Bang-e-sahar Volum-02 , Issue-20


NALA’s move on renaming N. Areas

Weekly Bang-e-Sahar Karachi Saturday November 29——–December 5, 2008
(Editorial)
NALA’s move on renaming N. Areas
After a wait of two years, a committee headed by Fida Muhammad Nashad finally submitted its report to the Northern Areas Legislative Assembly regarding change in the name of the region. The assembly had formed the committee two years back which published aids in papers to suggest a name for the region and thousands of names were received which included names on historical basis along with some new ones. The common names based on history of the region were Baloristan, Balawaristan, Karakurum, Dardistan, Brushal etc and some new names came to the limelight such as Gulistan, Paristan, Shangrilla Sona Desh etc. If the pages of history are turned for a historical name it will lead to a never ending debate.This step of the assembly is viewed positively by the masses but they have reservations regarding implementation of the resolution and their reservations are genuine as the assembly has passed a number of resolutions in the past but none was implemented except the resolution of increase in salaries of the elected representatives. The reason behind non-implementation of these resolutions is that the legislative assembly has no powers and it wholly depends on the Kana division as said by the economic adviser.Whatever it is but it should be looked at as a good step and it should be accepted that the assembly has embarked on a pragmatic issue of immediate concern in its last year of the office because the name northern areas has been our economic killer and made thousands of our transporters, business community, hotel owners, tour operators bankrupt. The nationalist fraternity had always held reservations on the issue of the name but this baseless and un-natural name had no effect on the pro-federal leaders.The incident of 9/ 11 on the one hand changed the map of the world in the name of war on terror and on the other snatched the life of thousands of innocent people living in the tribal areas; as a result nature lovers from all over the world felt insecure to travel to the region. Foreign embassies advised there tourists to avoid going to the war torn northern areas. This war-torn northern areas was referred to the Federally Administrated Tribal Areas (FATA) but unfortunately many mingled it with Gilgit Baltistan known officially as northern areas resulting in the collapse of tourism industry and huge loss to the stake holders associated with it besides gaining internationally a bad name. After 9/11 when Jalal Abad, Kabul Waziristan, and Swat became centre of attention for White House and Pentagon on the other hand the Gilgit Baltistan officially named Northern Areas became center of attention for international broadcasting corporations as BBC, CNN and Fox.These news organizations had a severe misconception that they termed Gilgit Baltistan as the war torn northern areas and some even broadcasted the news of Osama and Al Qaieda’s top brass in the mountains of K2. Due to such news the western tourists were directed not to travel in these areas. This along with the governments disinterest in tourism industry added squarely to the poverty of the already deprived nation. The people who had made hotels, motels and other tour operating companies with aid of loan from various banks were the worst sufferers and they lost whatever they had earned. In these circumstances the change of name of the region by the assembly is a bold step and appreciate able. In the lights of national question and identity if the name is even changed to masaelistan (land of problems) it would be agreeable but we still are not satisfied regarding the authority and legislative powers of the assembly and may not implementation of this resolution remain in papers like the resolutions of the past.The members of assembly once had passed a resolution to change the then Chief Executive Tahir Iqbal but the government in Islamabad turned a deaf ear to that resolution and the members were seen running for there seats. If this resolution is not accepted by those in the capital, the members should devise an alternate way from now. If this resolution is not implemented the status of assembly will badly be dismantled and it members will have to face loss in the coming elections.

