Trans-LoC trade — why not in Gilgit, Baltistan?
On October 21, the trans-LoC trade between the divided Kashmir went into effect and there was exchange of about 21 items. Due to the prevailing tensions between Pakistan and India over Kashmir since 1947, not only trade between the two countries remained suspended but also movement of people between the two parts of Kashmir as well as Pakistan and India had to suffer a lot. Had the two countries continued trade across the border and the LoC, people on either part of the divide would get daily-use items on much lower rates. But the war-like situation in the subcontinent has made it impossible for the two nations to continue bilateral trade. After 9/11, the world began to change and Pakistan and India also felt the pressure of the international community to resolve their issues through dialogues. As a result, Musharraf had to go to India and shake hands with then prime minister Vajpayee. This led to the composite dialogue process between the tow archrivals and leading to a number of CBMs.Travel facilities at the Wagah border increased followed by exchange of political, cultural and trade delegations. Besides, the two countries also increased the number of visas to each other’s citizens. Pakistan started exporting morev items like cement etc to India and received paper and sugar from India. The world has become a global village and the current century is also called the century of economy. The major countries of the world are seeking markets for their goods while the developing nations are in search of goods on cheap rates. In such an atmosphere, the launch of trade route between India and Pakistan becomes a need of the hour. India has always desired that Pakistan should give it the status of a most favourite nation in trade, while Pakistan ahs its own compulsion to accept the demand. After many hurdles, a bus route was opened between the two divided parts of Kashmir in 2005 and two border points were also opened to facilitate the people cross into each territory.After the October 8, 2005 earthquake two more points were opened. But these steps could not end the worries of the residents of both the sides and efforts continued to initiate trans-border trade. However, people living on both sides of the border in Kashmir got some facilities. It is to be noted here that Gilgit-Baltistan, a vital part of the Kashmir issue, was ignored in all these measures. Now when trade has started between Srinagar and Muzaffarabad along with the bus service, the people of Kargil-Ladakh and Gilgit-Baltistan remain devoid of all such facilities though many parts of Kashmir had trade relations between the areas forming today’s Pakistan and India even before the partition of the subcontinent. However, Gilgit-Baltistan had since long trade links between Kashmir and the Central Asian states. Leave alone Pakistan, Gilgit-Baltistan had had no trade links with any part of the subcontinent even in the distant past.On the one hand the people of gilgit-Baltistan are being hoodwinked about the Tajikistan route project and on the other it is being repeated that with the normalization of relations between the two countries the Baltistan-Astore to Kargil-Ladakh route would be opened. However, this time too this project has been ignored. Now the local people think whether India or Pakistan is responsible for keeping these projects in the backburner. In 2006, a delegation from Gilgit-Baltistan went to New Dehli and met the Indian officials and discussed the Kargil-Ladakh route project. It transpired that India was ready to open the route and blamed Pakistan for the delay considering it a sensitive matter. What the people of the region should do. Pakistan says that if we give the people more than what they are getting at present, the issue of Kashmir would be affected. Now when trans-border trade with India has begun, the silence over opening of Gilgit-Baltistan routes may lead to many questions.We remember that soon after the AKargil war, then prime minister Nawaz Sharif and army chief Pervez Musharraf during their Skardu visit had told the locals that due to the sacrifices of the NLI, Kashmir has become an international issue. It is strange that when it comes to sacrifice, we are made the scapegoat but when it comes to take some benefit we are made to remain a silent spectator. We appeal to both the governments to immediately open all the old trade route between Kargil-Ladakh and Gilgit-Baltistan otherwise it would create more unrest in the region and the people would be compelled to take to the streets to achieve their rights and fight against the injustices.
