Interviewed by Najeeb Ullah Naveed
Waheed Murad is a renowned artist from Sost Gojal Hunza. He is contesting the GBLA 2009 Election as an independent candidate from GL 6, Hunza. He has worked at different positions in various culture and tourism development agencies.
Pamir Times interviewed him to explore his priorities and vision for Hunza valley, his constituency.
PT: What inspired you to join the main stream politics of Gilgit-Bailtistan?
Waheed: Last year some people along with some young fellows from Hunza came to me and suggested that I shall run for the election contest. They thought that youth should be encouraged to take the lead, as we have more energy and vigor for working towards solutions. Majority of population of the area is composed of young people there is there is generation gap between the leadership and majority of masses.
I personally also feel that the current leadership has little knowledge of the actual issues related to the region and people in particular. They have based their politics on personnel agenda.
So after a series of discussions with many close associate, elder people from all three regions of Hunza and prominent social activists I decided to contest this year’ election.
PT: What are your main agendas for the up coming election campaign?
Waheed: As a cultural development expert and artist, I will take measures to promote the cultural heritage of the region.
I will work to develop tourism industry of the regions this area is home to beautiful mountains glaciers, valley and passes
I will try to develop linkages in world class research institutes to conduct research on all the four languages spoken in the area i.e. Burushaski, Wakhi, Shina and Domaki.
Also, I will foster research in the topographical and geographical documentation of the area. Which will pave a new way for the development of the area?
I will establish three social secretariats in Hunza valley, one each in Gojal, Kunjut and Shinaki. These secretariats shall sever as spaces where the government and society come together to deliberate on social and general issues, and finding solutions in a democratic and participatory manner.
Further, I will develop linkages in the national and international markets for the agricultural and other products produced in the region.
Last, but not the least, I will use my personnel contacts to increase the reserved seats for the youth in all major universities of Pakistan
PT: Why you are contesting the election as an independent candidate?
Waheed: I was offered party tickets by various political parties but I feel by contesting through a party one has to give importance to Party manifesto rather than the actual issues the public is confronted with. I chose to contest independently so that I could concentrate the actual problems faced by the people than just focusing on the political agenda of a particular Party.
PT: How do you see the recent package given region by the Pakistan Government?
Waheed: I think there are some good points in there especially we got our recognition as a new nation, before this some people considered us Kashmiris and others Pathan.
But on political grounds we have not got enough, Especially Hunza region was totally ignored. As Hunza is the largest subdivision of Gilgit -Bailtistan and its population is well over 120 thousand. It is home to diversified society of four ethnic groups. So it was our right to have three to four seats in the Gilgit-Bailtistan Legislative assembly but currently we have only one seat.
PT: What are your expectations from the public?
Waheed: I am feeling confident As Hunza people are known for their wisdom. Almost 90% of the public is educated so I am sure they will elect the best candidate who is visionary, has awareness of the actual problems faced by people, and has the capabilities to solve them.
PT: Would you like to give any other message to the public especially youth?
Waheed: Consciences is the voice of soul.
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