Conspiracy to submerge

Weekly Bang-e-Sahar Karachi Saturday November 29——–December 5, 2008
Conspiracy to submergeGB will be resisted
By Our Correspondent
KARACHI: The Balawaristan National Front (BNF) has called upon all international human rights organizations as well as the United Nations to come to the rescue of the people of Gilgit-Baltistan and pressure Pakistan to immediately stop its plan of constructing Diamer-Bhasha and other dams in the disputed territory of Gilgit-Baltistan. Speaking at a press conference at a Karachi hotel, BNF central senior vice-president Syed Haider Shah Rizvi reminded the international community that Gilgit-Baltistan was a disputed region as recognized by the UN. But for the last some time Pakistan has been planning to construct a number of dams in various parts of the region in complete disregard to the international laws and the local people’s opposition to the projects. The BNF leader said he had earlier stated that by constructing dams after dams in the region Pakistan wanted to turn Gilgit-Baltistan into ‘Damistan’. He said as a first step Pakistan was conspiring to build the Diamer-Bhasha dam aimed to submerge the whole area. He said his apprehension about making the region ‘Damistan’ was coming true as Pakistan had planned to build as many as 24 dams in Gilgit-Baltistan. Recently, he added, Wapda Chairman Shakil Durrani visted Khurmang along with the Northern Areas Legislative Assembly’s powerless deputy speaker Syed Asad Zaidi and announced to construct the Khurmang dam too. The survey for this project ahs already started and if the project was completed, he feared, 25 villages in the Kargil and Batalik sectors would be removed from the map of the region. The project will also cause migration of over 20,000 people and will destroy the local culture and heritage. He said the people of Khurmang, Kargil and Batalik sectors have rendered invaluable services for Pakistan since 1947 and have been voted to power Mr Asad Zadi and Syed Mohammad Ali Shah Rizvi alternatively, but these two leaders have failed to protect their rights. Mr Zaidi is also helping Pakistan to build the dam in order to irrigate the agricultural land of Punjab at the cost of his own constituency. He said under the Indus Water Treaty, former president Ayub Khan had handed over the rivers Sutlej, Bias and Ravi in 1960 to India while on the remaining rivers India has been building dams and depriving Pakistan of its waters. He said today Pakistan was eying the territory of Gilgit-Baltistan to construct dams to irrigate its land and making the region a scapegoat for its stupidity of selling its own rivers to India about 50 years back. He announced that the people of Khurmang would resist the construction of any dam in their area, adding his part was in the back of the local residents. He also announced the formation of a “Khurmang Dam Namanzoor Committee” which will comprise of representatives from Khurmang and would launch a movement against the project. He said later similar moves would also be launched in all other areas where the government was planning to build dams against the wishes of the people and in disregard of international laws.