Monitoring cells, bureaucracy accused of corruption
By Our Correspondent
GILGIT: The information secretary of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Gilgit-Baltistan chapter has alleged that the army monitoring cells and the civil bureaucracy are hands in gloves in corrupt practices in the region.Talking to the correspondent of Bang-e-Sahar here, Rana Mohammad Nazim Khan said army officers had been withdrawn from all government and semi-government organizations in the country but they still remained posted in Gilgit-Baltistan which was an injustice with the region.He said the withdrawal of army personnel from government and private institutions of the region should be carried out immediately. He said it was strange that despite the directives of the army chief and the prime minister in this regard, the armymen were still posted in the region.He also said that the very basic reason and the hands behind corruption in Gilgit-Baltistan are army monitoring cells and the civil bureaucracy due to which the PPP government was getting a bad name for nothing. He said elimination of corruption from each and every department in the region on a permanent basis was indispensable and his party would do whatever was in the best interest of the people.He said there should also be a ban on the appointment of contractual workers. The PPP leader also said that retired military personnel should not be given jobs in any organization as it deprived the deserving youth of their rights and resulted in increase in the ratio of unemployment. He regretted that the announcement of increase in the salaries of lower officials by the prime minister was still not implemented in the region. “As the current government is a public, democratic government it has actively involved itself in granting relief to the masses all over the country,” he said, adding the government will eliminate poverty from Gilgit-Baltistan through the Benazir Income Support Program and the people of this region will get maxim benefits.He said all-out efforts would be made to give relief to the masses which are hard-hit due to high inflation rate.
Tributes paid to BNF leaders
By Our Correspondent
GILGIT: The Balawaristan National Front (BNF) has successfully presented the issue of Gilgit-Baltistan in the international forum seeking a separate status for the region based on its unique geo-political, cultural, socio-economic and historical significance.This was stated at a meeting of BNF leaders held at its central secretariat. Those who spoke on the occasion included Mohammad Rafiq, Haider Shah Rizvi, Safdar Ali, Burhanullah, Mohammad Shafi Advocate, Ali Haider Taj and Mohammad Essa.They said that the proof of this fact was the recent participation of nationalist leaders of Balawaristan including the BNF chairman Abdul Hamid Khan at the 9th session of the UN human rights commission in Geneva.These leaders while representing the people of Gilgit-Baltistan asked the international community to ensure the separate identity of the region and end colonialism in the area. They also demanded that the world body should play its due role in establishing a representative government in the area in accordance with the wishes of the local people.It may be noted that another son of the soil, Wajahat Hassan also attended the session and both the leaders made it clear to the world that the people of Gilgit-Baltistan were not a sub-tribe of Kahmir, India or Pakistan but were a separate nation with their own unique culture rich languages like Shena, Balti, Brushushki, Khowar, Wakhi and many other dialects.These people having their own identity and cultures live in an area which itself has geo-political significance in the region. As such, the issue here is not to restore any sardari system or the one based on religion, etc., but to ensure a democratic system based on the universal principles of democracy.They also called upon the masses to forge unity in order to bolster the ongoing struggle for attainment of all basic rights for the region.
BNSO unit opened at Astore
By Our Correspondent
ASTORE: After reorganizing in other parts of the region, the Balawaristan National Students Organization has set up its unit in Asore.In this regard, a meeting was held at a local hotel which was attended by BNF and BNSO leaders as well as a large number of local people, student representatives and media persons.The participants termed the establishment of the BNSO unit in Asore a step in a right direction, adding the slogan of the BNF was the last hope of the people of the region who were determined to support the party in its struggle for attainment of the rights of the area.Speaking on the occasion, former chairman BNSO Khwaja Sharif said the setting of the BNSO unit in the area would have far-reaching effects on the polity of the region. He said Astore had played a significant role in the freedom movement also.Former chairman union council and nationalist leader Abdul razzaq welcomed the BNF leaders to Astore and said every child of Astore was a nationalist and the local people would play a crucial role in the struggle for the political freedom of the region. Central spokesman BNSO Haider Abbas apprised the students of the objectives of the body and said the students should also study the history, geography and cultures of the region.BNF leader and GBDA general secretary Burhanullah said the people of Gilgit-Baltistan were still enslaved by outsiders. We are being divided on the basis of sectarianism and regionalism. Therefore, we should forge unity among ourselves to ensure our rights. Spokesman of APNA Wazir Shafi advocate said the establishment of the BNSO unit in Astore was a historical step. He said under a conspiracy, the youth of the region were being hired in the army and mujahid force as sepoy so that the doors of education could be closed on them.
