District Ghanche and Promises of PML-N Leadership
By: Irfan Chourbati
The last general election in Gilgit Baltistan held in October 2009, in which Pakistan People’s Party emerged as a winning crew to run the affairs of the region. But in the constituency of Ghanche Halqa two people gave their mandate in favor of PML-N in the form of late Mufti Abdullah. The people’s representative could not work properly due to his bad health conditions and soon passed away in 2013. Soon after the death of Mufti Abdullah the GB Government hold bye elections in the two vacated constituencies of Baltistan region in September 2013; one in Skardu District and another in Ghanche District. People once again in the Ghanche favored the PML-N and after a tough competition the DistrictPresident of PML-N Sultan Ali Khan was elected as the new MLA. During the election campaign the Federal and Provincial leaderships made several promises for the District; one among the many promises was the ten million rupees special package for the development of the underprivileged region of Ghanche District. This special package was announced by the Muslim League Chief Coordinator for Gilgit Baltistan Mr. Hafiz Hafeez-ur-Rehman on his visit to the District Capital Khaplu City a few days before the elections. Apart from that Mr. Hafeez promised to fulfill several other demands of the people too.
The Muslim League representative Sultan Ali Khan represented the region in the legislative assembly for almost one and half years and the tenure of GBLA came to an end but Mr. Hafiz Hafeez-ur-Rehman’s promises remained unfulfilled and the promises of the party leadership proved a lip service for the poor people of the remote district. If we look into the matters of public service departments to facilitate the people of the District, we will find that all the two major public service departments of health and education are in deplorable conditions.
The District Headquarter Hospital (the largest one in Ghanche District) lacks important health facilities, one can imagine from the absence of lady doctor in the District’s largest hospital. Sensitive female medical issues like labor are either dealt by an under matric Lady Health Worker or the patients have to travel to Skardu District for more than five-six hours which surely means death of the patients on their way to hospital in Skardu District. While the two other hospitals of the Dsitrict in Siksa Chourbat and ThagasMashabrumare also in worst conditions due to lack of necessary health facilities and medical staff.
The education sector is also in terrible condition and majority of the students are compelled to migrate to other districts of GB and different cities of Pakistan in search of primary and secondary education. The District education department looks paralyzed because it hasn’t provided the required faculty by the provincial government and dozens of appointed teachers have already transferred to other districts of GB in search of better facilities and the concern of these teachers with District Education Department is nothing more than their monthly salary. The locals complained for these illegal transfers to the District Education Department but they remained helpless due to the bureaucratic and political hands behind these transfers.
Now the people of the region have started raising questions on the credibility of the PML-N leadership for their lack of interest in the development of the region. The PML-N federal and provincial leaderships who are now planning to make their government in Gilgit-Baltistan should not forget the famous phrase that “All politics is local” can be true in the case of Ghanche District that if the representative of PML-N has proven failed to solve the problems of the region then the people will think for an alternativerepresentative to raise their voice in the legislature and PML-N can face difficulties in the 2015 general elections in district Ghanche. The ray of hope for the people of the district now is the new caretaker Chief Minister Mr. Meer Shah Jahan who can solve the administrative issues of Health and Education Departments on emergency basis by assuring the presence of teachers and medical staff in the institutions.
About the author
Irfan Chourbati is a graduate of International Islamic University Islamabad in Politics & International Relations.