NALA renames N. Areas

Weekly Bang-e-Sahar Karachi Saturday November 29——–December 5, 2008
NALA renames N. Areasas Gilgit-Baltistan
By Our Correspondent
GILGIT: The Northern Areas Legislative Assembly finally approved thelong-waited resolution renaming the region as Gilgit-Baltisan. The session was presided over by Speaker Malik Mohammad Misken. Soon after the session started, the speaker ordered Fida Mohamad Nashad to submit the report of the committee formed to rename the region on May 4, 2007. Nashad, while presenting his report, stated that the legislative assembly had formed a committee to rename the region headed by him and the committee held its final meeting on September 12, 2008 in which the report was finalized. He said the committee had determined right from the very first day to propose a name that can reflect the cultural, historical and geographical importance of the region so that the coming generations may not find it difficult to have a common cultural, historical and geographical identity. He stated that 1,371 people had given their suggestions regarding renaming of the region. As a result, a total of 57 names were received by the committee and every name was debated in different meetings of the committee but no name was unanimously accepted. So the committee sought election on the names received. The members of the assembly voted for the received names on August 23, 2007, in which four out of the six members voted in support of Gilgit-Baltisan while Rani Ateqa Ghazanfar submitted her vote later that too in support of Giglit-Baltistan. Meanwhile, a member of the committee, Haider Khan, had voted for Gulistan and Muzafar Rally was for Karakurum. Nashad said Giglit-Baltistan is a historical name as the region was named Gilgit-Baltistan till 1972. Participating in the debate regarding the recommendations of the committee, Shekh Nisar Sarbaz of PPP said the term northern areas brought bad image as it was being mixed up with the tribal areas. He said the chief minister of Sindh had ordered registration of people coming from the northern areas in Karachi some days back. He demanded the approval of Gilgit-Baltistan the very day. Another member of PPP, Ghulam Mohammad said if we keep on discussing the issue we will not be able to get a name for the region in the coming 60 years. Besides, Gilgit-Baltistan is more feasible from the list of suggested names received by the assembly so it is natural to rename the region as Gilgit-Baltistan. He said in Sindh, 40 percent people were Urdu speaking but they have never questioned the name of the province. Likewise, Balochistan has an equal number of Pushtuns along with Balochis but they too do not disagree over the name of their province so why should we disagree over Gilgit-Baltistan as it represents our history, culture and tradition. Yet another member of PPP, Shekh Aftab Haider while addressing the assembly said it was our bad luck not to be able to become a nation after 60 years. Muzafar Rellay said he had opposed the name and suggested Karakurum at the beginning of the session but respecting the norms of democracy I agree over the proposed name of Gilgit-Baltistan. He stated that the masses of Gilgit-Baltistan were one nation and I am proud to be a member of this nation. Food Adviser Capt (Retd) Sikandar Ali said if we go along the lines of differences and discriminations we won’t be able to survive. He said this region is to be taken on the path of progress and is to be given its legitimized rights for which naming the region as Gilgit-Baltistan is the first ray of hope. Nasirullah said the region is known around the globe as Gilgit-Baltistan while Northern Areas is a confusing name and dose not show a particular geographical location so it should be renamed. Another member of the assembly, Fidaullah Advocate said this house had formed the committee to propose a name for the region and now when they have finally come up with a common agreed name we should respect their decision and the region should be named Gilgit-Baltistan. The Chief Executive while taking part in the debate said we have lost a lot due to northern areas and now we can no more bear it. He said the earthquake that hit Mansehra was associated with Northern Areas. The bloodshed of FATA is associated with Northern Areas due to which not only our tourism industry suffered but also we earned a bad name at the international level. He said Gilgit-Baltistan is a historical name and this can only be the true identity of the region and the people. He demanded the assembly to unanimously pass the resolution and accept the suggested name.The speaker conducted voting after the speech of the chief executive in which all the 18 members present in the session agreed to rename the region as Gilgit-Baltistan.

No compromise on dam royalty: NALA told

Weekly Bang-e-Sahar Karachi Saturday November 29——–December 5, 2008
No compromise on dam royalty: NALA told
By Our Correspondent
GILGIT: Northern Areas Chief Executive Mir Ghazanfar Ali Khan told the legislative assembly on Thursday that he had made it clear to the federal government that there would be no compromise on the rights of Diamer-Bhasha dam’s royalty, adding the centre had agreed in principal to give the people of Gilgit-Baltistan the right.He said during a meeting with the prime minister, he had demanded that the rights of the region should be ensured.The house witnessed a heated debate on a resolution tabled by Fida Mohammad Nahshad regarding creation of new districts in Skardu comprising Kharmang and Shigar subdivisions. The resolution was, however, passed despite demand by Haider Khan and Ali Murad to also make Yasin and Gupis as well as Darel and Tangir subdivisions as new districts.The house endorsed the resolution of Amna Ansari demanding formation of Gilgit-Baltistan Education Foundation, but Haider Khan opposed the name Gilgit-Baltistan and said it was not approved by the government so this could not be called as an official name.Adviser on food and information Sikandar Ali told the house that the food department did not issue licences for establishment of mills rather it was the department of industries which had the power.He acknowledged that there was shortage of wheat flour, but it was due to the fault of millers and dealers. He said 1,200,000 bags of wheat on subsidised rates had been transported to the region and foolproof measures were being adopted to stop pilferage during the transportation of the commodity.In reply to a question of Walayat Ali Khan, the adviser informed the house that 310,000 bags of wheat were given to Skardu. Fida Mohammad Nashad thanked prime minister’s adviser on interior for announcing creation of 5,000 vacancies and said filling of these posts would help reduce unemployment in the area.Shahida Shafi said the government had given 8,000 forms of Banazir Income Support Programme to members of National Assembly irrespective of their party affiliation but the Northern Area was ignored.

