Will Imran Khan win hearts (and votes) in Gilgit?

Does the IKF want to improve Gilgit's living conditions or is it merely trying to achieve its own political mileage?

Shabir Ahmed July 06, 2012
As chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), Imran Khan is busy trying to woo the masses for a ‘change’,  a small but highly committed team of professionals of the Imran Khan Foundation (IKF) is quietly paving the way for the ‘tsunami’ to head towards Gilgit-Baltistan.

Without giving top priority to the political agenda of the PTI, the team ventures into valleys to get a feel of the real issues that rural communities in Gilgit are confronted with. Based on first-hand information, the professionals have come to the conclusion that poverty is the biggest issue plaguing the region.

So this year, they distributed tonnes of quality wheat seed bags of the Sehar Variety among the marginalised communities - the yields of which are said to be several times higher than the normal varieties.

Under the IKF’s flagship programme, an initiative was started after the 2010 floods.

Satisfied with the outcome of the seeds, a veteran development expert spearheaded the IKF programme, describing the initiative as ‘seeds of hope’ that will bring about the much-needed change in Gilgit and the rest of the country. The yield has ostensibly turned around the financial conditions of many of the marginalised community members, who were otherwise living under abject poverty in the hilly areas.

Only time will tell whether the IKF really wants to improve the living conditions of the resource-strapped communities or it just wants to achieve political mileage under its garb in this far-flung region.

Whatever the intent and purpose, however, the initiative will pose a real challenge for the traditional parties in Gilgit, including the PPP and the PML-N.

The sectarian strife that has seriously jeopardised the political culture of this region will be yet another factor testing the mettle of the PTI and its leadership, which has failed to reach out to the people of this region. With the party still in disarray in the northern region of the country, it is yet to be seen if the social work initiated under the IKF will pay off or not as Imran Khan, who was once a frequent visitor of this area, never turned up in Gilgit after rising to political fame.

Read more by Shabbir here.
Shabir Ahmed A reporter for The Express Tribune.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


Abdul Muiz Iqbal | 10 years ago | Reply Imran Khan Pakistan Loves You!! You are an Inspiration for every Pakistani!
rizwan | 10 years ago | Reply well m surprised of the mentality of people of IKF from this post...we all know that such aid dramas have been made throughout the history, the very first thing is that these Pakistanis have never accepted us as Pakistanis that's why i hate these more than Jews...simply pick any interview or speech of this politician, he haven,t even bother to take name of GB and now when elections are at the doorstep, he suddenly realized that GBians are suffering from poverty..we people of GB actually are like an intended bone between 3 dogs India,pakistan & china, enjoying slavery for many generations.these people have never got any passive intentions for development of our region. Using peoples emotions for political games is not a new art, despite we people how much simple, we can understand everything..these people actually want to make us beggars by snatching our every resource...any one tell me how could these people want to help us.. every GBian must, belonging to any corner must know & realize that we have our own identity and we could,t hold more suspended for being a part of their "great game".. i love every inch of my GB and for me its a part of my faith. my young brothers that please try to know the situation that what our history was and what we have been made with an identity....sectarians.i would ask our people that when our great elders were fighting war of independence in 1948 with dogra, what would be their feelings for their upcoming generations.. we have suffered a lot by hands of these people in the form of sectarian violence, which is the only gift from these people...so we must realize the situation and boycott the elections or any type of political activity from these people. long live GB
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