Conspiracy to divide people will fail, says GBUM
By Our Correspondent
SKARDU: The conspiracies to divide Gilgit-Baltistan would be foiled and pressure would be mounted on both India and Pakistan to open the Kargil-Ladakh- Gilgit-Baltistan routes.This was stated by Gilgit-Baltistan United Movement chairman Manzoor Hussain Parwana, general secretary Ghulam Shehzad Agha and joint secretary Ismail Zia while addressing the party workers.Thye said efforts would also be made to compel India and Pakistan to withdraw their forces and other officials from Kargil-Ladakh and Gilgit Baltsitan.We will also give an impetus to the ongoing struggle for attainment of basic rights of the region, they declared.They said the rulers had been trying their level best to divide the people of the region by dividing them on the sectarian basis and perpetuate their rule. They asked the people of the region to rise above petty issues and forge unity in their ranks to foil the designs of the rulers and get their due rights.They said the main objective of their party was to take out the people from strife and make them a united nation and identity. When Pashtoons, Baloch, Sindhis and Punjabis identify themselves on the basis of their nationalities, why not the people of Gilgit-Baltistan who are a distinct people in all aspect. They said a specific coterie of people were out to divide the people of the region on petty issues, so that they cannot rise to fight for their rights.They asked the local government officials to keep a close vigil on such elements and safeguard the interest of the region.
KIU students protestfee hike
By Our Correspondent
GILGIT: The students of Karakoram International University (KIU) staged a protest demonstration against the management’s decision to raise fees by 50 per cent here on Wednesday.Belonging to various faculties including management sciences, education and English, the students boycotted classes and came out on the main campus chanting slogans against the vice-chancellor Dr Aziz Ali Najam and asking him to withdraw the decision.”There were more than 150 students who took part in the protest while students from many other departments were stopped by their teachers from joining the protesters,” said an eyewitness.The protest demonstration continued for hours after which the management officials came to the spot and promised to the students that the decision would be reviewed in one week.After this, the students dispersed peacefully. However, they warned the management that they would restart their protest if their demand was not met within the deadline.Uplift projects: The Northern Areas Development Working Committee will meet on October 28 to approve uplift projects.Abdul Star, the secretary planning, said a number of projects were included in the agenda which would be discussed and approved.
