For many, the success of Barkat Jamil in the recent Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) polls came as a surprise. It was his maiden appearance in a general election and he took no time to prove his mettle.
At 30, Jamil is the youngest male parliamentarian in the 33-member Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly which was voted in on June 8 elections. He defeated heavy weights, against all predications. Together Jamil and Farman were able to win both seats from Astore for Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz. The party emerged as the single largest force with 22 members in the assembly.
From Astore Valley, Jamil started his political career a decade ago with PML-N as a student leader. With time, he was able to cement his place in the party through his commitment to the party and its leadership.
When the PML-N regional head—now the chief minister—Hafeezur Rahman awarded the ticket to Jamil, the decision was opposed by many, even party stalwarts. For according to many, Jamil did not deserve a party ticket, and had no chance of winning. But all those apprehensions proved wrong.
“The decision to award the party ticket to me was based on merit,” Jamil told The Express Tribune on Thursday. “The people of my hometown Gorikote had unanimously recommended my name to the party chief.”
He added, “And now it’s my turn to give back to the people and the leadership for choosing me. I owe my success to my leader, voters, friends and family.” Not one to forget the leadership, Jamil said, “I’m thankful to Nawaz Sharif and Hafeezur Rahman for trusting my abilities.”
Working for a win
The young parliamentarian comes from a family where people had to work for a living. His father is a government servant and there is no notion of having life handed on a silver platter in Jamil’s approach.
When the election campaign started, Jamil went door to door in his constituency, asking people to vote for change. The tall handsome man made an impression during his campaign and turned the tables on his opponents who tended to underestimate him.
“Being a native of the valley, I had an idea about what the pre and post-election needs of the people were. So I focused on those.”
Jamil wanted to deliver results in line with his leadership’s vision. “Unemployment, lack of health facilities and power outages are some of the core problems we need to address urgently.”
The parliamentarian was impressed with leadership qualities of Rahman, who, Jamil said, helped shape his politics. “He is my role model. The way he speaks, understands issues and takes action inspired me – I want to be like him.”
Published in The Express Tribune, July 3rd, 2015.