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Garam Chashma Diary

A tale of two public meetings

During the past week ending today Garam Chashma saw hectic political activity. Two public meetings were held, each by PPP and PML. The visit of Provincial Sports Minister was a low key affair because the local party cadre was unable to mobilize the people to receive the Minister. However, the visit of Federal Communication Minister created some impact not because the party was able to mobilize the people for his public meeting but because the Minister delivered forceful speech which was followed by an equally good speech by the Provincial Minister for Population Welfare. The Federal Minister announced willingness of his Ministry to takeover Chitral Garam Chashma road by NHA provided the provincial government has no objection. This announcement was received with loud applause. The Minister also informed the enthusiastic crowd that work on Chitral Tajikstan road via Dorah Pass would soon start and on completion this road would open new vistas of development in the region. The Minister spoke in some length about the conspiracies being hatched against the elected government, which he hoped would not succeed. The Provincial Minister gave a run down on his efforts to bring development funds to Chitral and to write off loans, a feat for which both the MNA and the MPAs claim credit.

Two days later the MNA, Shahzada Mohyeddin addressed a well attended public meeting at the same venue. Despite some indiscipline among workers the meeting went well. The MNA was able to create impact as a senior politician who was unfairly being targeted by opponents, whom he always wished well, despite political differences. After the public meeting he inaugurated the new bridge at Nasirabad and met the community leaders. He appreciated steps of Ismaili Council to promote inter faith harmony and austerity drive.
The common features of both the public meetings was the monopolistic attitude of party workers, who were poisoning the minds of their elected representatives against each other fearing lest they divided state largesse among them which they considered their own monopoly. This is a dangerous trend which must be resisted. Mercifully, both the MNA and MPAs understand it but they must come out forcefully to establish the principle that state largesse is not to be distributed on political lines, rather these should be distributed on merit. Even democratically speaking a good politician should cultivate a non voter and his eyes should be on the next election and not on the previous election. Secondly the elected representatives should draw a fine line between their individual political interests and the larger interests of Chitral, on which there must be no politics. In this information age it does not behove an intelligent person to claim credit for any good work because it is already in public knowledge or would come into public knowledge in due course of time. So this culture of instant heroics must come to an end. Ideally speaking one should allow ones work to speak for itself and leave it to history to judge.

Chitralis are cultured people and they take genuine pride in their culture which demands respect for age, tolerance, scholarship and authority. These values were undermined during the dark era of General Zia along with other lofty values. Unfortunately the remnants of that era are still trying to demolish these values. The political dialogue introduced by ethnic and sectarian elements created serious dent in our cultural fabric which needs to be reversed. We expect our elder politicians not to resort to mud slinging against each other. By respecting each other we would be respecting Chitral. Those who have served Chitral in the past deserve our respect. They may have made mistakes but we must correct them instead of bringing them into public ridicule.

Let us come out of personality driven mindset and start issue driven politics. Shahzada Mohyeddin ruled our political scene for four decades and is a pivot around whom our political edifice still revolves. During this period he may have made mistakes but still people voted for him. Should this not mean that in public estimation his pluses out weighed his minuses? By ridiculing him are we not ridiculing peoples sense of fairness? He has played his innings. Let us recall and evaluate what he did well and let us correct his mistakes. Let our politicians especially Maulana Chitrali come out of his phobia and call it a day and instead devote his energies to correct the legacy that he feels need correction and for which he has enough stamina. Every budding politician has to learn from his peers and Shahzada Mohyeddin offers a lot to be learnt both in success and failure. Let us give the devil his due, as the saying goes and leave the rest to history to judge. --(by Islamuddin, 17 July 10)


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