Mineral resources

Weekly Bang-e-Sahar Karachi Saturday November 29——–December 5, 2008
Mineral resourcesto bedeveloped
Our Reporter
ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister of Northern Areas and Kashmir Affairs QamarZaman Kaira has expressed the governments’ interest inthe economic, social and cultural uplifting of northern areas and said the government wasfocusing on making a suitable environment for private investors in the region for the development of minerals and gems.Addressing a workshop in northern areas house here on development of minerals, he said the government will develop hydropower projects in the region and create job opportunities besides providing the people with the rights over there resources.He urged the local people to come forward and pay their role in utilization of the natural resources in the region and said funds will be provided for the local people who were interested in development of the mineral sector.He said students’ contribution will be beneficial regarding survey of the region. Praising arrangement of the workshop he said such gatherings will give good result for devising a common and agreed to all plan for development of minerals in the region.During the workshop different groups exchanged views on survey, research, strategic plan, and marketing and regulatory frame work. Chief Secretary Northern Areas was also present on the occasion.

Establishment’s tactics slammed

Weekly Bang-e-Sahar Karachi Saturday November 29——–December 5, 2008
Establishment’s tactics slammed
By Our Correspondent
GILGIT: Despite pumping millions of budget in the programmers organized in connection with 1st November, the administration’s failure to attract masses towards itself is the ray of hope in the dark night of slavery and the masses of Gilgit-Baltistan have proved that they can no more be made fool of. These views were expressed by Central Leader Karakuram National Movement Shah Zaman in a press release issued from the party’s central office.It said the tremendous volcano hidden inside the masses and the youth of the region can react anytime and burn to ashes the puppets of rulers that have snatched their independence. Youth and masses of the region are restless to contribute to a vibrant movement that can bring back their national identity and independence that their ancestors had gained on their own strength.He said the issue of 1st November is a questionmark for the establishment and administration and seeking the general psychology ofthe public they need to give what the public want otherwise like every movement ofhistory the people of the region will snatch there rights causing a great loss to the establishment.

Timber smuggling from N.Areas

Weekly Bang-e-Sahar Karachi Saturday November 29——–December 5, 2008
Timber smuggling from N.Areas
Kana division accused of causing huge loss to national kitty
By Farooq Ahmed
GILGIT: Speaker of the Northern Areas Legislative Assembly (NALA) Malik Mohammad Miskeen has accused the Federal Ministry of Kashmir Affairs and Northern Areas of causing a loss of billions of rupees to the national exchequer by providing relief to the timber smugglers in the region.In an interview with this correspondent, Malik Mohammad Miskeen, who is also chairman of the non-functional Public Accounts Committee, said since 1993 under the patronage of KANA Division not only the illegally-cut timber had been smuggled to the rest of the country but also the natural forest was destroyed despite a ban imposed by the federal government.He said the KANA Division had sought report on how much illegal and legal timber was lying in the region so that the matter could be resolved.The local administration submitted the report, prepared by the forest department, to the government stating that 2.5 million cubic feet of illegally cut timber was present in different parts of the region. He said KANA Division approved a policy for transportation of the timber after which it was shifted.Mr Miskeen said the government had devised three different policies to transport timber that had been chopped down illegally in various areas. Lastly, the administration of the Northern Areas submitted a report to the KANA division in which it was mentioned that 3.8 million cubic feet of timber was ready for transportation after their categorisation and recommended imposition of fine. The speaker, while quoting a fresh decision of the federal cabinet, said the government approved transportation of 3.8 million cubic feet of timber subject to imposition of fine against various timber smugglers.“In the notification the government categorically deferred the working plan and advised adoption of various measures to protect natural forests,” he added.Mr Malik said KANA Division conveyed the notification to the region’s administration and ordered its implementation in letter and spirit. However, after a lapse of some time it issued another directive and declared some part of the timber legal whereas in the notification of the federal government nothing was mentioned as such. He said if 3.8 million cubic feet of timber mentioned in the notification of the prime minister was transported in due course of time then the fixed fine should be deposited in the national exchequer. He also demanded that the government should make it public how much money was deposited as fine. According to rough estimates, the timber traders have incurred a loss of Rs3.42 billion on the national exchequer by not depositing the fine and transporting the timber.The speaker said the timber should remain at the site if government failed to come up with the deposited money.He said if timber was not transported despite payment of fine then it would become government property because under the federal directive, after September 30, the leftover timber would be confiscated.“However, it was unfortunate that the timber had been transported after a meager amount was deposited in the treasury,” he claimed.He said another illegal way of cutting down forests was given a legal cover on the pretext of transporting timber to the rest of the country for furniture purpose. A large quantity of timber was therefore smuggled as a result but KANA Division imposed no fine due to its vested interests.

