Weekly Bang-e-Sahar Saturday, April 26—-May 2, 2008
By Our Correspondent
GILGIT: Welcoming restoration of democracy in Pakistan after a long period of dictatorship, Balawaristan National Front leader and Gilgit-Baltistan Democratic Alliance general secretary Burhanullah has said the deprived people in the country have high expectations from the new government.
He said the people of Gilgit-Baltistan who have been deprived of their basic rights for the last over six decades also expect that the new setup would bring about real changes in the area and announce a constitutional package fulfilling the aspirations of the public. He said people of the area were fed up with the so-called packages the successive governments introduced only to hoodwink the people and achieve their own vested interests.
He referred to the recent announcement of Federal Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Northern Areas QamaruzZaman Kaira asking the army monitoring teams to wind up within 90 days and said the minister should have also announced immediate withdrawal of army officers from civilian organizations of Gilgit-Baltistan. Besides, he added, politically-motivated cases are being withdrawn in all parts of the country but a large number of people in Gilgit-Baltistan still face fabricated cases which also need to be abolished. He asked the federal government to withdraw cases registered against political leaders, workers and activists in Gilgit-Baltistan and ensure freedom of expression in the area.
He said the people of the region did not need constitutional packages but a powerful and independent assembly, so that they could decide their future themselves.
Expressing his reservation over the construction of Diamer-Basha Dam in the region, he said as the reservoir was being built in Diamer the word Basha should be deleted from its name. He said a written agreement should be signed with the people to give all royalty of the dam to Gilgit-Baltistan. He said under a conspiracy to give a share in the royalty to NWFP, the word Basha had been added to the dam’s name.
The site where the dame is being made is the property of Diamer district and the area called Basha is actually a pasture of Thor village of Diamer. Basha, he clarified, is the name of a small village situated about 18 kilometres away in Kohistan district of the NWFP. He said under a conspiracy in 1972 some areas falling in the district of Diamer were included in Kohistan.
He demanded that before construction of the dam, the boundary between Gilgit-Baltisan and the NWFP should be demarcated.