Appended below is an interview with PML (N) ticket holder from LA – 6, Hunza, Shehryar Khan, son of former chief executive of NALA, Ghazanfar Ali Khan. It is being presented for information of the readers. Editor_.
PT: Can you kindly tell us about your academic background? What is the highest degree you have achieved, so far, and from which university/universities?
SK: I did my primary education from Convent of Jesus & Mary in Islamabad, after which I completed my Middle and High School education from the International American School of Islamabad. I then proceeded abroad to attain my bachelors degree in international relations from the University of Texas at Austin, USA. I returned to Pakistan to complete my MBA in Finance & Macro Economy and a minor in Human Resource Development from Preston University Islamabad.
It would be pertinent to mention here that His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan blessed our family by financially sponsoring my entire education. All these qualifications are due to his blessings and support.
PT: How can your experience as a banking professional help you in your political career? Do you see the two choices compatible and mutually enhancing?
SK: I initially began working for Union Bank Limited (now Standard Chartered) from 2003 up till 2005 as a Personal Banker. This helped in meeting people from all walks of life be it politicians, bankers, corporations, government officials etc. I feel that this PR development broadened my contact base which would help me later in my political life, if given the chance. In 2006 I got an opportunity to work in Dubai at the ABN AMRO bank (now Royal Bank of Scotland) as a Senior Relationship Manager (Investments & Wealth Management). This gave me a chance not only to broaden my contact base, but taught me a valuable lesson in managing private equity funds and study economies of many countries including South Asia and Europe. You would agree, development of contacts and a firm understanding of domestic and international economic markets is essential in today’s time and age, especially in the changing socio-economic trends world-wide. I feel these qualities are essential for a politician in order to keep up with the changing times.
PT: Kindly list down five top issues faced by Gilgit – Baltistan.
In my opinion the top most issues being faced by Gilgit-Baltistan are;
– Political deprivation i.e. non-representation in the National Assembly and Senate.
– Unity and cohesiveness among the people.
– Dramatic collapse of the tourism industry.
– Non-development of major industries i.e. mining, fisheries, agriculture, corporate farming.
PT: What are the top issues of Hunza valley and how do you plan to tackle the three issues outlined above?
SK: Top issues of Hunza, in my opinion, at the moment are;
a) Requirement of additional seats in the GBLA
I plan to tackle these issues by focusing my attention on the following problem areas;
a)District of Astore has a registered voters population of 10,000 and have 2 seats in the GBLA while Hunza having a registered voter population of 34,500 has only one seat. I will demand not 2 but 3 seats from out party leader, Mian Mohammad Nawaz Sharif on the basis of area and population.
b) we will initiate private investment in our Area by attracting investors from around the globe, mainly the middle east and japan where people would be invited to invest in different industries i.e. hotelling, corporate farming, which then in turn would create employment for the youth.
C) My demand for a cadet college was made to the leader of our party Mian Mohammad Sharif, and I am certain if I come into power this demand would be pressed upon by our leader from the government.
PT: What do you think about the demand of three seats for Hunza? Is the demand feasible and attainable?
SK: Like I stated before, if a district with ten thousand registered can get two seats in the legislative assembly, why can’t Hunza demand three seats, having more than thirty-four thousand registered voters? Therefore the demand for 3 seats is feasible and is attainable provided that the people bring about a candidate who can raise this demand with the power corridors. Nothing is impossible.
PT: If you lose, would this be your last election? Or, do you see a long political career for yourself in Hunza?
SK: There are certain unconditional promises (whether I win or lose) that I havve made to the youth particularly in the educational sector. I intend to uphold these promises irrespective of the election results. Moreover, winning or losing is part and parcel of politics, and I would like to inform that I am here to stay irrespective of the result.
PT: If you want to build a political career what would be your focus areas?
SK: My main focus area while building my political career would be to bridge the gap between the educated youth and myself. I plan on doing this by setting up a Coordination or Rabta Committees throughout Hunza. Representatives of these committees will be chosen by the people (2 women and 2 men ) from each village who will coordinate and apprise me of their problems and grievances, but only when I am unable to meet them myself due to work commitments or other reasons.
I plan to travel extensively to each and every part of Hunza and reach out to the youth. I will hold interactive sessions where they would be free to ask me any question they wish, which would be addressed in all honesty and humility, thus creating an atmosphere of trust between us.
PT: How do you rate the development of Hunza over the past few decades? What have been the major change agents during this era?
SK: I would not like to comment in detail to this query as it may seem biased to the readers. Therefore I would only like to say compare the development of Hunza with its neighboring Nagar and you would have your answer. The basic issue here is not development of the area, but it is the unity amongst the people coupled with Leadership with easy access to its leader which is my main focus.
PT: What’s the future of pasture and land disputes in Hunza (Shinaki, Kunjut/Hunzu, Gojal)? Do you have a solution in your mind for resolution of the decades old disputes?
SK: Honestly speaking, immediately I have no solution to this problem, but I am aware of the disputes. I would like to interact with the elders of each area, hear their point of views and try to arrive at a mutually acceptable consensus solution.
PT: What’s your vision for Hunza and Gilgit – Baltistan?
SK: Identity, respect, and preservation of culture and tradition.
PT: Why do you think the people of Hunza would vote for you on 12th November?
I was living a luxurious and comfortable life abroad. I resigned without looking back for a moment, to serve the people. I felt it was time to be with the people of Hunza who I have a lot of respect and love for. I don’t have any hidden agendas and my conscience is clear. I am young and I feel I can reach out to the youth and make myself accessible to them whenever and wherever I am needed, irrespective of the result.
PT: Thank you for your time and thought-provoking comments.
SK: You are welcome anytime and thank you arranging the interview.