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Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Peace a must for development: Mutabiat

Posted by Gilgit Tribune on December 12, 2009

By Our Correspondent

HUNZA, Dec 12: Peace, harmony is prerequisite for sustainable development in Gilgit-Baltistan, said Mutabiat Shah, the newly-elected technocrat member of the Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly.

Talking to mediapersons in Gilgit, he stressed the need for promoting interfaith and cultural harmony in Gilgit-Baltistan.

“The PPP-led Government has empowered the people of Gilgit-Baltistan through the recently announced self-governance Order and it is now our responsibility to implement it and strive for the basic rights of the people and seek more steps from the federal government,” he said.

While stressing the need for a coordinated and team work, he said focus should be laid on uplift projects targetting the marginalised and left-out segments of the society. The region has great potential of power generation which needs to be exploited to augment the development process in the region, he added.

He said the students of GB need to be given education according to the region’s specificities which would further help in developing relevant human resources in the region.

Mr Mutabiat, a well reputed experienced professional with over three decades experience in development sector said he will work for introduce reforms in the prevailing outdated system and promote merit and transparency in governance the region. There is a need to enhance the capacity of local media as a watchdog on legislators and bureaucracy.

He will encourage civil society initiatives and implement projects at grassroots level institutions while utilising the experiences learnt during the engagement of Aga Khan Rural Support Programme.

He said the local support organisations (LSOs) have the capacity to increase the effectiveness in service delivery and receiving mechanisms.

He will develop a consultation body of educated youth and professionals to multiply the benefits of development and prepare youth for the future leadership positions, he added.  Mr Mutabiat wants to identify and implement projects after consultations and according to the aspirations of the local communities.

He said he will build a strong team work with Wazir Baig to implement the 19 portfolio projects which were announced during the election campaigns in Hunza. He said they will ensure to secure additional seats for Hunza in the GBLA which was the main demand during the election.

Gojal well deserves the status of sub-division after the formation of the new Hunza-Nagar district, he said.

Efforts will be made to convince NHA to take over the roads of the far-flung Shimshal, Chipurson and Misgar valleys, he added. The approval of PC-IV of different projects in health and education sectors will ensure effective service delivery to the local communities, he said. Efforts will be made to develop sense of belonging among the youth and restoration of common image and prestige of Hunza valley.

He thanked the PPP leadership for entrusting him with the position. He said the people of Gojal are committed to the PPP manifesto and will never forget the services rendered by PPP since the time of late Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.

Meanwhile, the PPP Hunza chapter also thanked President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, Governor Qamar Zaman Kaira and other party high-ups for nominating Mutabiat Shah as member of GBLA on technocrat seat.

They expressed hope that he will utilise all his capabilities for the development of GB.

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Posted in 5584, GECA, Gilgit-Baltistan, Government, Hunza-Gojal, Political Parties | Leave a Comment »

President calls upon PPP winning candidates to ‘rise to expectations of people,

Posted by Gilgit Tribune on November 23, 2009

By Our Reporter

Islamabad, November 23: President Asif Ali Zardari while felicitating the PPP winning candidates in Gilgit-Baltistan elections has urged them to rise to the expectations of the people of the area as they have reposed great confidence in the PPP. The President was talking to a delegation of PPP winning candidates in the Gilgit-Baltistan’s elections that called on him in the Presidency on Monday night. He said the Pakistan Peoples Party working on policy of reconciliation would take along all the political forces in Gilgit-Baltistan also.

Islamabad: President Asif Ali Zardari meeting the delegation of PPP winning candidates in President House.

The President said the jubilant victory of the party in the elections had convincingly demonstrated that the PPP was a potent political force. “The people of Gilgit-Baltistan belied the inimical propaganda of adversaries, who claimed that the party had lost public support” he added.  He said the people of Gilgit-Baltistan had made great sacrifices for democracy and democratic struggle led by the PPP. He praised the sacrifices offered by the people of Gilgit-Baltistan on October 19, and December 27, 2007 and said they have always stood by the party in hard times. He said the party will never forget the manner in which the party workers of Gilgit-Baltistan had suffered during the dictatorship.

The President said that the government was working on various projects for poverty alleviation in Gilgit-Baltistan. He said the government was keen to exploit the economic potential of Gilgit-Baltistan with particular focus on the tourism industry for the prosperity of the poor people of the region.

He said there was great potential for power projects in Gilgit-Baltistan and assured the delegation that the government had drawn plans to harness this potential.