Pakistan asked to withdraw from GB

Weekly Bang-e-Sahar Karachi Saturday November 29——–December 5, 2008
Pakistan asked to withdraw from GB
SKARDU: Addressing a press conference at Skardu, Manzoor Hussain Parwana, Chairman Gilgit-Baltistan United Movement, asked the Government of Pakistan to withdraw its civil and military colonial rulers from Gilgit-Baltistan to ensure the restoration of basic human rights of the enslaved people of the region.Civil and military bureaucracy should cease its policy of dividing people by fomenting sectarian and ethic strife. The bureaucracy has inherited this policy from its colonial masters.

‘Give a chance to nationalists’’

Weekly Bang-e-Sahar Karachi Saturday November 29——–December 5, 2008
‘Give a chance to nationalists’’
Karachi: Balawaristan National Students Organization (BNSO) held a seminar on the topic of “from sunrise to sunset” at Liaquat National Memorial Library here.Nationalist leaders of Gilgit-Baltistan and from other parts of the country along with a large number of students participated in the seminar. A handful of pro-federal leaders are spreading rumours and allegations against the nationalist leaders of Gilgit-Baltistan, said Sayed Hayder Shah Rizvi in his address. He appealed to the people to give a chance to nationalist leaders and said leaders of BNF will contest elections from all districts of the region. He said we should shed light on the day of slavery known as 16th November the story of which has become one of the sunset today.Ex-President Northern Areas Students Association (NASA) Sheraz Ali urged the participants to struggle for their homeland no matter to which party they belonged. The President of Baloch Students Organization (BSO) said the people of Balochistan too were deprived of there rights like those of Gilgit-Baltisan for the last 61 years and when we demand our rights the establishment ruthlessly kill our senior leaders. Ex- President Diamer Students Association condemned the Karachi Agreement of April 28, 1949 and said it was the first step of our slavery.—Correspondent