Chitral: People belonging to all walks of life in Chitral have condemned a resident of Bakarabad for his alleged involvement in women trafficking. The local people also alleged that Mhmoor had been selling innocent girls aged between 13 and 18 years to old aged people from down districts after getting huge amount from them under the pretext of arranging marriage. The local residents and workers of Anjuman Dawat Azeemat beat him up and blackened his face and paraded him in the bazaar. He was later handed over to police who registered an FIR against him under women trafficking case. The police also lodged a cross-FIR on the complaint of Mahmoor and arrested two members of Dawat Azeemat for attacking him. As a result, hundreds of students of different colleges, members of the said NGO and trade unions protested against the arrest of the two members of the NGO who were produced in a civil court in presence of hundreds of students. The angry protesters also chanted slogans against police and demanded action against the administration and transfer of the DPO. The police refused to provide any comments on the issue.—Chitral Update
Islamabad: Looking at the current political scenario of Gilgit Baltistan one would come to the conclusion that no political party has an apparent majority and never has any political party got a majority in the region ever since early seventies. But still the political cyclones emerging in the corridors of power in Islamabad affect the four provinces later than Gilgit-Baltistan. In every election, the political bigwigs contest with a different party despite knowing the fact that the political parties gain nothing from their victory or loss.In the early seventies when Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto brought about reforms in the region in order to sabotage the nationalist movements gaining ground, almost 90% political bigwigs of the local political theatre joined the Pakistan Peoples Party; this era continued for a long time with political bigwigs chanting the then popular public slogan of roti, kapra aur makan till the dictator of the day Genral Ziaul Haq imposed martial law.During the Zia regime the echoes of roti, kapra aur makan suddenly vanished and the diehard ‘jiyallas’ of Gilgit Baltistan were seen chanting slogans of Mard-e-Momin Mard-e-Haq (the slogan of dictator of the day) and calling Bhutto a Kafir (infidel).It was during this era that Zia’s Lashkars sowed the seed of sectarian menace in the region which till the present is haunting the region and its people which was started by a ruthless massacre of the Shias in Jalalabad. In 1985 when the darkest era of the country, the martial law came to an end and Muhammad Khan Junejo became the prime minister as a result of the non-party election; Muslim League was formed in Gilgit Baltistan in the darkness of the night.When fate somehow blessed the country and the dictator of the day vanished in the air and PPP won the 1988 elections with a clean sweep, the hard core Muslim League of Gilgit Baltistan once again shifted to take shelter under the umbrella of PPP and this went on till the election of 1991, when Nawaz Sharif won with a clear majority the second time ‘jiyalas’ of Gilgit Baltistan slept in the lap of Muslim League-N vowing pledges to their Mehbub Wazir-e-Azam (Beloved Prime Minister) and when the trend of “In the name of God” politics started in the country, the than PPP jiyalas adopted the slogans of Tehreek-e-Jaferia and the lovers of the “Beloved Prime Minister” went to Jamiat-e-Ullama Islam. It was in this era that the front line ‘jiyalla’ of Bhutto Mr.Fida Muhamad Nashad left PPP and joined Tehreek-e-Jafferia while another political heavy weight Mr. Pir Karam Ali Shah, known for his anti Bhutto activism in Zia regime joined PPP and was nominated as the provincial president of the party in Gilgit Baltistan. Hence came the drama, Air D’ Militia and General Pervaiz Musharaf took the reins of power.Even before the successful landing of his plane in Karachi all political parties in Gilgit Baltistan vanished and by the very next morning even the names of the political parties were forgotten and it seemed as if no political forces have existed in the region for centuries and then came the savoir of the day, the creator of Pakistan and the party of all parties PML-Q.All the scattered political chicks of Gilgit Baltistan were collected and dumped in the bin of PML-Q, after hazardous defeat of the party the chicks somehow managed to escape and chant slogans of self rule like the run a way’s of George Orwell’s Animal Farm but Senator Mr. Nisar Memon proved to be a good master and managed to lock them back in their cheek house successfully.As soon as the owner of the farm Mr.Pervaiz Musharaf left the political stage ‘for ever’ these political cheeks of Gilgit Baltistan got a natural reason to leave and the story ‘after the cheek house’ is that these political big wigs have once again started to take shelter under the PPP’s shade. Member Central Executive Committee, PML-Q Mr Imran Nadeem and the Musharraf obsessed Capt Sikander Ali have recently joined PPP. As it is said there is always a ray of hope the general public of Gilgit Baltistan are looking towards a new political leadership they believe will arise from God knows somewhere. Let’s see what the future has for the region.
