Six hundred kilometers from the federal capital, a school teacher in Gilgit is feeling the anguish of the looming political crisis in Islamabad.
“I am disturbed over the impasse although I had no role in electing the prime minister,” Masroor Ahmed told The Express Tribune. “But still, my heart beats with those who voted the government into power.”
Gilgit-Baltistan is not represented in the parliament. The nearly 1.5 million residents of G-B are not allowed to vote in the general elections. It is also the least likely to be affected by any political upheavals.
Yet, the uncertainty created by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and Pakistan Awami Tehreek’s call to march to Islamabad on August 14 for ‘change’ and ‘revolution’ has captured every ones imagination, and fears.
It is not just politicians who are keeping a close watch on developments. Many others like Ahmed are anxious about what the country’s future holds, eagerly waiting to see if democracy is still as elusive as ever.
PTI chief Imran Khan and PAT chief Tahirul Qadri have both vowed to rid the nation of the ‘corrupt government’. And despite hectic efforts by the government to frustrate their efforts, none of the two seem to be in any mood to give the ruling party room to manoeuvre.
Politicians associated with mainstream parties in G-B are especially keen to know what will become of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).
At the PML-N Secretariat in Gilgit, party workers are flocking to regional chief Hafizur Rahman, discussing the likely outcome; starving for insight on the imminent turmoil.
“It is unfortunate, PTI has been hijacked by undemocratic forces,” said Rahman, asking Imran Khan to part ways with Tahirul Qadri, whose demands have been vague at best and provocative at worst. “But we are quite confident democracy will triumph,” said Rahman, not willing to dwell too much on the many ‘what ifs’.
The legislative assembly, too, thought it best to convene again when the situation simmers.
“The session is put off till [next] Monday in the hope that things in Islamabad will be settled by then,” G-B Assembly Speaker Wazir Baig told the house during the current session’s first day on August 11.
“PTI and PAT should not disrupt the situation. And if they do, they will be the next ones to face the music,” warned Raziuddin, a lawmaker from Pakistan Peoples Party.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 13th,2014.