Political independence

Weekly Bang-e-Sahar Karachi Saturday November 29——–December 5, 2008
Political independence
By Noor Muhammad
I have been wondering about the repercussions of considering only political independence as the universal remedy for all the accumulated ills of Gilgit-Baltistan. No doubt political autonomy is very important for human beings; even God Almighty has given us the ‘liberty’ to choose our masters. He has told us about the good and the bad – explaining their benefits and hazards, and has allowed us to choose our own path. We choose what is good for us; we choose what is bad for us. But the most important notion is that we are free to choose. This philosophy of freedom of choice remains valid in the political arena as well. So, if we are not able to choose our ‘masters’ or ‘rulers’ then a principle of nature is being compromised and, so, the frustration, agitation, protests and militancy.This phenomenon is visible throughout the world. The nature of the struggle might vary but the objective – of liberating human body, mind and soul from external forces – is everywhere. Whether we are talking about the anti-corporatism, initiated, nurtured and spearheaded by “Western” universities or the armed struggle in Palestine, whether we talk about Mandela’s struggle against the Apartheid ‘white’ colonizers or Ernesto Cheguvera’s struggle against colonizers who shared his skin color or even if we talk about Baba Buleh Shah’s rebellious poetry and activism against the “Nawabs” of his time, we are talking about a common aspiration of the human beings for unyoking their bodies, their minds and their souls. We are talking about independence. But is political independence the only type of independence required for the betterment of a human society? This is a question that I want to discuss in rest of this piece of writing.Some circles in Gilgit-Baltistan enjoy political power because of the prestigious positions in the so-called legislative assembly. Some are politically powerful, independent, courtesy their prestigious positions within sectarian organizations. Others are politically powerful because of the wealth they possess; some are powerful even due to their lineage – their ancestors being the state rulers of the past. There are some who have been able to harness power because they represent many such ‘power pools’, simultaneously. The Chief Executive, Mir Ghazanfar Ali Khan, is one of them. He has a prestigious position because his father was the last Mir of the Hunza state. Never mind if he puts Mir as prefix to his name. Severe nostalgia can blur the lines between reality and wishful dreams. He is wealthy, no doubt. He is politically powerful because of his ‘links’ with the powerful and because a majority of the paranoid voters of Hunza still think that he has come from the “Heavens” – a heavenly figure, one of whose ancestors, centuries ago was born with a fistful of barley grains. Pity me. Coming back to the topic, there are others who are powerful because they are leaders in their sects, have money, have links with the centers of power and enjoy support of their paranoid voters, who consider them as the ‘custodians’ of sectarian interests. Some even have the matching ‘lineage’ to their credit. It will be highly relevant to take a cursory look at the way these politically empowered elite of the region use their ‘positions’ and ‘power’. Starting from the top, Ghazanfar Ali Khan used his position as the Chief Executive to monopolize the management of Silk Route Dry Port, Sost. His son, Saleem Khan – the exact opposite of his other two brothers, is the ‘muscle’, bullying the innocent, the aged and the less powerful around Hunza and Gojal. Similar is the story with all other members of NALA: The wailing!Son of an advisor from Ghizar district reportedly assured of the political power at his back, harassed police officials in Gilgit city. Another similar incident was reported in the regional press where the same “Musheer Zada” used his muscles to bully paramedic staff at a local hospital. Another incident, reported in the regional print media, saw the son of an Advisor from Chilas harassing journalists. Similar incidents are regularly reported from Skardu and Ghangche district, well. Mind you I am just talking about the ‘long arms’ of the politically empowered and their kith and kin, the ‘exercise’ of such power in the field of finance, contracts, scholarships are a separate topic, full of evidence against the abuse of political power possessed by the ‘sons of the soil’ and their sons or maybe daughters too, at some point in future!!Some journalists use the term “Thikadar-saz Assembly” for NALA!! The reason being that almost all members of the assembly are also government contractors or charge ‘commission’ from other contractors, while awarding ‘developmental’ projects’ for the ‘awam’. I know that losing hope is considered Haram in Islam. But the light at the end of tunnel is too weak to make an impact, for now, in my view. Another trend in the ‘transfusion’ of political power was evident when Mehdi Shah’s decided to court his son in the political arena, as a future leader. Why not!! He is just following what the Bhuttos and the Zardaris have done. Who would not like to infuse the ‘blue’ blood into his or her veins, even if it means forgetting about one’s ‘red’ blood!Hereditary politicians have many advantages over those who were not born in the family of the Bushes, the Kennedys, the Bhuttos, the Sharifs, the Qazis and, now, the Mehdis! They have the liberty to use party fund for staging their children, and even their grand children. In this context let’s suppose that out of the blue, one day, Gilgit – Baltistan is able to gain the political power that the political activists dream. Who will be the beneficiaries?I can bet that no Jamal Khan from a village near the Chinese border, or no Mehdi Hussain from a village located beneath the wondrous Siachin Glacier, no Nazeem Karim living under the majestic Baltit fort, no Pinin Shah from the scenic villages of Yasin valley, or not even a Miskeen Khan from Tangeer will be able to become the personification of political prowess. The rules, seemingly, are already set. You either have to be son of a politician or, even, a nephew!! Or you have to be a hardcore bully, able to terrorize the government officials, the communities and all other around you. Examples are evident in the politics of Gilgit – city! The nationalists or other ideological politicians and activists have narrow chances, if any.In this scenario the need for all political workers, their managers and party leaders is to focus on creation of a leadership cadre where nor the lineage and wealth get prioritized, nor the sectarian bullying and affiliations. Abilities of judgment, planning, organization, communication and mobilization shall be counted as the fundamental requirements for the leaders. The ethics of honesty, generosity, active mindedness – not only open mindedness, compassion and sacrifice shall serve as the guiding principles of the leaders.If the nationalist or federalist parties work hard to create such a cadre of leaders, despite of all odds that surely would come, the voice for rights of Gilgit-Baltistan; of independence from inequality, sectarianism, militancy, ignorance, poverty and corruption can become more powerful and more effective, otherwise we will just be shrieking in the deserts and getting charmed by hearing them back! What we, the common people, are looking at is independence from all the hurdles that limit human choices, inhibit human capacities and enslave human beings in the chains of class, creed, religious dogmatism and other social evils.Our fight shall not be only for gaining power for the ruling elite, or adding a few more new faces to the group of rulers. Our fight shall be for the common people and that requires obtaining power for the common people, not for their rulers! We shall look at independence not only in political terms; we shall also understand and strive for obtaining the independence beyond political power.