Jafar Shah to get vital post in new setup
By Our Correspondent
Islamabad: The top brass of the PPP has decided to give important posts to notable lawyer of Gilgit-Baltistan Sayed Jaffar Shah and the speaker of NALA (Northern Areas Legislative Asembly) Fida Muhammad Nashad in the soon-to-be-announced Azad Kashmir-type of setup for the region, a source said.At a meeting of the PPP’s Central Executive Committee presided by Asif Ali Zardari in Islamabad recently, the political and constitutional status of Gilgit-Baltistan was thoroughly discussed and debated in which Sayed Jaffer Shah also participated. The ‘new setup’ will be announced before the 2009 elections for NALA before which either the current assembly will be dissolved or an interim government will be formed which will most probably start from March 2009. It has been decided to eliminate the seats of technocrats and replace them with general seats. Formation of new electoral roll in some districts is also expected to readjust the seats of technocrats.A close source in the party told this reporter that after the meeting PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari told Mr Jaffer Shah to be ready for an important post in the new setup. The source pointed to the possibility that it was due to ‘such a setup’ that the appointment of new judges in the appellate court was still postponing.When asked about the role of Malik Maskin, he said he himself can’t understand as he was neither present in that meeting nor he has any links with the top brass of the party. It should be noted that Malik Maskin contested the last elections as an independent candidate and later joined the PML-Q and remained the speaker of NALA.
300 expelled for Chinesenationals’ security
GILGIT: In a bid to provide security to Chinese workers at the Karakoram Highway, Northern Areas and Gilgit Police expelled 300 suspected people from the area and confiscated 450 non-customs paid vehicles, SP Gilgit Sher Ali said. The officer said the step had been taken to protect hundreds of Chinese workers and engineers undertaking development work at the highway from terrorism. Sources said that the action had been taken after two Chinese engineers were abducted from Swat valley. Giligit Police Superintendent Ali Sher further said only those people had been expelled who had neither a special order from the Home Department nor any identity documents. People having proof of registration cards, identity cards or passports can stay in Gilgit and adjacent areas, he added.—Our Correspondent
November 1, 1947 – the morning of independence
Translation of the hand written account of Col Mirza Hassan Khan, military Cross, Fakhar-i-Kashmir – Part-2
Early in the morning, with the emergence of the first ray of sun we reached Gilgit. Pakistan’s colonial bureaucracy celebrates this day every year as an “Independence Day”, because on this day all facilities were showered upon them. The flame of zeal and enthusiasm of Jehad which was motivating our hearts on that day was now providing warmth to their hearts in the shape of peace, luxuries and full autocratic powers. That day, when we reached Gilgit, people came out on the streets. They had spent a sleepless troubled night in a state of anxiety, because if Governor was not captured immediately then the Sikhs would come to Gilgit and thus Gilgit will be turned into a battlefield. They were right! They rushed towards me and I plunged towards the cantonment! Anyhow, I thoughtfully paused and turned towards them and counselled them that now nobody will come here; nobody.In the Scouts lines, Subedars Shah Sultan, Sultan Feroz, Fida Ali, Shah Khan and others were roaming here and there in a state of alert and happiness. But Babar and Haider were not visible anywhere. I came to know that they were with Brown and Mathieson in the Officers’ Mess. This was a strange modus operandi! – How revolutions can occur under the guidance of devils (Zeir Charagh e Gurdoon)? Babar and Haider who till yesterday used to infuriate me by stating their activities against themselves were again in league with them.USELESS MEETINGS AND FRUITLESS ACTIVITIESYeh ajab maza tha yaro kai beroze Eid e Qurban Wahi qatal bhi karae hai, wahi lay sawab ulta When I stormed into the mess, they came out of the door. This was a strange useless meet. They had pulled down faces with an unknown fear. Now, they were planning a scheme to burn the Governor along with his bungalow, so that… Na rahay bhans aur na bajay bhanseri! They had a fight with the Governor throughout the night but till now the Governor and his orderly were safe and sound (only two non-Muslim soldiers in Gilgit). On