By Muhammad Amin (Garam Chashma)
Cheat to the maximum when you get the opportunity and be an awe-inspiring opportunist. (Niccolo Machiavelli)
In democracy state is regarded as merely a means for the attainment of certain ends. We may safely say that state should function essentially aiming at the welfare of its citizens. State exists for the sake of good life and not for the sake of life only. Individuals can’t perform all those activities which are essential for their own welfare. It is only the limitation imposed upon the individuals, that state in a democratic set up, is supposed to perform welfare activities for its citizens. Democratic set up should ensure all opportunities essentially basic for spiritual, material and intellectual developments of the individuals. John Lock, a renowned English political thinker, believes that as a result of social contract civil society first created and government followed it. The essential functions of government are ensuring happiness, prosperity and security of its individuals without internal and external dangers. He further says that government exists for the good of the people and can be removed when it violates the trust reposed to it. Public office holders are elected by the people with the sole purpose of meeting their needs and fulfilling their aspirations. In fact,this office is a trust and any dishonesty in this regard is a moral sin.
The soil of Chitral has produced many politicians who have played a leading role in the local, regional and even the national politics of the country. In the present times two politicians have been quite remarkable in the politics of Chitral. Shehzada Muhyuddin had been a prominent player both in the local, regional and even national politics of Pakistan. Being a scion of ex-ruling dynasty he filled the political lacunae for more than thirty years occupying various important public offices. On the other hand, Salim khan had to start from scratches. Ironically both these politicians launched their journey from different political arenas and nobody can deny the fact the former was solely responsible to introduce Salim Khan into politics when he had lost even the local body elections at the tehsil level.
As Salim Khan is still an active political player in the district, so we will endeavor to make a critical and unbiased analysis of his political achievements and future challenges. Salim Khan had initiated his political career from the platform of Pakistan Muslim League and joined PPP in the general elections of 2008, when he was given party ticket and since then he has become the solo of the party in the district. The deity of luck has always helped him in his career, despite many adversary situations.
As his first five years tenure of district assembly speakership was not so much meaningful as the rest of his ten years occupation of provincial ministerial portfolio and member provincial assembly etc. The people of Garam Chashma particularly and the rest of the district were immensely jubilant when he got the portfolio of provincial minister. The people of Lotkoh expected the torturous Garam Chashma to Chitral road will be renovated and expanded by him, as PPP had a government at the centre and was part of a coalition government at the province. However, unfortunately, with the passage of time all this hope went into dashes and the same road is still in the same damning conditions. It was also expected that he will establish a big MHP in the town of Garam Chashma to reduce burden on the cluster based electricity powerhouses which only meet the lighting needs of the people of the area. This again proved a dream in wilderness. This was a period when Chitral witnessed millions of funds and was given to numerous project leaders influenced by political affiliations and personal relationships. Major portions of the funds were mismanaged due to political interference, lack of accountability and proper monitoring mechanism. This in turn put huge pressure on the public exchequer with no sustainable results. The monitors themselves were dancing at the sweet will of the public representatives. However, establishment of numerous schools in the public sectors proved to be a good tiding for the people of his constituency.
As time progressed he assumed more political power. He manouvered to get himself as president PPP district Chitral and later became chairman DDAC (District Development Advisory Committee Chitral) with many perk and privilege. MPA Salim Khan enjoys a kingly lifestyle in the district. He has two policemen as his guards at his disposal and they stay at his Chitral residence when he is out of the district. Similarly two to three drivers, of various government departments are ready to serve him at any time. The privileges which he entertains are contradictory to the much austerity policy of PTI government in the province, ie. accountability and simplicity. The simple question is why these privileges are not enjoyed by other parliamentarians in the district: or their status is not parallel to the former or they do not believe in pomp and show and prestige is a thousand million questions?
Chitral witnessed dramatic changes in its political landscape. Ghulam Muhammad (twice elected MPA), Shehzada Tanvir ul Mulk (an ex-bureaucrat) and engineer Fazli Rabi joined PPP and apart
from Tanvir ul Mulk, the two have played a very dynamic role in the local politics of Chitral, serving different wings of Muslim League,JUI and Jamiat Islami. Enginneer Fazli Rabi was considered to be a dedicated and hard core member of JI Chitral and even a potential candidate in the near future elections.However,his sudden changing of party surprised many in the district.However,Ghulam Muhammad joining of PPP is not surprising and in the past he has changed many parties in line with the opportunities. In the last general elections Shehzada Aman u Rehman had given tough time to Salim Khan as an independent candidate .His joining of PTI will also pose tough challenge for the PPP as he has many supporters and friends in the area and his influenced in the area can’t be repudiated.
Another matter that will impact the forthcoming general elections of Chitral is the anticipated re-launching of MMA at the centre. The major politico- religious parties of Jamiat Islami (JI),Jamiat Ulama Islam (JUI) and Majlise Wahdat e Baynul Muslimmen (MWM) have already started serious negotiations in this regard and expecting formation of government in the KPK,GB and Balochistan. Such alliance, if formed ,will tremendously impact the political scenario of Chitral also and MMA may win all the PA and NA seats here.
As the general elections of 2018 are nearing, different political representatives and parties make huge claims of their past progress and achievements. In a recent meeting called in Garam Chashma by PPP, Salim Khan tried to take credit of the mega projects of Lawari tunnel, Golen Gole hydro power and Garam Chashma to Chitral road to himself, amounting to the proverbial` `grapes are sour` `Salim Khan ten year is mired in isolating diehard political workers from the party, paying blind eyes to corruption and promotion of nepotism in the district. Surprisingly, many of such isolated and alienated workers are now putting tough challenges to hims.Examples are, Idul Hussain of ANP, Israr of PTI, Sultan Mahmood of APML (Musharraf) and Amirullah (rtd subader) as an independents candidate for PK.89.Before Salim Khan entry these were considered to be dedicated and honest political workers of PPP in the district. However, they got themselves disillusioned, like many others, through his divide and rule policy. The future of Salim Khan in his home area (tehsil lotkoh, CENTRE of his power show) is very dim, but many local analysts predict that he will use the old cards of the slogan of Lotkoh solidarity/izzat, religion and financial means to attract the voters. Now it would be difficult to forecast whether the old tricks will counter the new dynamics in the politics of Lotkoh especially and Chitral generally in the forthcoming general elections.