Weekly Bang-e-Sahar karachi Saturday, September 13——-September 19, 2008
FOR the last 61 years Gilgit-Baltistan has been under the administrative control of Pakistani federal minister. Started in 1970s with the name of a consultative assembly, today this house is called Northern Areas Legislative Assembly. There is no such precedent in the whole world where people are not authorized even to choose the head of their representative body. The so-called house has in the past been called by different names based on its performance. There is no need to write about this useless body because it has become a gathering place of opportunists and turncoats. The credential of the so-called political leaders associated with this house is such that they never tire of serving the bureaucracy and federal ministers against the wishes of the masses besides promoting Lotacracy at the cost of the bright future of Gilgit-Baltistan.
Whenever the people rise against the deprivation and injustices these elements come to the rescue of the rulers by hoodwinking the masses that their problems would be resolved on a priority basis. They also remain in the fore-front in subduing the public anger by propagating the so-called packages and development projects of the rulers. Time has proved that neither the so-called packages were implemented nor the claims of spreading a network of development projects in the region ever proved true. One feels ashamed after reading the statements of many of the leaders in the press.
But they never feel it their obligation to work for the future of the people and promote their identity. Whenever there is a change in the government of Pakistan these elements go one step forward to achieve their own objectives. After the success of nationalist forces in Karachi and the NWFP during the recent elections on Pakistan, some of the members of NALA have announced to form a nationalist party of their own. In this regard some of the members including two advisers have held meetings in Gilgit and Islamabad. They say that after failure of the federalist parties to achieve basic rights of the region, the formation of a nationalist party has become inevitable.
We consider that the move of the NALA members is realistic but there is more to it. When we look at the past it becomes clear that these politicians have in the past changed loyalties and joined the PML-N, PML-Q and the PPP according to the political tidings by telling the masses that they had switched over in order to ensure basic rights for the people. Can the people trust those who changed their conscience with the change of rulers in Islamabad? This time these opportunist elements have changed their modus operandi mainly due to the success of the MQM in Karachi and ANP in the frontier though there is a big difference between the nationalists of Pakistan and Gilgit-Baltistan.
The Pakistani nationalists demand provincial autonomy while such a demand holds no water for those in Gilgit-Baltistan who prefer to base their struggle on complete self-rule for the region. If the members of NALA are really concerned about the future of Gilgit-Baltistan they should take the existing nationalist parties of the region on board and devise a joint strategy instead of forming another party. Political observers believe that the aim of launching such a party is aimed to sabotage the struggle of the nationalist parties who have been very successful to take up the issues of the region at the national and international levels for the last a few decades, perturbing the government and its secret agencies alike. Can we expect that the proposed party would give top priority to the struggle for independence and promotion of national identity.
At this stage, however, nothing can be said about the real aims and objectives of the move. However, the picture would be clearer within a few months. The people of Gilgit-Baltistan have entered the 62nd years of their slavery. As a new government has taken over in Pakistan, Gilgit-Baltistan is still under the rule of ‘martial law.’ Under such circumstances, people of the region would never compromise on the bright future of the region.