The delegation assured that they after forming the government would work earnestly for the welfare and uplift of the people of Gilgit-Baltistan. They also expressed complete confidence in the leadership of the party.

The delegation led by the party President Gilgit-Baltistan  Syed Mehdi Shah included Aftab Haider Advocate, Muhammad Ali Akhter, Wazir Baig, Sheikh Nisar Hussain, Shakil Ahmad, Wazir Hassan, Syed Muhammad Ali Shah Rizvi, Hamid Khan, Muhammad Naseer, Ali Madad Sher, Muhammad Jaffer, Muhammad Ismail Engineer and Ayub Shah.  Governor Gilgit-Baltistan Qamar Zaman Kaira, Minister for Labour, Syed Khursheed Ahmed Shah, Ms. Rukhsana Bangash, MNA, Ms Fouzia Habib, MNA and Spokesperson to the President former Senator Farhatullah Babar were also present.

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GB again declared as part of Kashmir?

Posted by Gilgit Tribune on November 23, 2009

By Ali Ashraf Khan
The handling of the Gilgit-Baltistan election which came as a result of the much trumpeted Gilgit and Baltistan autonomy package announced on 29 August 2009, the Gilgit-Baltistan Empowerment and Self-Governance Order 2009, was passed by the Pakistani cabinet and later signed by the President. It gave self-rule to the people of the former Northern Areas, now renamed “Gilgit-Baltistan,” by creating, among other things, an elected legislative assembly, a Chief Minister, an acting Governor. This made the local population jubilant, while the PPP aim was to justify their victory. The Prime Minister further went on to say: “You are getting your identity today. It is your right and has been your demand, and today we are fulfilling it.”
Gilgit-Baltistan before known as this northern area of Pakistan is a self-liberated area which before 1936 was ruled by the Dogra Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir who then leased this area to British. When the partition plan of India approved by British parliament and the King was implemented Lord Mountbatten the new Governor General on 15th August 1947 returned this territory back to Dogra ruler, who appointed Brigadier Ghansara Sing as his Governor in Gilgit with the connivance of Col Beacon Methewson and Major Brown. The people of this strategically important region revolted against the autocratic Dogra ruler and carved out a “Republic of Gilgit”, on Nov 1, 1947. When Col. Hassan Khan and Capt Babar had captured the Gilgit Residency in which the Governor was killed, the warriors in Baltistan had by then taken full control over all the strategic passes on Kargil-Laddakh sector to cut the only Indian communication link with Kargil & Laddakh district till the time Pakistani army under command of Major General Jillani took over and advanced further deep into the Muslim area of Kargil. In 1951 Paddam Parri, Zojilla Pass and other areas were vacated by Pakistan Army on the coming into force of UN Ceasefire Resolutions on Kashmir, which were passed on the assurance of Pundit Nehru to withdraw troops and hold plebiscite in Kashmir. The local people of Gilgit & Baltistan have always contrary to this view that Northren Area is a disputed territory considered themselves a part of Pakistan as a result of Karachi Pact of 1951, not only the people of Gilgit-Baltistan, but also the international institutions such as the UN, EU, etc., have always upheld that the rule of Maharaja Harisingh over Gilgit & Baltistan as a colonial occupation had ended with the success of ‘Jang-i-Azadi Gilgit-Baltistan’ on November 1, 1947, when the last governor of the state of Kashmir Brigadier Ghansara Singh and his associates were killed in the war between Gilgit Scouts and Dogra forces.
This had ended the century long Kashmiri rule over the Gilgit-Baltistan region with hundreds of refugees from Kargil were repariated to Skardu as IDP’s, who have multiplied in number and are living in sub-human conditions in Rawal pindi, Lahore nd Karachi, the were given representation in AJK Legislative Council in K. H. Khurshid government in 60’s but have now been ignored in this empowerment plan. Then, a new independent state called ‘Islamic Republic of Gilgit’ was established with Shah Raees Khan as its President and after 14 days of its existence it had affiliated itself with Pakistan, which was given legal cover in 1951 under Karachi pact to merge with Pakistan as a separate entity, independent of Kashmir.
This should have settled the fate of this territory whose people had fought and died for the sake of joining Pakistan but given the situation that the Kashmir question was negotiated before the UNSC on the request of India Pakistan later on was hesitant to incorporate Gilgit & Baltistan fully into Pakistan to give constitutional rights to its population. In 1974 Z.A. Bhutto had been persuaded to cease this injustice to those people and to give Northern Areas the status of a province of Pakistan. He even had arrived in Gilgit with his entourage in order to announce this good news to the people, but then in the last moment he bogged down to the Foreign Office advise, which was afraid that such a step could endanger the status of the Kashmir dispute and again, the people were left in the lurch. The so-called autonomy package of 2009 did not change this situation any better except to distract public attention to win votes for PPP.
That is why PPP coalition partners in Pakistan have alleged massive rigging in these elections and called it “old wine in new bottles”. Now when elections are over let us not keep the people hostage to this 62-year-old idea it is high time now to give credit to ground realties and do justice to the region and the people. For the information of our Prime Minister and his government the people of Gilgit and Baltistan are not Kashmiris; they are a colourful mixture of many tribes and ethnicities speaking languages as different as Burushaski, Shina, Balti, Wakhi, Pashto and different dialects. They have ethnic relations to China, Ladakh, Tadshikistan, Afghanistan; others have lost their affiliations with their places of origin from where they had come along the silk route centuries ago. There is no reason why they should not be made a full part of Pakistan if they wish so. But that is a decision that would need a strong and democratically minded government in Islamabad, something which we definitely lack.
Nevertheless, after 62 years of a rather colonial attitude of Pakistan towards the people of Gilgit and Baltistan who were denied socio-economic development, roads, schools, health care and political rights by the country of their choice they still opted to take whatever little the Gilani package was offering to them and they enthusiastically participated in the election. This time also the political parties of Pakistan did not spare any effort during the election campaign to make their influence felt. One asks the question, what is actually the legal basis for Pakistani parties operating in a territory which does not officially belong to Pakistan? People here are already facing hard time under below freezing temperature that recently given PPP Empowerment and self governance carpet was quickly rolled back when Prime Minister Gillani loudly announced on the floor of National Assembly in response to MQM’s rightful protest on rigging in Gilgit Baltistan elections that this area is a part of Kashmir. Whatsoever will be the future out come of such a U-Turn, when PPP has engineered majority to form its government by publicly announcing a new development package to win votes, which is an act of breaking all rules of conduct in holding free and fair elections and which as a consequence has rendered the whole exercise questionable well before the first vote was cast. The rigging did not stop at that; it went on in all the constituencies were more-loyal-than-the king bureaucrats were stuffing polling boxes.
The electoral rolls were manipulated until the last moment and new names added for whom votes could be given and stuffed into the boxes. Since the day of the elections the people of Gilgit and Skardu are up in arms and the Pakistani parties who had been campaigning very hard and invested a lot of money are shouting ‘foul’. But actually this state of affairs should not surprise anybody; this is what is expected. The PPP is famous for rigging elections and its founding father Z.A. Bhutto lost his government because of rigging 1977 elections to muster three fourth majority to amend constitution into presidential form. Now the party under the leadership of his son-in-law is facing a similar situation with a status-quo cabinet. One wished the consequences would not follow suit in the same way as in 1977 to derail democracy as of now it looks that the War of Terror is being shifted into Pakistan under a changed geo-political environment due to short falls of our foreign policy during last decade. National unity is the only need of the hour, we need strongly committed sincere and honest leadership to steer the nation out of this Morass instead of stretching individual party power base and celebrating election victory.- source Pakistan Observer

