By Fida Karim
Now that when the 12th general elections of Gilgit Baltistan Legislative Assembly (GBLA) are going to be held on June 8, 2015, our ex-representative from GBLA-6 Hunza Mr. Mutabiat Shah has issued a statement on social media wherein he has listed down 36 projects worth 1905.4 million which he claimed he had initiated or completed during the year 2009 to 2015 in Hunza. Whereas Mr. Wazir Baig, PPP backed second representative from GBLA-6 Hunza, has openly accepted their poor performance and stated that they have simply “wasted their four years in government” and “predicted a bleak future for PPP in Gilgit-Baltistan”. This indicates an outright failures of PPP in materializing its manifesto even after having its own President, Prime Minster, Chairman Senate and Chief Ministers in three provinces including Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) Pakistan.
As far as Mr. Mutabiat Shah and his role in the development of GBLA-6 Hunza is concern, I have summarized data from his Facebook post of May 15 in the table below to easily assess his contribution with special focus on the ground realities.
Mr. Mutabiat Shah claimed that during his five years term at GBLA he had spent almost two billion rupees on 36 developmental projects in all the three regions of Hunza. According to details, during his five years tenure he started or completed 16 projects in Upper Hunza, only 3 projects in Lower Hunza and 17 projects in Central Hunza. That means 44% of total projects have been started or completed in Upper Hunza, 47% in Central Hunza and 8% in Lower Hunza.
The bitter fact is that many of above projects are on paper only. For instance, it has been claimed that 0.5 MW hydro Project has been started or completed in Mayoon Nallah besides expansion of Khizerabad to Khanabd road in Lower Hunza. But the reality is that we have never ever seen any power project in Mayoon. That’s why most of the time we don’t have electricity in Mayoon like other parts of Lower Hunza. Same is the case with this fictitious Khizerabad to Khanabd road. When I visited Lower Hunza on October 2012, there was not even a pavement, let alone road from Khizerabad to Khanabd due to land sliding in Mayoon, which is situated between Khizerabad and Khanabd. And when I revisited this place on November 2014, this road was still blocked even after the lapse of two years. Because of this, I had to spend 1,700 rupees once to go to Hussaianabad from Mayoon in 2012. And in 2014 I had to spend 2,200 rupees to return back to Mayoon from Hussaianabd in a private taxi. Otherwise both these places are hardly two to three kilometers away from each other. Similarly, the collapse of Khizerabad RCC Bridge even after spending more than a decade on its construction is also a living example of bad governance and corruption of PPP and its legislators from GBLA-6 Hunza. Due to incompletion of these projects and blockade of road in Lower Hunza, every year hundred thousands of rupees are being lose on account of selling cash crops on lesser than market rate.
On the basis of aforementioned facts and figures with respect to ground realities, one can infer that most of these so called development projects might exist in files only if ever have been approved as nothing tangible is there on the ground to prove these claims. Similarly, these false claims raise serious questions on the authenticity of his claims regarding development projects claim to have been started or completed by him in other parts of Hunza.
On the basis of aforementioned claims and contradicting ground realities, it become very much necessary for the people of Hunza to neutrality assess contending candidates in upcoming election and select only those candidates who have any integrity, ability, guts, along with capacity and track record of serving all the three regions of Hunza as we have high stakes at this time around due to recently approved China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and evolving changes in our surrounding areas.
In this regard when we have a look on the profiles of contending members from GBLA-6 Hunza, it comes to know that we have Mr. Zafar Iqbal from PPP, Mir Ghazanfer from PML (N), Mr. Izhar Hunzai from PTI and Mr. Baba Jan from Pakistan Workers Party who are on the ground for the only seat of GBLA-6 Hunza.
When we look on the performance of our past representatives from GBLA-6 Hunza, they themselves accept that they have totally wasted their four years in the government by using public offices for personal gains. This rampant corruption marred uplift projects in GB. Therefore, sanity demands that mistakes never be repeated.
Same is the case with PMLN and its candidate Mir Ghazanfer Ali Khan. Out of last 40 years, Mir Ghazanfer remained in helm of affairs for 25 years. But unfortunately, he hasn’t done anything tangible to give him an edge over other contestants from GBLA-6 Hunza. He does have power and good contacts along with the brand name of “Mir of Hunza” which have never ever been used for the benefit of the people of GB in general and Hunza in particular. A large number of highly educated people in general and youth in particulate from Hunza are roaming here and there in search of decent jobs but he didn’t provided even a single decent job or any kind of scholarship to anyone of our highly educated youth from Hunza. Similarly, he has never ever raised his voice for an additional seat in GBLA just to maintain his dominance in the political arena of Hunza; thus, deprived Hunza from a major chunk of potential share from the divisible pool of developmental funds in GB Government. During his tenure the lower and upper part of Hunza remained neglected and he only concentrated on the development of central part of Hunza.
Out of aforementioned contestants, Mr. Izhar Hunzai and Mr. Baba Jan are untested and fresh contender. Izhar Hunzai comes with vast experience in the development sector while Baba Jan’s past suggests that he has stood alongside the people of Hunza for their rights whether it is the matter of Attaabad IDPs and their miseries, brutal killing of Sherullah Baig and his son Sher Afzal during CM Mehdi Shah’s Visit to Hunza or floor crisis or protection of human rights and constitutional rights. He took stand on all principle matters for the protection of our rights but unfortunately our own representatives in GBLA labeled him “anti – state element” and play their role in sending him along with a number of other innocent youth from Hunza behind the bars.
Since a new and fast pace development is taking place in our region on account of game-changing China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and evolving geopolitical scenario in our backyard. In this backdrop we needed someone who is highly educated, experienced and competent enough to make SMART programmes to address our local issues locally and well-represent Hunza at policy making forums to protect and promote our goals in the Great Game between China and West. In this regard, the forthcoming five years are very much crucial. I request all other Hunzukutz to make informed decisions and select the best of the best candidate among the contenders. Otherwise, a divided vote will divide Hunza in the most crucial period of its history.
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