by Hoor Shah
Like everywhere else our young generation is restless, enthusiastic and progressive. These are good and healthy sings because the heat generated from the intense creative engagement is good. However there are some elements of despondency, resignation and an increasing tendency towards looking at the glass half-empty. This problem stems form the idea that the people talk about a severe leadership crisis in Hunza and even suggest that political leadership should be outsourced to outsiders possibly to people form Nagar our next door valley. I think this is appalling, and we seriously need to examine and diagnose the sources of, what I would call, creeping political apathy and loss of trust in the leadership of our society. In what follows we would try to investigate those problems, while drawing on our personal experiences and suggest ways forward for our new leadership.
Some three decades ago I had travelled to Germany in search of greener pastures, and also to quench the desire to see a highly developed country. Before I went there I had romantic images of Europe in which peace, justice, equality, freedom and a vision of a comfortable life coloured the images of my dream. I did find many of the things that I was longing for. Germany was a beautiful land full of hard-working, honest, creative and intelligent people. Every body was specialised in a certain field or economic activity. All of them did their work in such a professional and dedicated manner that the fruits of their toil seemed to be far bigger than all the individuals put together.
From a historical point of view it was also really amazing to see the rapid recovery form the destruction and ravage that Germany had experienced during World War-II. The catastrophic damage to German industrial base, infrastructure and a big damage to morale of its public combined with erosion of international standing of Germany as a responsible power was a severe blow to opportunities of recovery and renewal. But, today we see Germany as one of the most successful economies in Europe, stable, responsible, creative and peaceful. I often wonder and reflect as to the origins of this phenomenal renewal in German society. I often wish to compare inherent strengths of German society with that of our own in Hunza, and see if there are any similarities at all.
And I believe that there are many elements which are really common among us in Hunza and the people in Germany and other European countries. These commonalities range from a sense of individual liberty, to hard work, trust, and an ethic of voluntarism and humanism. Obviously there are many differences in term of geographical and climatic conditions, traditions of religious, political and religious experiences yet I somehow felt a proximity to the values found in the West. It must be pointed out that I am in no way a fan of what has transpired during the 19th and 20th centuries of European relationship of colonisation in Africa and Asia but I am certainly interested in the internal dynamics of these Western societies.
German society is considered to be one of those societies with higher levels of trust among its people. This view has been put forward by well known scholars as well those who have taken keen interest in comparative social analysis (Francis Fukuymam’s Trust and the Creation of Social Virtue is suggested for further consultation). In high trust societies politicians trust their people and their people trust their leaders. There is a seldom breach of that trust. But the idea of trust among people stems from mutual respect, between employees and a businessman, between a government official and a private individual, between a taxi driver and a passenger, between a hotel staff and tourists, all these relationships are founded on reciprocal sense of respect and honour. Now it has part of our tradition in Hunza to respect elders, celebrate the intellect, and trust our fellow members of the community.
Now let us turn to the contemporary malaise in the political leadership of our society. While the reasons of so-called leadership crises are numerous, but I think it has also been caused by a breach of trust among the people when it comes to political leadership. Who has done the most damage during the last couple of decades. Obliviously the one who has been at the helm of affairs, but why we supported him so blindly, encouraged him so uncritically, only to find nothing at the end of a long and arduous journey. One of the key arguments put forward in favour of Ghuzamfar is the idea that he enjoys huge influences in the corridors of power in Islamabad. Ghazumfar’s so called personal relationships with a range of bureaucrats, senior army officers and a host of businessmen was seen as an unrivalled strength. Everybody, young and old, hoped and thought that he would use his contacts to create jobs for people, bring development projects to Hunza, highlight corruption and inefficiency in the government departments and above all he would represent the people of Hunza in a dignified manner. All of these hopes have been trashed so many times that those of us who supported him at an earlier stage are now completely disillusioned. Guzamfar repeatedly stood against the very virtues that the people of Hunza had honestly believed for more than two decades now.
Consider recent expulsion of Ghuzamfar form PML (Q) membership. This event can only be interpreted as a big disgrace not only to his supporters but a big personal insult for the man himself. Where are his contacts that neither work for the people or at this stage even for himself. The biggest yet unnoticed ‘lota, in our society has been exposed once more: the Q-League expulsion is nothing but a reconfirmation of perverted character of Mir’s politics. I think it is fair to say that Mir has few values, no ideology, no vision, no real political ambition, no programme of action, and no any credibility to be trusted.
The time has now come to ditch politician for the good of our society and allowing alternative leadership to emerge from within our society. The message must be conveyed loud and clear to everybody who has a stake in seeing our political future to be built on sound foundations of trust, brotherhood, and honesty that have also been hall marks of our tradition. Indeed without a strong, sincere and faithful leadership we, the people of Hunza, will not be able to free ourselves form the traps of poverty, and unemployment, and many other challenges that we are facing today in an increasingly competitive and tough environment.
While trust is a virtue which is really in short supply at the moment in the political circles of Hunza but there is always light at the end of the tunnel.
The contributor is President of PML (N), Hunza – Nagar.