Posted in Gilgit-Baltistan, Politics | Leave a Comment »

Fauzia for promoting democratic process in GB

Posted by Gilgit Tribune on November 20, 2009

By Our Reporter

Islamabad, Nov 20: Pakistan People’s Party Information Secretary Fauzia Wahab, MNA, has called upon the political forces to work for strengthening democratic institutions and the democratic process to continue and grow in Gilgit-Baltistan instead of rejecting public mandate and questioning it.

In a statement issued here she said the people have again voted in favour of PPP as it is the largest and oldest party which has a history of deep connection with the people since 1972 when Zulfikar Ali Bhutto first visited Gilgit-Baltistan and introduced historical reforms.

The agenda of ZAB was furthered by Benazir Bhutto which is being carried forward by the present PPP government as part of our legacy in the region, she said adding “this led the PPP to victory in GB.”

Fauzia Wahab said the election results of Gilgit-Baltistan have proved that PPP enjoys masses’ support and out of 23 members PPP has the support of 13.

About providing equal opportunities to all, she said the top leadership of all other parties visited GB and addressed rallies. Compared to the results of last election, this time they have made relative gains which is a commendable democratic trend, she said.

Fauzia added that government not only supported their visits but also facilitated them and provided full security during their stay there to everyone without any discrimination.

