August 14 a day of reflection for Gilgit-Baltistan

August 14 a day of reflection for Gilgit-Baltistan

Weekly Bang-e-Sahar Karachi Saturday, August 16—-August 22, 2008
August 14 is celebrated as Independence Day every year with great fanfare. The preparations for the day start full two weeks before the day. Print media brings out special supplements and the electronic media arranges programmes highlighting the significance of the day. It seems that the nation has taken full advantage of the fruits of independence, the objectives have been achieved and the country is just waiting yet another year of progress and prosperity and government’s measures to further improve their lot. However, on the other hand people’s unfulfilled aspirations and socio-economic conditions negate what we have been boasting of the achievements of the last 61 years. The country established in the name of Islam has been lost to the whims and interests of landlords, capitalists and the bureaucracy. If we look at the standard of life in the four provinces of Pakistan and independently assess the sentiments of the people, it will show that the people are facing a sense of frustration, alienation and deprivation. If it is not true then why slogans like Jeay Sindh, Jeay Muhajir, Jeay Punjabi, Jeay Baloch and Jeay Pakhtun are rising. Can we presume that only Punajb is Pakistan and the people of that province are its citizens and the rest are their subjects? We should also look at the phenomena of increasing suicide bombings, murders, unemployment and poverty which have plagued the nation for the last many years.
Though democracy has been restored after over eight years but issues concerning the common man have spiraled after the new government took over. Over the years, politicians and the successive rulers have so openly disfigured the system that the military had to intervene on many occasions. After the dark days of martial laws of Ayub Khan, Yahya Khan and Ziaul Haq, it is useless to say that Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah had dreamt of a democratic dispensation for the country. The politicians not only paralyzed the political system but also made a travesty of the judicial system. Injustices were done with smaller provinces, national wealth was looted without any accountability and the masses were kept on hollow promises, and industrialists, capitalists and Vaderas were given a free hand to plunder and loot the country.
The Pakistani rulers also played a shameful and dirty game in Kashmir since 1947, which was kept hidden from the world. They claimed Kashmir to be the jugular vein of Pakistan and tried to intervene in any troubled are in the name of Islam. However, the champions of the religion considered it their birth right to rule a people who had sought help from them in the name of Islam. The people of Gilgit-Baltistan have been treated like animals and kept deprived of all basic human and constitutional rights. The injustices meted out to the people of Gilgit-Baltistan cannot be summarized in a few lines.
Two days of independence are celebrated in Gilgit-Baltitan – on August 14 and on November 1. For a long time people of the region did not understand whether August 14 was their day of independence; November 1 or none of them. However, now they have realized that none of these two dates is their day of independence. They have now understood that by attacking on the region on November 1 Pakistan enslaved them and now they have no option but to sacrifice for achieving their full independence.
In short, before picking up the knife to cut the cake on August 14, we should pause for a moment and think whether we are going to commit a mistake. Is it the obligation of a subjugated people to celebrate the day. August 14 is a day of reflection for us and we should think on this day whether we are independent or still deprived of true independence.

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