By Muhammad Pannah
The Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly elections 2015 came to a peaceful end. Thanks to the tight security by law enforcement agencies, voters were able their votes without any security fears and political interference in the voting process. The credit for successful projection of the elections goes to the electronic and print media who were able to show the face of a civilized democratic environment to the rest of the country. These factors show that the politicians and voters of Gilgit-Baltistan have reached political maturity, which will keep growing and pushing towards gaining the political and constitutional rights the region is deprived of.
The people of Hunza again elected their representative to hear highly promises. This election saw the people of Hunza showcase unbelievable political maturity. They even showed solidarity and political goodwill by voting a progressive party (Awami Workers’ Party) to second position. This change came because of political leaders’ involvement with public during good as well as bad circumstances. The public sent a strong message went to the existing and potential political leaders of Hunza to be part of public if they want to lead.
It is worth mentioning here that hundreds of small and medium sized projects are pending from several years in the region. The following challenges need to be met by the political leadership in Hunza, a verbally declared district until now:
– Hunza is surrounded by huge water resources’ reservoirs to generate electricity, but unfortunately people of the area live their lives in darkness for most of the year. The previous government’s incompetency in utilizing Hunza’s water resources to produce electricity can be held accountable for this situation. When it comes to Central Hunza, the first hydroelectric unit was installed in 1974. Since then, no heed has been paid to install more electricity product units, despite the rise in population by manifolds since then, let alone commercialization in the area. In Upper Hunza (Gojal), we have been seeing a hydroelectric project in Misgar Valley continuously falling to political negligence. We have noticed that the previous several governments have shown no will to complete the project for almost eight years now. Power generation needs to be at the top on the priority list of Hunza’s political leadership. Misgar powerhouse must be completed within a year if the government wants to get some applaud from the public.
– Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif announced Hunza as a separate district. This move motivated people to vote for PMLN, giving a strong mandate for the PMLN leadership in GBLA-6. If the government has some respect for the public mandate, it should immediately and practically start working on formation of the district. The bad news, however, is that despite win of PMLN in Hunza, we are yet to see a notification from the government declaring Hunza a district. If PMLN fails to deliver upon its promises, the politically mature people of Hunza will surely reject and send them back home in the next election, just as they did with the previous government.
– The progressive leader of Giligit-Baltistan and opposition leader of Hunza, Mr. Baba Jan, is still in prison despite getting the second huge political mandate. The people of Hunza voted him through democratic practice; therefore, it is important for the representative to use legal struggles and get Baba Jan released from jail. Mr. Baba Jan is the first leader of GB who contested election from prison.
– Although Chipursan road appears complete in the bureaucrats’ files; the reality is that some parts have been constructed, yet huge work is yet to be completed. People of Chipurson have been experiencing painful travelling for miles and that too on a road of very poor condition. This has led to transporters charging extra fare from passengers. There is a dire need for the project to be completed, so the people of Chipurson Valley can take a breath of relief.
– Moreover, the people of GB are curious whether the royalty from the China-Pak Economic Corridor would be awarded to the region and what sorts of economic and social capitals will emerge in the indigenous social norms, ranging from pre to post completion of this huge project. The people of GB are still concerned as to why they have been ignored in the biggest decision because we are the self-independent geostrategic and geo-economics gateway territory. Federal government has signed agreement with China on the economic corridor without political consensus of Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly; it seems that, again central government is repeating Karachi pact (which has been signed by non G.B aside of G.B) in the economic corridor agreement. Before starting the project over our territory people of GB, especially Hunza people are curious to know its economic consequences on the local people.
– And last, but not the least, the people of Hunza are tired of facing the consequences of revenge politics of previous governments. The happenings and victimization of the youth during the Attabad disaster, corruption in national and international aids, landslide debris late excavation, and all other files of corruption must be set open and investigated. We expect the present government in Hunza to keep political victimization and revenge politics aside and concentrate on the development of Hunza district.
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