She said the Governor Kaira only participated in one election meeting that the Prime Minister attended and he had to do that as a matter of protocol.

The governor, she said, did not hold any political rally and instead performed his functions of monitoring the elections from administrative perspective and to ensure law land order, transparency and due processes. He only held meetings with administration officials to ensure security and peaceful polling.

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Nawaz vows to work ‘days in days’ for GB

Posted by Gilgit Tribune on November 5, 2009

By Our Special Correspondent

GHANCHAY, Nov 4: Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) chief Mian Nawaz Sharif said he would he would work days in days out to resolve the problems of Gilgit-Baltistan and added that he would stress the federal government to provide the resources for the region. He said he calls spade a spade without mincing the matter to deceive others.

nawazAddressing a public gathering in Ghanchay district of Gilgit-Baltistan, he said the day is not far when Kashmir would be free.

He urged the people to make success possible for election symbol of ‘Lion’—his party symbol for elections.

Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, Opposition leader in the National Assembly and Central leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan and Sardar Mehtab Abbasi were also present.

Earlier, a warm reception was accorded to PML-N leaders upon their arrival here.

Posted in Election2009, Gilgit-Baltistan, Politics | Leave a Comment »

Kidnapping, torture of Natco station manager condemned

Posted by Gilgit Tribune on October 21, 2009

By GT Report

HUNZA, Oct 21: People from all walks of life and the candidates of all major political parties and notables of Hunza, Gojal and Nagar have condemned the alleged kidnapping and torture of NATCO Station Manager Sultan Ayub by the supporters of a candidate for submitting the nomination papers of Zafar Iqbal.

Talking to Dawn they termed the incident “shameful and disgusting aimed at destroying the peaceful environment and disturbing political process in Hunza valley”. They demanded stern action against those behind the incident.

“A handful of people could not stop the people of Hunza from exercising their democratic rights,” remarked PPP candidate Wazir Baig. 

 

Kamil Jan of MQM, SherYar Khan of PML-N and others also condemned then incident and asked the administration to arrest those nominated in the FIR and unmask those involved in the incident.

Some of the candidates pointed finger of blame at the candidate of All Hunza Action Committee for the incident. However the AHAC leaders termed it a conspiracy against the committee and demanded to identify the culprits and take stern action against those involved.

 

Police sources informed this scribe that the culprits have tortured Ayub as a punishment for filing the nomination paper of Zafar Iqbal for the forthcoming election despite a boycott call from All Hunza Action Committee. The Aliabad Police has filed FIR against 5 alleged culprits on the base of the investigation from a arrested taxi driver who was picked after the incident.  Police sources told that they have told the elders of the culprits to hand over them to police before

 

It may be recalled here that Sultan Ayub had submitted the nomination papers of NATCO General Manager Zafar Iqbal, who is also a candidate but the returning officer, Hunza, and Chief Election Commissioner rejected his papers. He has moved the chief court against the CEC decision.

 

Meanwhile, the candidates of all major parties contesting in the upcoming election of Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly have formally kicked off their election campaigns after allotment of symbols. Information and coordination offices have been opened in Aliabad and other major towns.

 

Close contest is expected between Wazir Baig of PPP, Kamil Jan of MQM, Noor Muhammad of Hunza Action Committee and Shehryar of PML-N. Similarly some other candidates including Rehmatullah Baig of PML-Q, Ijlal Hussain of KNM, Shahbaz Khan, Karim Sher Khan are also contesting the election.   

 

The office-bearers of the local chapter of PML- N have shown concerns over granting party ticket to Shehryar Khan, the son of former Chief Executive Ghazanfar Ali Khan. Talking to this scribe Haider Tai Vice-President PML-N Hunza chapter said that the party high-ups have ignored the concerns of the party workers while giving tickets. They said the PML-N workers will support the candidate of All Hunza Action Committee.

Posted in GECA, Gilgit-Baltistan, Hunza-Gojal, Politics | Leave a Comment »

Protest drive comes to logical end; 22 file papers from Hunza

Posted by Gilgit Tribune on October 3, 2009

By Zulfiqar Ali Khan

HUNZA, Oct 3: While ending the month-long protest campaign, almost all major political parties and individuals here on Saturday opted to electoral politics by filing nomination papers to contest for the lone seat in the forthcoming election of Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly.protest4

At least 22 candidates from various major political parties as well as independents filed their nomination papers in the Returning Officer’s office. This is for the first time in the history of Hunza that such a large number of candidates have filed papers.

