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Mastuj people dead set against tested candidates, political parties

MASTUJ (CHITRAL), April 26: For the first time in the recent history, people of Mastuj, Laspur and Yarkhun valleys seem to be united against discriminatory treatment they have been facing at the hands of successive governments as well as their own elected representatives. A random survey carried out by ChitralToday ( in the area showed that this time majority of people are going to vote not on the basis of party affiliation but keeping in view the interests of the area. Some of the residents told this correspondent that on April 10, 2013, there was a meeting of local elders in Mastuj where Shahzada Sikendar was asked why he had decided to contest the election as an independent candidate. In reply, he said that during the previous government, Shahzada Mohiuddin’s son spent all the development funds amounting to Rs100 million in lower Chitral to pave way for his election from PK-89. He said no penny was spent on the development of Mastuj. Besides, he was denied ticket from the APML and as a result, he said, he decided to run for the seat of upper Chitral as an independent candidate. In the meantime, a Jirga will soon be held in Mastuj to decide whom to vote for the National Assembly seat. Pervez Musharraf: Most of the people here said the day former President Pervez Musharraf landed in Karachi with the plan to contest elections from Chitral they had forgotten party affiliations and decided to vote for him. However, they added, the rejection of Musharraf’s papers and his arrest changed the scene altogether. Musharraf had launched the abandoned Lowari tunnel project for the best interest of Chitral. But for Mastuj, he did more than that. Look at the RCC bridge in Mastuj, Shandur road and sanctioning of a project to black-top the Booni-Mastuj road. The wireless loop telephones were also launched during the Musharraf era, they added. Besides, Musharraf came to Shandur every year and announced development projects for Chitral. Even during one of the Shandur festivals when Musharraf announced projects for Chitral, people from Giglit-Baltistan shouted “You are giving too much to Chitralis,” said some residents here. But when asked if they would vote for the candidates of Musharraf’s All Pakistan Muslim League (APML), most of the residents answered in the negative. The people here said that political parties had always nominated candidates from other areas like Booni, Torkhow and Morkhow who after reaching the assemblies did nothing for the area. They said in the recent past people belonging to Torkhow, Molkhow and lower Chitral elected on the votes of Mastuj did never bother even to visit the area north of Tau bridge. In the 2013 elections too, no political party has nominated anyone from this area. The main candidates for the provincial assembly seat of PK-90 are: Sardar Hussain (PPP from Booni), Shah Wazir (ANP-Booni), Rehmat Ghazi (PTI, Charun village), Maulana Ghulam Muhammad (JI Chumorkhon in lower Chitral), Haji Ghulam Muhammad (APML, Booni), Maulana Hussain Ahmed (JUI-Torkhow) and Sayed Ahmad Khan of PML-N (Torkhow). Most of the prominent people of Mastuj who had been in the forefront in electioneering for major political parties in the past have now decided to support Shahzada Sikendar ul-Mulk, an independent candidate for the provincial assembly seat of PK-90. In the past Amirullah Khan Yaftali of Laspur had backed Maulana Jehangir against the PML. In Mastuj, Haji Hayat Khan was a strong supporter of Shahzada Mohiuddin and Ghulam Mohammad but now both these two men are canvassing for Shahzada Sikendar. Not only these, there are Zafar Ahmed Laal, Emaduddin, Sardar Jan, Qazi Jamaluddin of the JUI, who was an aspirant for the JUI ticket, who are also supporting Shahzada Sikendar. Besides, Sardar Ahmed Siddiqui of the Jamaat-e-Islami and Mr Liaquat of Sor-Laspur (PPP) have also joined hands with Sikendar. The main reason behind all these people’s switching loyalties is that someone from Mastuj area should have been nominated by the political parties for the provincial assembly seat. They said Shahzada Sikendar at least deserved the ticket of the APML but it was given to Ghulam Mohammad. ChitralToday talked to different people on their views about different political parties and the forthcoming elections. Sharif Nizar: This man says that all people in the area were the voters of Musharraf till his papers were rejected and he was detained in Islamabad. Now voting for his APML candidates is a futile exercise because they have already been tested and they have failed to deliver. He said now he would vote for independent candidate Shahzada Sikendar because he belongs to his area. He also said ideological voters of different political parties would still vote for their parties. He also said the PPP government did lots of good work for its employees but ignored the common people. He said the PPP had lost public sympathy and its leadership was corrupt. mulkAli Nawaz: This man seemed to be a diehard supporter of the PPP and said workers would vote for the party of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. However, he hastened to add that had Musharraf contested the election he would have cast vote for him. Ali Nizar: “After the disqualification of Musharraf, political scene in our area has changed. Now the APML will not get votes. Had Musharraf’s party nominated new people we would have voted for them.” He also said Imran Khan’s party was new that is why it would get votes. Wazir Khan: This man said those now contesting the elections from the APML did nothing for our area when they were in power. He said Shahzada Sikendar would win with a big majority. He said among the political leaders Abdul Akbar of JI was the only man who did lots of work for the area. He said Abdul Akbar did hard work to persuade Musharraf to initiate work on the Lowari tunnel. Abdul Akbar also constructed new schools and roads, he added. He also said that there were quite a large number of PTI supporters in the area but most of them were aged below 18 years and had no voting right. He said the candidates of the PTI in the area were not good. Despite its claims that tickets would be given to the youth PTI nominated a former bureaucrat for PK-90. Sher Ahmed: People here love Musharraf but they do not trust the candidates of his party. He said most of the locals would vote for Sikendar. Hassan Gul: Hassan Gul is the president of PPP Chinar village. He said at the moment the situation was not clear and after a few days it would be clear who is leading. He said people would vote keeping in view the personality and services of the candidates. Ejaz Ali Shah: This man said Musharraf did a lot for the people of area. The former president built the Lowari tunnel, Mastuj bridge, Shandur road and launched many other projects. But to vote for Ghulam Mohammad is useless. There are 10 union councils in upper Chitral which makes the provincial assembly constituency. The population of upper Chitral, according to 1998 census, was 133,815 – 66,583 males and 67,232 females. The 10 union councils and the number of voters in each UC are: Oveer (8,652), Kosht (8,594) Mol Khow (8,674), Terich (7,351) Shagram (8,558), Khot (9,305), Charun (10,605), Laspur (9,272), Mastuj (9,284) and Yarkhun (8,570).]]>