the other hand, two Scouts soldiers had lost their lives in this weak scheme. If instead of my Muslim company, the Sikhs would have come then the situation was worth imagining. I called up Raja Noor Ali, Afsar e Maal (Revenue officer) and Governor’s personal assistant Sehdev Singh, who were loitering in Gilgit in a demoralized manner. I sent them to the Governor with a written note. On the guarantee of life and honour, shortly white flags were waved from both sides and Governor gave himself up for surrender and Subedar Shah Sultan with a guard transferred him to another bungalow. This arrest happened exactly at 0900 hours. With effect from that time the Dogra raj’s sun had set.SHAHI POLO GROUND’S GATHERING AND RIGHT OF THE MINORITIESThe arrest of Governor was an arrest of a white elephant. On that day in the afternoon; the arrest of the English officers, which was conducted on my orders, was an arrest of the enemies of Pakistan, which kept some of my friends estranged from me permanently. But without this there was no other remedy. I was not ready to fall prey to anymore conspiracies. Now, there was no worth mentioning enemy outside. But, there was no dearth of many unimportant and creeping enemies, whom I was not afraid of. There was a huge gathering of people in the Shahi polo ground. They wanted to listen to the objectives and purposes of the Revolution “INQILAB”. At that time the national and religious fervour of them was touching the skies. Many of them were equipped with swords, axis and javelins. This was all the outcome of the fresh arrest of the Governor. Mare ko mare shah madar! Now, they were convinced about the usefulness of the revolution, about which a while ago they were of the opinion that this is a game of some desperados. The resolve to play with lives, turns some impossibles into possible. – Sabaq meila hai ye mairaj e Mustafa sai hamain kae alam e bashriat ki zad mein hai iflak. In a corner of this mammoth gathering, under the shadow of swords and axes, there were some shivering, wavering and dejected souls who were transfixed towards the utterances of this sinful soul, to know decisions about not only their fate but also their lives. Though, there were many horrible stories about cruelties of Hindus and Sikhs circulating at that time, but I had to say this in a very clear, firm and soldier like manner that the safety and well being of minorities was our national and religious obligation and we will not spare anyone, violating this principle. On hearing this, these very half alive people, came back into life and while saying “Inqilab zindabad”, started weeping and crying with joy. The Gilgit revolution was now even being praised by the enemy.INTERIM GOVERNMENTThe interim government formed on that day in wait for a representative govt never ever materialized. (Jis numainda hakumat kai intezar mein yei aburi hakumat banai thi, uski noabat phir kabhi nahi aai). In the scout lines all officers had assembled. Outside, the parade ground was teemingly filled up with the masses. My companions in this advisory or antagonistic meeting had brought along their English friends and in the formulation of the interim govt they were very actively giving their opinions. It seemed that everything was now again passing into their hands.The scout junior commissioned officers (JCOs) were inhibited to sense their ex English commandant, as their commandant even now! A majority of these poor were unaware about the existence of our military council. Now, the English wanted to bring forth such a man (mohra), on whom’s shoulder they wanted to put the gun and fire on me. If this was allowed to happen, then revolution would have died its own death and with that the writer also; alongwith Saeed and Haider. It was felt at that moment to quell this disturbance (fitna) then and there, even at the cost of internal infighting. I nominated my man Raja Shah Rais Khan as the president of the Islamic Republic at Gilgit, on which nobody picked up the guts to oppose.This paved our clear way. Captain Saeed Durrani, who was a determined companion of mine was uptill now in Misgar ( China border). I extremely felt his need. After this president Raha Shah Rais Khan proposed my name as the commander of the revolutionary force and supervisor (Nehgeban-e- Inqilabi) of the revolutionary council and everyone accepted it with one voice. Then, Captain Saeed Durrani was nominated as my deputy commander. I appointed lieutenant Haider as the administrator, Babar as quartermaster and Hameed as the Police chief. Now, the interim govt was formed, which was very appropriate in those circumstances.Taameer e nisheman kai liyae