About 200 people were gathered in front of the office of the Returning Officer on the call of All Hunza Action Committee (AHAC) to stop the candidates from filing their application.

After failing to stop intending candidates from filing nominations, the top leaders of AHAC also submitted their papers and the protesters dispersed peacefully.

Serious differences surfaced within the committee over boycott of the election.

nomination 2Talking to this scribe, Baba Jan, Chief Organiser of Progressive Youth Front said that his party will devise the strategy soon. He said his party is still in favour of election boycott.

The action committee has now been transformed into electoral body, an angry protester commented while others praised the decision for peaceful ending of the boycott.

protest2Those filed their papers included Zafar Iqbal, Ghazanfar Ali Khan, nomination4Atiqa Ghazanfar, Wazir Baig, Fida Karim, Noor Muhammad, Mir Baz Khan, Sher Yar Khan, Saleem Khan, Aziz Ahmed, Waheed Murad, Fazal Rabani, Naik Naam Khan, Karimullah Baig, Abbas Khan, Abuzar Ali, Lal Hussain, Ghadir Shah, Doulat Karim, Karimullah Baig, Kamil Jan, Bahadur Khan, Shahbaz Khan, Shah Khan, Rehmatullah Baig, Rozdarullah, Arif Hussain, Ijlal Hussain and Karim Sher Khan.

Posted in Gilgit-Baltistan, Hunza-Gojal, Politics | 1 Comment »

GBLA polls: 382 file papers

Posted by Gilgit Tribune on October 3, 2009

By Our Special Correspondent

GILGIT, Oct 3: As many as 382 intending candidates on Saturday filed nomination papers for the Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly elections, official sources told GB Tribune.

The Election Commission officials said that they have received 382 nomination papers to contest elections for the 24 general seats of Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly scheduled to be held on Nov12.

According to the Election Commission of Gilgit-Baltistan, Zafar Waqar Taj, for the six seats of Gilgit District 144 intending candidates have filed nominations.

For six seats of Skardu District, 71 candidates have filed papers. In Skardu-I, 12 candidates, Skardu-II, nine candidates, Skardu-III, 10 candidates, Skardu-IV, 16 candidates, Skardu-V, 17 candidates and in Skardu-VI, seven candidates have filed their papers.

For three Ghangche District seats, 21 have submitted nominations.

In Ghangche-I, six candidates have filed papers, Ghangche-II, 10, and in Ghangche-III, five candidates have filed papers.

For four seats in Diamer district, 51 have submitted papers. For two Astore District seats, 42 have filed nominations and for three Ghizer district seats, 55 candidates have filed nominations.

Nomination papers will be scrutinised on Oct 7.

All former members have again submitted their papers to contest elections.

Corner meetings, rallies and campaign are getting momentum in Gilgit-Baltistan.

Posted in GECA, Gilgit-Baltistan, Hunza-Gojal, Politics | Leave a Comment »

People urged to get united against terrorism

Posted by Gilgit Tribune on October 3, 2009

By Our Special Correspondent
GILGIT, Oct 3: People from cross section of the society and political divide condemned the spate of terrorist acts and called it a conspiracy to sabotage the democratic and uplift reforms introduced in the region recently.

They demanded of the government to expose and eliminate such elements so that a lasting peace and order could be established in the region. They urged the people to reject such elements through their ballots.
Talking to this correspondent, senior politician and information secretary of Pakistan Peoples Party, Rana Nazim described it handiwork of the ‘hidden’ hands to destroy peace and harmony of region. He urged the people to unmask such elements.
“Certainly sectarian elements are enemies of the country, public and the area and this is ours national duty to get united against them,” he stressed.
They are also trying to deprive the people of the fruits of empowerment and self-governance recently introduced by the PPP government in Gilgit-Baltistan.
He, however, was optimistic that people of area would thwart the designs of such elements.

