Sardar Tanveer Ilyas Khan, a business tycoon with no significant political base is a favourite candidate of the Pakistani establishment.
Rawalakot / IoK News / ( 27 February):
Prime Minister Imran Khan’s ruling party is preparing to launch its front runner in the forthcoming Azad Kashmir elections. Sardar Tanveer Ilyas Khan, a business tycoon with no significant political or social background and having a small backing from the workers of his own party Pakistan Tehreek e Insaf, is all set to condemn India over atrocities in Jammu and Kashmir in a well-scripted speech that he will deliver in Rawalakot Jalsa on Saturday (today).
Although, the helm of affairs of the party has been in the hands of a seasoned politician Barrister Sultan Mehmood, who is also the president of PTI in Azad Kashmir, Sardar Tanveer, a newcomer in AJK politics is known to be a favorite personality of the Pakistani establishment.
In recent weeks, he has been projected as the most suitable candidate for the slot of prime minister of Azad Jammu and Kashmir.He will be addressing a hastily arranged political gathering to mark a surprise defence day called as Difa e Watan ( defence of country) in Rawalakot, 120 kms from Islamabad on Saturday 27 February.
Local newspapers, social media, and paid promotions are extensively being utilized in a literally surprise celebration to present him as a potential winner in the forthcoming AJK legislative assembly elections which will be held next month.
The venue for his jalsa (gathering) has been carefully selected to address multiple issues such as giving him a go-ahead to launch his own brand of politics in Azad Kashmir and showing allegiance to defenders of Pakistan.
He has openly criticized the policies of almost all the mainstream parties and politicians in Azad Kashmir. He is currently appointed as Chairman Punjab Board of Investment & Trade and Special Assistant to CM Punjab.
Rawalakot is amongst one of those districts of Azad Kashmir where politics is highly polarised and fragmented. However, the winners from this region in past elections have been representing both local and imported parties.
Politics are dominated in both AJK and GB by local branches of the main Pakistani parties including Pakistan Peoples Party, Muslim League (Nawaz) and Pakistan Tehereek e Insaf.
Some local parties, such as Muslim Conference are closely allied with the Pakistani establishment. Small nationalist parties that are opposed to the idea of the accession of Azad Kashmir to Pakistan are either marginalized or barred outright from the political process.
The region has multiple issues of unemployment, food security, underdeveloped industries, power and fuel shortage etc. The condition of infrastructure in Azad Kashmir is pathetic and needs urgent restructuring.
A resident named Sajid Hussain wrote on Sardar Tanveer’s social media that Kamrota to Chaprian Poth road of his village has not been built in the last forty years. This is the same area where Sardar Tanveer Ilyas Khan has pinned his political hopes.
The disgruntled voter reminds the would-be prime minister “when we ruthlessly criticize Pakistan, some of our ignorant people do not like this.
However, this is a fact that today, in the 21st century, we do not have a single road, the rest of the basic needs and basic rights are a long way off. If this road has not been built yet, then who is responsible for it? Pakistan or India.”
He further asks an interesting question “and how can this problem be solved?” He and other voters of the district know that Sardar Tanveer Ilyas has got no idea how to deliver on these issues. Yet, he knows very well what to say to a made-up audience in a much-trumpeted rally.
Freedom House, one of the oldest American organizations devoted to supporting democracy around the world, indicated recently that Pakistan administered Kashmir is not free.
The latest figures compiled by this organization suggested that AJK scored 28 cumulative points out of 100 as the civil liberties scored 19 out of 60 and the situation of political freedom was even worse scoring 9 out of 40.
Freedom in the World report, assesses the level of political rights and civil liberties in a given geographical area, regardless of whether they are affected by the state, non-state actors, or foreign powers.