Wazir Baig is the recently elected representative of Hunza valley. He has contested four elections in the past, winning two of them, both as candidate of Pakistan People’s Party. He is currently staying at Gilgit – Baltistan House, Islamabad.
Noor Muhammad of Pamir Times arranged a meeting with him for an exclusive interview. Following is content of his first ever interview to any news medium, after winning the elections.
PT: Congratulations on winning the elections. What are your feelings as winner of a toughly contested election?
Wazir Baig (WB): I am thankful to my voters for again expressing their confidence in my leadership capabilities. This is not the first time I am winning, so the feelings are mixed. I know that leadership brings responsibility. Nevertheless, I am fully prepared to make sure that we fulfill all our promises with the people of Hunza.
PT: Opponents are accusing that massive use of government machinery and resources resulted in your victory. They are also accusing that votes of the people of Gojal were bought by PPP. What do you have to say about this?
WB: I think this was the fairest election of our region. All accusations of buying votes are unfortunate and ill intentioned. I am thankful to the people of Gojal for yet again voting for PPP. Those who accuse the people of Gojal valley are not aware of history of the region. The people of Gojal valley played a very important role in dissolution of the tyrannical state of Hunza. PPP lives in the heart of majority of Gojal’s people and they have always voted for PPP, overwhelmingly.
I would urge the opponents to respect verdict of the people and stop the blame game. We all need to join hands and work for betterment of the people. The election process is over.
PT: Noor Muhammad of the Hunza Action Committee has expressed similar cordial sentiments in a televised speech, broadcast through Sujju Hunzu. He said that the Action Committee accepts results of the election and would like to join hands with you for resolution of longstanding issues of Hunza.
WB: I welcome his offer and appreciate his sentiments. Indeed that is the only way forward. We all need to forget and forgive, in the true spirit of democracy.
PT: Which designation are you going to get in the cabinet?
WB: My name is being considered for a number of positions, including speaker of the house. However, a final decision in this regard will be taken by co – chairman of the Pakistan Peoples Party. There are a number of positions for ministers also.
We requested President Zardari in our meeting last night to increase the number of GB cabinet ministers from six to seven. The president has given positive signals in this regard so we will be able to compensate each district of Gilgit – Baltistan.
PT: Would Hunza get the technocrat seat?
WB: Yes. Hunza would get the technocrat seat. Mr Mutabiat Shah, a renowned development professional belonging to Gojal valley, is our candidate for the technocrat seat from Hunza. We will make sure that he wins. His name has been recommended by the party itself.
PT: What about the promised reserved seat for women?
WB: Good news in this regard is expected shortly.
PT: Did you distribute BISP forms to win votes in Hunza valley?
WB: This accusation is baseless. The people of Hunza vote for their ideals, not for money. MQM distributed a lot of money in Hunza valley. If money was the deciding factor, they could easily have won. But they did not.
PT: Why is the compensation issue of KKH expansion not being decided yet?
WB: It is an unfortunate truth that no final compensation plan has yet reached Islamabad. The last government did not do anything to pressurize the bureaucracy in Gilgit to decide land compensation rates.
We have picked the issue on priority basis and the director of NHA and communications minister have assured us that once they get the compensation plan, the issue would be resolved within three days. We are working to make sure that a compensation formula is devised and delivered to the authorities for speedy action.
Further, NHA is working on feasibility of taking over the work on Chipursan and Shimshal truck-able roads.
PT: Who would be the governor of Gilgit – Baltistan?
WB: A number of names are being considered, in my information, including Afzal Shigri and Nasir Sabir, among others. Let’s hope for the best.
PT: Who would you support in your personal capacity?
WB: The decision would be taken by the head of the state. However, in my opinion, since Mehdi Shah is the prime candidate for CM slot, I think the governor should be from some other part of Gilgit – Baltistan. Nazir Sabir, as a global figure, is an ideal candidate for the slot of Governor, Gilgit – Baltistan.
PT: Thank you Mr Wazir Baig for your time and patience. Hope to remain in touch with you in the future as well.
WB: It is my pleasure and honor to meet and talk to youth of the region. Pamir Times has emerged as the most important news medium in Hunza valley, as well as other parts of Gilgit – Baltistan. I wish you more success. Don’t ever stop supporting the truth, even if that means opposing the most powerful.
PT: Thank you sir, for the kind words.
WB: You are most welcome.