He said it’s high time to purge society of such anti-peace and anti-state elements which have made the society and the area hostage. He asked the administration to deal with sectarian elements with iron hand so that development process could not be halted.
Another prominent leader Jamil Ahmed sees external hands behind the incidents to disturb peace and warned them that their nefarious designs could not be successful because the public have now become aware of their designs.
“Undoubtedly it is a conspiracy hatched by the enemies of Pakistan which need to be thwarted,” he said.
Municipal Committee Chairman Ilyas Siddiqui came down hard on law enforcement agencies for failing to track down miscreants and to curb terror acts which have destroyed peace and development of the area.
He said those forces which are killing innocent people were planted by those who are busy in weakening the state and destroy social fabric of Gilgit-Baltistan. “But they are living in fools paradise as the area is different from other restive areas of the country,” he commented, apparently mentioning the Tribal Areas and Swat and Balochistan. He warned that this could not happen and they would be defeated by the peace-loving-people of the region.
He asked the administration to take quick action against the small group of extremist elements before things get out of their hands and Swat-like situation is created in the peaceful region of Gilgit.
It is irony of the fact that the rulers never nipped the evil in the bud and awakens when the situation gets worse and state has to suffer huge loss in terms of human lives and resources.
He demanded of the government to come down hard on the perpetrators and establish peace in the region.

Violence mars electioneering

Though a large number of candidates have obtained nomination papers to take part in the forthcoming elections, the recent unfortunate incidents of violence have marred the electioneering and political activities in the capital city.

There was low attendance in all government and private departments and markets. Election officers continue to issue nomination papers to the intending candidates, but none of them have submitted the papers yet.
Even the intending candidates in Hunza have obtained nominations where rumors about boycotting the elections were rife,” Zafar Waqar Taj, Election Commissioner told the Tribune.
He disclosed that not a single nomination was submitted on the second day but he was optimistic that there would be enough candidates in the run keeping in view the tendency shown in obtaining of the papers, the EC said.
He said October 3 is the last day and those willing to contest the elections could submit the form by due time.
Sources in election commission told this scribe that almost all former lawmakers have again obtained the nomination papers.
It is to be noted here that Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani had told media that elections were being held under the supervision of judiciary and ordered the administration to ensure holding of free and fair elections.

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RO slammed for not ensuring availability of voters list in Hunza

Posted by Gilgit Tribune on October 3, 2009

Our Correspondent

HUNZA, Oct 3: The intending candidates here have criticised the local administration for failing to facilitate them and ensuring availability of electoral lists in the office of Returning Officer.

Over 18 candidates obtained nomination papers till Friday evening. They included Ghazanfar Ali Khan, Atiqa Ghazanfar, their two sons Saleem Khan and Sher Yar Khan, Zafar Iqbal, Kamil Jan, Imam Dad, Arif Hussain, Shah Khan, Bahadur Khan and his son district council member Shahbaz Khan as independents candidates. From PPP platform Lal Hussain, Abuzar Ali, Neknam, Fida Karim, Hajat Mohammad, Ghulam Abbas and Daulat Karim have obtained nomination papers.

Meanwhile, the All-Hunza Action Committee seems to be in disarray as despite its announcement to hold a public rally and stage a sit-in outside the office of the returning officer in order to stop the candidates from filing their nomination papers, has failed to do so as some candidates have succeeded in filing their papers.

“We have asked the local administration to ensure security on the occasion of elections,” a candidate told this scribe.

He said forcefully stopping people from the election process was not a democratic norm and if the “action committee claims representing the people, then they should contest the elections”.

Differences have appeared in the All-Parties Hunza Action Committee (AHAC) over the participation in the forthcoming elections for Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly.

Nationalist and progressive parties are strongly advocating boycott of the election against non-acceptance of their demand of an additional seat for Hunza in the legislative assembly while other parties and individuals are in favour of fielding joint candidates from the committee’s platform.

The committee at its meeting held at Aliabad on Thursday, had decided to stage sit-in outside election offices to stop intending candidates from submitting their nominations.

AHAC chairman Sheikh Abid Hussain announced holding of public gatherings on Thursday and Friday in front of the sessions court Hunza to stop candidates from filing their nomination papers. “We will first convince them and then force them not to submit their papers,” some of the committee members threatened.

They said participation in the election means accepting the discrimination with the people of Hunza.

The participants, however, were divided on future strategies in case consensus on boycott option is not reached. Most of the action committee members supported the idea of fielding a joint candidate from the committee’s platform in the election. However, the leaders of the progressive and nationalist parties opposed the proposal.

Labour Party Boloristan Chairman Advocate Ehsan Ali and Progressive Youth Front Hunza chapter chief organiser Baba Jan were of the view that the action committee should not be converted into election body and opposed participation in the election process. They stressed on mobilisation of the people to stop election process.

The participants condemned former chief executive of Gilgit-Baltistan Ghazanfar Ali Khan for backtracking from his earlier announcement of boycotting the polls by getting seven nomination papers for seven of his family members.

Posted in Gilgit-Baltistan, Hunza-Gojal, Politics | Leave a Comment »