John Quincy Adams, an ex-president of the united states, once said, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, YOU ARE A LEADER”. It is often said that our nation lacks leadership especially the area of Azad Jammu & Kashmir. Recently, we observed and witnessed an event which contradicts this hypothesis. We often wonder if people are born with leadership qualities or are leaders a consequence of circumstances?
On april 20th, the Jammu Kashmir students organization (J.K.S.O) held it’s elections. J.K.S.O is the representative party of the Kashmiri students in the International Islamic University Islamabad. The organization chooses it’s leadership democratically by a system of proportionate voting i.e panels not individuals contest the election. The two contestant panels this year were, the incumbent Rising Kashmir Panel lead by Sardar Hammad Altaf and the underdog United Students Panel lead by Sufyan Aftab Raja. Not dramatic enough for you? wait and see.
This, as trivial as it sounds, was a very important event in a larger context. The rising kashmir panel was the incumbent panel which had a winning streak of three terms, they had two ex presidents of JKSO in their team and their leader Hammad was a bearer of great abilities while the united students panel was a new panel created out of thin air by an apparently inexperienced leader ,Sufyan, who before the elections was unknown to the masses. We often hear that leaders are the creation of circumstances, this is exactly that case.The united students panel was certainly the underdog and honestly even I had my money on the rising panel but as they say looks are often decieving and all that glitters is not gold. The united panel rose like tide and engulfed the whole university. Their leader wasn’t as inexperienced as we expected. He lead from the front and spoke like a visionary. He created an aura of hope and gave the students a vision to believe in. Every where in the International Islamic University there was talk of this new guy with his panel. For the first time the incumbent, rising kashmir panel, was rattled and perplexed. Now the situation was different, the underdog rose to occasion and we witnessed the gladiator match of the decade. The rising panel with it’s experienced leadership used conventionality and strengthened old alliances while the United panel made the students believed in the vision of change. For two months the university was spellbound by this politics. It was exactly like the general elections of 2013, PML(N) vs PTI.
Finally the day came, april 20th. Both candidates were present at the voting area with their teams. Both teams participated with full force and gave the elections every ounce of energy they had through the day. At 5 in the evening, the polling stopped and the vote counting started. Tick tock tick tock, the suspense was dramatic. Felt as if time had stopped and both the candidates were stressed out. The curtain call was made at 7 pm sharp. The result was also like the general election of 2013, the Rising Kashmir Panel won by a little margine. The turnout was massive, the biggest in the history of the organization and we have to admit the credit goes to the visionary leader of the united panel who sparked a fire not only on his side but forced the other side to work harder. Both the candidates congratulated each other for their efforts. The winner spoke beautifully and promised to lead the organization responsibly but what made this special was the runner up. Everyone expected him to oppose the winner after his defeat. Dead silence fell when he spoke, and people were spellbound by his words, he was the embodiment of grace, dignity and sportsmanship . Even his opponents were impressed by his conduct.
Getting back what I said earlier, we can not say that the region of Kashmir lacks leadership and we did not get our answer to whether leaders are born or created out of circumstances but on that day we saw the stuff leaders are made of.
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