan
This is in response to Mr. Abbas Ali’s thought provoking opinion on Hunza Politics. Personally, I can say Mr. Abbas’ opinion as, “a timely dialogue” as 2009 election is going to be held late this year. This is the right time to start a comprehensive campaign to make aware our selves about the responsibilities and rights being a member of the civil society.
We, the Hunzukutz (Shinaki, central and Gojal), have elevated ourselves to the “highly literate people”, but to what extent it is true can be another topic for discussion. So far politically we have not shown much wisdom since the election started to take place in the region. In quarter of a century we have elected only three persons to represent us at the highest available (former NALC and now NALA) level. During this period we have seen a little material development and much bragging in all three cases.
In the last elections a clean sweep by present representative of Hunza has been witnessed owing to mis-management of the previous two representatives. Being a conscious observer and participant of the previous election I can say that it was the efficient election campaign by the youth-led Hunza Graduates Forum in favor of present “representative” (?). The motives behind such a campaign were rather shadowy and personal interests’ -driven. But ‘it’s never too late’ and one can learn from experiences. Not that all the youth was part of the campaign but a considerable number of youth was supporting it.
The view point of HGF at the previous election was that ‘being influential in the higher circles, ‘would be’ the representative will grab the deputy chief’s seat and will use the position to develop his constituency’. At least they were right in one prediction that ‘would be the representative will grab the highest position in the region’, but their second part never materialized. Rather the ‘representative’ grabbed other higher seats like chair of Sost Dry Port , to name one, and distributed them among his kith and kin.
Now the real problem lies in the ‘personal influence’. How long masses should be relying on ‘influences’? Our previous representatives were influential in higher circles, international circles and religious circles but none proved to be of any benefit to public circle, which is the fundamental and most important circle of a society.
It is fact that Huzukutz are highly literate people. This rate increase in the far flung area of Passu and Gulmit and most of upper Hunza – Gojal, and lower Hunza -Shinaki as well. But! does this literacy rate means education? We may be highly literate people but if we question ourselves about real education-including political education – we feel that we are lacking it. A result of this lacking can be seen in previous election where huge number of voters, most of them literate- acted worse than illiterates, saying yes to hollow promises.
Mr. Amin Beg’s contribution in response to Abbas’ opinion presents the real picture of politics. It is the unfortunate fact that all the evils-I must say evils- which he mentioned, like clan-based and ruling party based politics is present in the region. But again education-of course not only the formal education-is responsible for all this.
As a matter of fact Hunza has never witnessed a political process. All we have been observing is a clan and ruling party based activity where voter is just a puppet and his/her role is ended the very evening informal election result is announced. But mind it-the bitterness created by the rivalry among the near and dear ones is long lasting-and in some cases life lasting.
Like Mr. Amin Beg writes, there is a dire need to change this process from top to bottom-starting from union council membership to NALA level. If we elect a strong voice to represent at all three levels, saying no to clan and ruling party politics we can change the fate of Hunza.
As an initiative for political change, potential candidate at all levels can be engaged in a dialogue process through local media like Pamir Times and Local TV channel where they would put their agenda (Manshoor) before the public as well can be cross examined about their track record in politics. Some personalities who are genuinely moved by services to community will readily participate and others who are only after personal gains through politics will, of course, not participate in the process. From their willingness or unwillingness to participate in this process, the voter can get a true face of ‘probable politician’.
The writer belongs to Aliabad Hunza, and is currently graduating from London.