jab bhi uthay hein Tinkoon ki jaga hamne shiraroon ko chuna hai Astonishingly, some of my loyals also proposed the names of Major Brown and Captain Matheison to be appointed as my advisors. To keep their hearts, I accepted the proposal till the dispersal of that meeting and dictated to them a wireless message to be sent to Pakistan, asking for a liaison officer to help in administration. Just after this meeting, these two aliens were put under custody in their bungalows and those very scouts were put on guard at them who till that very morning were obeying their orders. The announcement of the interim govt was heard by the thousands of people who had gathered outside in the parade ground. Joy, zeal and enthusiasm was now at its peak. People were fully ready to participate in Jehad. Our people, whether they belong to Karachi or Peshawar, Gilgit or Lahore are ready to do anything by riding on a motivational wave. Alas! If there was someone to obtain some creative work out of them. At that time, this very sentiment of self-sacrifice and sincerity was brought on by Quaid-e-Azam. On 2nd November 1947, in accordance with the deception message sent to the Muslim officers at Bunji, they came towards Gilgit to attend Governor’s conference. They were taken into custody by Subedar Saifullah Baig as planned and were brought to Gilgit. They were even now not ready to side with us and were aiming at the situation to change.Note: Colonel Mirza Hassan Khan, MC, FK was a diehard Muslim and a dedicated follower of Ahle Bait (A.S). He was a revolutionary, soldier, practical politician, visionary intellectual, poet, writer, orator and a good administrator as well as a bureaucrat. He had a good idea of conspiracies and circumstances but did not exactly know the depth and true nature of the evil designs because of his love for Islam, liberation of Kashmir and Pakistan. The governments of Pakistan and the other governments and institutions of the world having nefarious designs on Gilgit Baltistan, tried their level best to erase his name from the annals of history to snatch geography. Fortunately, to counter these designs, a very thorough and deep research was carried out and full proofs of all these futile efforts have been exposed.
Preparations for Aga Khan’s Chitral visitin full swing
The Ismaili community in Chitral donated 400 cattle (yaks, goats, sheep and cows) as well as precious carpets and handmade items to Darbar Fund to express joy at visit of their spiritual leader to Chitral that is expected in mid-November. These cattle were sold at Booni and the fund was deposited with Darbar Fund. MNA from Chitral Shahzada Muhauiddin was chief guest on the occasion of cattle sale point (mela) while MPA Ghulam Muhammad, Tehsil Nazim Mastuj Shahzada Sikandar and other notables of the area were also present on the occasion. Thousands of people visited the mela. This is the first time that all expenditures for Prince Karim Aga Khan’s visit to Chitral would be borne by the local faithful. The cattle and other items were donated on the appeal of Sardar Hussain, convener, Darbar Fund, Chitral. All expenditures of the visit would be borne by the Darbar Fund and the spiritual leader and 49th Imam of the Ismaili community would be given a tumultuous welcome on his arrival. Sardar Hussain, regional convener of Darbar Fund, said their target for the fund was Rs10 million in which some six million had been collected from local Ismailis. He said uniformed volunteers had arrived from Boroghul and Yarkhun valley, hundreds kilometres away from here. A handicrafts and local fruit-exhibition show was also arranged side by side with the mela. Kaneez Fatma, coordinator of Meraman Project, funded by empowerment through creative integration, had arranged the exhibition. She said some 380 local women were trained in different handicrafts and marketing.—Chitral Update
ISLAMABAD: As less than a year is left to the elections for the local bodies in the northern areas, politicians of the region have started their maneuvering to win the polls.Though Gilgit-Baltistan has no constitutional or political relation with Pakistan, the impact of the federal government is always felt in the region as well as in the Pakistani controlled Kashmir.As the PPP has formed a government in Islamabad, it is understood that political opportunists would be readying themselves to join the party and win its support to from a government in the northern areas too.It is like the former PML-Q government in Pakistanwhen people like Nisar Memon landed in Gilgit and availed themselves of the ready-made coterie of about 16 members to form a government.—Our Correspondent