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

Published: July 6, 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.


Shabbir Ahmed Mir

A reporter for The Express Tribune.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Usman

    Good pieceRecommend

  • Awans

    Such a shame that my father who is a PPP Jiala is contributing in IKF Foundation as well and infact what my father dont know that actually his money is being used for Political purposes by PTI. Mr Imran Khan IKF according to my info is non-Political foundation and what a sorry state of affairs that Our money is now shown to us and we are being told that yes your money is being used for Petty political purposes for PTI. Hundreds of IKF non-Political donors will be greatly disappointed by this move of Imran Khan. If tommorow Edhi will start using Public money for Political Mileage then tell me what will be the situation and same is the case here with IKF.Recommend

  • Sami

    That person said in the start of the interview that no one helped them except Imran Khan and PTI members failed to told our Gilgati brothers that indeed we helped you and people from Europe of Pakistani Origin generously helped and we are mostly from Karachi and from Punjab and next time we will never trust any politician and will try to give money directly to affectees so that no Politician could undermine our efforts and no person could say that people of Pakistan are selfish except imran khan.Recommend

  • Amina

    Whenever Imran does come to GB he will be welcomed warmly and will see the anxiously waiting Tsunami ready to explode….
    PTI needs to organize, mobilize and reach out in Gilgit Baltistan before anything else.Recommend

  • Yasir Mehmood

    Imran khan boycoted the Gilgit election!. What you are now talking about?Recommend

  • amin

    stupid to say he is doing this votes. he is not even concentrating on the north pakistan. If he was after votes he would have had this seed or some other program in sindh instead. Please think 100 times before posting articles about welfare organisations because if your wrong people wont fund i anymore because of your lie. Recommend

  • fasmik

    Whats wrong with campaigning for votes. Every one has the right to contest all over Pakistan. At least PTI is not one of those Hypocrites & perverts like pml and ppp who would display instant photo shoots of what ever bluff is in the making.
    IK has done a lot for this nation and He must stand up for votes in every corner of the country to deliver more to this nation purely out of this vision and sincerity.
    We must support IK and PTI. Recommend

  • Umar

    The bags of seeds are not embossed with IKR Foundation logos but instead a huge photograph of Imran Khan on one side and PTI Flag on other saying vote for change…..When it comes to Imran Khan and Charity he was the most trusted person with the likes of Edhi and King Agha Khan but sadly, now that Imran Khan has taken the full role of a politician. The foundations he run are now mixing there interests with his. Now when Imran Khan goes abroad he goes to gather deonations for charity and PTI. People still trust him and donate but now funds that would have gone to the charities is being diverged to politics as well due to Imran Khan being a logo, franchise. Unfortunately, our country is always involved in political gimmicks whether it’s the government or the opposition.Recommend

  • http://www.facebook.com/groups/jaagpakistanijaag Ali Taj

    What is Imran’s view on people taken out of buses and killed after checking their ID cards and backs?Recommend

  • Zoaib

    Well, I think the biggest evidence of the fact that IKF is NOT doing this for political gains comes from the fact that you’ve had to write an article in ET to highlight this work. Otherwise, politicians doing even a fraction of this work would have made sure to highlight this in every possible way using all sorts of media campaigns. Secondly, Gilgit is not even being targeted by PTI politically, so what’s the use of investing such a lot on these areas.

    About some childish comments above, all I can say is that people should be happy that the money is being used in the right places and helping communities get back on their feet. If they don’t like people thanking IK for the same (after all he was rallying point of the campaign who set up the organization and team), then please don’t bother to donate next time. But if you do, then stop complaining about not getting credit for it.Recommend

  • JS

    The central thesis of this article in incorrect because if IK’s charity related work was strictly being used to funnel votes for PTI, then he would have become a politician before he made SKMT. Recommend

  • MAD

    i have doubts about this as the charities that he runs are kept quite seperate from PTI as a rule. IK has to be the face of the three charituies casue he attracts donations. IKF has done a lot of good work and the same is never highlighted by the media and neither does the party want that too happen. lets not mix the good work being done for the people fo gilgit-balotistan and other parts of Pakistan with politics. if people are benefitting than kudos to IKF.Recommend

