.. by Islamuddin
Bravo! Well done Chitralis. You have followed national trend to vote out corruption. MMA may not have governing skills but there are quite a few God fearing and honest people in the party Including the MNA elect Maulana Chitrali who did well during his last stint. The benefit of incumbency that PTI cashed in the elections owes much to the contributions of JI. PTI local leadership should blame no one except itself for the defeat. During 5 years PTI rule in KP this leadership failed to organize the party and remained out of touch with the people at grassroot level thus failing to educate the people about the vision of Imran Khan. They thought that participation in ?dharna? and Imran Khan?s image will get them through in the elections; so much so that their election campaigns were half-hearted. Electables were discouraged to join the party and even among those in the party there was no meeting of hearts. Public grievances were never ventilated at the right forums.
At the start of the poll campaign this scribe, using this esteemed Online newspaper, had requested all contestants not to play on faultlines. This advice was not heeded and few candidates tried to enter this danger zone for short term political gains even at the cost of Chitral?s communal harmony which should have remained their top agenda. It is a measure of our maturity that we refused to be swayed by narrow considerations. Issues of governance and corruption remained upper most in the public psyche while deciding to choose candidates. MMA was chosen because of the perception that they do not have the tendency to indulge in corruption. Though lacking in governance skills, they are percieved to be simple people who would do no harm to public exchequer the way it has been squandered by past rulers. Favouritism and contract commissions have been used by past rulers for personal enrichments and then these ill-gotten funds were used to buy votes in elections. This trick was used this time also but mercifully to no effect.
The results of these elections must be eye opener for our political leaders. Gone are the days of vote buying, intimidation and blackmail. The voter has come of age and is judging the candidates on the basis of their performance and honesty.The free media has made election a completely new ball game. The rout of PML(N) and PPP in 2018 polls is proof enough of the changing paradigm. Both the parties have damaged their reputation because of corruption. However greedy people cannot see this change because corruption blinds a person to every thing except personal interest. Cyril Almeida, the controversial Dawn reporter wrote in a recent article that some politicians would even sell their honour to get into office. There is another explanation as well that politicians tend to make elective offices as ancestral possessions to protect their ill-gotten wealth. The results of 2018 polls holds an important lesson for such people as well.
Here while congratulating Maulana Chitrali on his well-deserved victory, I would suggest that his individual honesty may not be enough, unless he puts all his energy to make NAB take notice of corruption cases in Chitral. NAB has already taken notice of corruption in contract and timber cutting. Maulan Saheb should follow it up and recover public funds for correct utilization. In my own area quite a few projects (some ghost projects), including medium sized water supply projects await investigation for substandard construction and subletting . In fact these are programmed to fail so that fresh funds are allocated thereby making these projects as gold mones for corruption. Many of these cases case fall under NAB ambit on account of being asset beyond legal means. In fact during an election meeting when MMA complained that Ismailis do not vote for MMA, I responded that MMA should cultivate these voters through continuous interaction instead of making it a once in a blue moon activity. When out of power it should work as active opposition and expose corruption. Chitralis like to vote for merit but by not highlighting it, civic spirited leaders themselves allow free ride to political adventurers who love to side track public opinion by playing with faultlines of ethnicity, regionalism and religion.
The simple and innocent people of Garam Chashma have been taken for a free ride by few adventurers. Fortunately this year we saw some improvement in public psyche, depicted in voting pattern, despite efforts to play on the faultlines. This time over Garam Chasma did try to come out of this faultline. New elected leadership should give them more awareness and confidence to come out of the fear syndrome to call a spade a spade. Unless these steps are not taken political adventurers motivated by personal interests would continue to exploit the unwary public. Chitralis expect their new leadership to focuss on issues of governance and corruption as without them development funds would take us nowhere and we would continue to move in the vicious cycle. While drawing priorities for allocation of funds community based educational and skill development institutions should get due attention. The previous policy of MMA in this behalf should be revisited. As actions speak louder than words, these steps would bridge the gap between the MMA and the local communities throughout Chitral. We have reasons to believe that MMA would not make distinctions between its voters and opponents in the distribution of state largesse. By appearing as representatives of all the Chitralies they can bring Chitral on a single platform i.e loyalty to Chitral. .. Islamuddin, Garm Chashma Chitral 27 Jul 2018