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  1. Mohammad Khan, Peshawar says

    Suppose Sikendar wins as an independent candidate, can he be able to do anything worth an MPA. He would have to join the ruling party and fall back on the MNA of Chitral for getting funds. Though the unity of the Mastuj people is good and their complaints are also genuine, I think we must strengthen political parties because they will never divide us on ethnic basis.The Chitrali society is polarized and fragmented on sectarian and ethnic lines and we should not forget the slogans of Piala Party in 2008 elections. Parties having even an iota of religious and ethnic prejudices or trying to cash in on these factors should be rejected. People of Chitral have been divided on these lines only because some people wanted to take advantage of these issues otherwise we all speak Khowar language and should live in peace like brothers and sisters. Secondly, religion/sect, ethnicity and regional prejudices should not have any role in politics.

  2. Abid Ali Rawalpindi says

    I have heard that his relatives, the sons of Mohiuddin didn’t give him ticket of the APML for the upper Chitral seat of PK-90. So he is battling as an Azad (independent) candidate. Why the sons of Mohiuddin did not want him to contest the election with them was because Haji Ghulam Mohammad is like goose that lays golden eggs and has become very rich because of rampant corruption not only as an MPA but also as a government contractor. So why would they select Sikendar for the upper Chitral seat?

  3. Atiq Ahmad, Hyderabad says

    Ahmad, really he is very good in Chitrali dance rather being a good politician or a sympathizer of the people of upper Chitral. We never saw him among the people during his tehsil nazimship. For about a year or so he has been shouting for gaining public interest. I feel petty for you that you have nothing to deliver except Yarkhun-Boroghil Road. If you are so sincere with the general public of upper Chitral especially for the public of Yarkhun and Laspur valleys why you didn’t mince any word about the embezzlement under your nose. I mean the bridge of Mastuj which shows the ugly face of corruption. So don’t make fool of the local people.