  • Hassan

    @Awans: Please ask your father to stop donating to IKF. We don’t need money from people who make a contribution and then start using that to spread negative and false propaganda against IK. I am regular supporter IK. I am paid member of PTI and I also donate to IKF. I have absolutely no doubt over Imran’s integrity. I don’t care where he uses my money as long as he does not use it for his personal benefit. And I can gaurantee that that IK has got more than enough his own money for his personal use. He is not greedy like others. SO I will continue to support IK every way possible. Recommend

  • http://NewYork Falcon

    People are missing the point here. First thing first, get over this anti-political attitude. Our problem as a society is that on one hand, we want to be a democracy while on the other end, it is considered taboo to talk about politics even though it affects every breathing moment of our lives. Secondly, it is a known fact that IK does not mix funds between different charities / foundations he runs. Lastly, isn’t it strange that the same person when collecting funds from SKMH is perceived as an angel, while when the same person when collecting funds for politics is considered an evil? either we are too wise or too confused (most likely case). Recommend

  • Mohyuddin Hassan Khan

    **@ All Above: I am surprised that all u educated people ( I hope so!!) r commenting on the work of IKF in Gilgit- Baltistan in a way which displays ur knowledge about things happening in Pakistan….. PTI is the political party & IKF is a welfare org!! If with all ur education u guys can’t differentiate between the two then wht ever is happening in Pakistan then U deserve it. I can’t imagine change from people like U who r mentally bankrupt & can’t see wht is wht???? The only hope in Pakistan is IMRAN KHAN & if u all with ur limited knowledge & Intelligence do not stand up for PAKISTAN then don’t have the right to ask for better living conditions in Pakistan…..Recommend

  • Umair Khan

    to all those who says Imran Khan used this for his own party. But what is the manifesto of his party? isnt it the welfare of people of Pakistan? Do we not know that Imran Khan was wealthy enough to spent his entire life in luxury? Isnt it that he is waging war for our benefits and not his own?

    If the very name of foundation has Imran Khan in it then whats wrong if his picture is there? If he is politican too how come he will not get benefit of what he has done in form of votes too?

    We should have problem with it if he had used this for his party jalsas instead the very money is being spent on the welfare of people who were effected and if that sincerity is translating into votes too which is understandable, then whats the problems?

    To those who says IK has done bad, then sure go ahead and vote for Nawaz or Zardari and that is what you people deserve. That is why i always says, i trust imran khan but not some of the public who dont care whether a corrupt is ruler or not and then can vote for such corrupt persona gain too without guilt without care. Recommend

  • Ali Umair khan

    people of this country have given donations knowing IK is a politician , but i think he made the mistake and he must not give poor the things they mostly needed , and just follow zardari-nawaz path.Recommend

  • Waqar Hasan

    There’s not an iota of truth in the notion that IKF or SKMCH and RC are being used to propagate PTI.Both entities are functioning solely for charitable purposes.Several multi-million dollar projects of IKF and SKMCH and RC are being audited by the finest accountancy and audit firms and the stringent control procedures are in place to prevent any embezzlement of donations.It’s inappropriate to deduce any connivance between PTI and Imran Khan’s charitable organisations to further the former’s political motives simply because the writer here is insinuating it to be a strong possibility.One can agree or disagree with IK or PTI but no one can question the transparency of these two fine charitable institutions.Imran’s political rivals can try to scandalize his philanthropic activities when they were extolling him for the same before he entered politics.I think Imran has to seriously mull taking those to court for slander who are trying to sully entities over which Pakistanis have complete confidence.Recommend

  • http://sknawaz.wordpress.com/ Syed Kashif Nawaz

    No doubt Imran Khan & his team is struggling to win the hearts & the seats, but how would they defend the unholy alliance with sectarian & banned militant cum terrorist outfits? How would they satisfy the victims of sectarian terrorism in those areas? Recommend

  • rizwan

    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 GBRecommend

  • Abdul Muiz Iqbal

    Imran Khan Pakistan Loves You!! You are an Inspiration for every Pakistani!Recommend