  4. Abdullah Shah says

    Dear Chitrali brothers and sisters, in this world everything has been created with a purpose. Each and every creature of the Almighty has their own role and job and they all are destined to do their work. I am over 50 years of age now and have spent half of my life out of my beloved country. In my childhood I used to ask my father why a cow could not be used as a Meir for threshing and why a donkey is always preferred for the job. Every time I was told that each animal is good in a particular job. A donkey cannot be used for ploughing, a cow can never be good to carry a big load and a cat has never been used for hunting and so on and so forth. I request you that please forget your prejudices towards people and elect your representatives based on their quality and ability to lead you. Democracy is a very bad form of governance, in democracy people’s number is counted not their quality. If you want to be different from other people you should vote for honest, sincere and capable people. God bless Chitral and give its people sense to elect their representatives without prejudice.

  5. Hassan Ali Shah, Islamabad says

    Dear Chitralis, this is a golden chance to choose good leaders, don’t go behind failed leadrship whom you voted in the past.

  6. Sajjad Haider says

    In the polarized politics of Chitral, like most of the constituencies in Pakistan, where there remains very less affiliation of voters with their political ideology, the trend of independent candidacy for the forthcoming elections has enormously increased. Besides voters’ shattered faith in their political beliefs, the absence of organized political activities by most of the parties at grass-root levels is to be blamed for this apathy. After elections are held, the political office holders remain out of sight till party tickets are procured by them for the next elections. Resultantly, contact of individual members of a political party ruptures not only with the political personalities, but also with the political party itself. This weak organization of political parties in Chitral, and resultant division of voters on other grounds than party affiliation, has encouraged independent candidates to run in the elections. Shehzada Sikendarul Mulk is one of such candidates in KP-90 Chitral-II, who has all the right to contest election like anyone else of the 13 others. It is perhaps not true to suggest that he has just a few friends as have been counted by a worthy commenter, I consider him as one of the strong candidates for a few obvious reasons: a). There is the likelihood that he will fetch quite impressive votes from the three Union Councils of Mastuj, Laspur and Yarkhoon, b) He also has strong relationship in other areas of the sub-division Mastuj thus the capacity to obtain quite reasonable number of votes.
    Despite the gloomy sides of the election story, it is heartening to note that this time the contestants for PK-90, including Syed Ahmed Khan, Hussain Ahmad, Syed Sardar Hussain, Ghulam Muhammad, Rahmat Ghazi Khan, and Sikandurul Mulk are presentable individuals, with the potential to represent the constituency effectively. Having quite equal winning chances it is now anybody’s game. I wish all of them the best. We hope that the winner will serve the constituency in public interest, rather than serving the kith and kin only.
    Sajjad Haider, Islamabad

  7. Ahmad, Islamabad says

    Prince Sikander Ul-Mulk’s ‘acting skills’ might impress some people in his hometown Mastuj where some of his friends like Shah Nadir, the Manager of National Bank Mastuj Brach, Sirajuddin Ustad and Abdur Rehman of Muzhodur along with some Wokhi people settled on the premises of his grand castle are believed to be his only and ruthless supporters.
    A handful of pro-princes from the hilltop of Pasum will also play a role in mustering some support for their beloved leader but in the rest of the areas a humiliating defeat awaits him. So slow down a bit my dear prince as politics is not like a polo game.
    Despite no chance of his victory, the inexperienced but overconfident prince is still upbeat that he would manage to win the hearts and minds of people as an independent candidate in the upcoming general elections.
    He did not even bother to utter a single word for the plight of poor Yarkhuniks during his stint as tehsil nazim during Musharraf regime. And now his emergency press conference along with some opportunists, flanked by a modern Yarkhunik, allegedly involved in embezzlement of funds collected by different NGOs in the name of Yarkhun, is like playing with the sentiments of poor Wakhik, stuck in a 20ft deep snow throughout the year.
    The prince is well aware that he has 0/0 contribution to the development of the area, but even then he has jumped into the fray declaring himself as the only savior of subdivision Mastuj.

    1. Imtiaz Ahmad says

      No doubt Ahmad bro we made Shahzada Sikandar Tehsil Nazim but he did nothing for Mastuj. He has no time to visit his constituency. He uses to to go where there is a DOOL party. He also destroyed the polo association and created bias between the players.

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