Youth ignorance turns

Weekly Bang-e-Sahar Karachi Saturday November 29——–December 5, 2008
Youth ignorance turnsdevelopment meaningless
By Tika Khan
It has been said that we do not bequeath our communities to our children rather we borrow our communities from them. From the perspective, no group has a greater stake in sustainable communities than the youth. Youth development initiatives around the world have a very wide impact, since what affects young people eventually affects the wider community. None of the organizations in the Northern Areas possesses any kind of youth database, which could be a fantastic resource to help establish an organized regional approach to youth development.Absence of such a data reflects completely ignorance in this respect which is an unhealthy sign in entire developmental paradigm. While moving around in the urbanized and semi urbanized geographies including remote villages, young people are seen wearing ear rings, French cuts, hair ponies, half shaves, torn jeans, rags, skin tied James Bond’s or resellers painted shirts etc. are all borrowed styles or gifted by the non-directional media giants.Uncensored television programmes have posed a threat to the socio-cultural identities of smaller and under developed cultures. Parents and youth need awareness and education on strengths and negatives of media equally to avoid downbeat effects. Drug abuse can never be excluded from the discussion that has serious consequences across the board. Interviews with the occasional and regular youth smokers across Northern Areas show that they have started smoking in ignorance and they are not aware of the injurious effects of cigarettes. Government of Pakistan for several times imposed ban on smoking in public spheres but due to non specific guidelines, law enforcing agencies are unable to implement the decision. These decisions show how much government leadership is serious in their high sounding political rhetoric.Though government can neither accommodate all youth against limited employment opportunities nor can ensure drug abuses including smoking simply through political sloganeering. Public private partnerships can increase the impact in this regard. Practical steps focused on tangible outcomes are prerequisite to educate, aware and redirect youth on the developmental trek. Lack of any skill development and technical centre across Northern Areas deprives youth in accessing job market.Boy scouts and girl guides movements are another option that can contribute effectively in training, imparting skills and keeping them away from unhealthy activities. Governmental support at provincial level will encourage this kind of youth movements to engage youth in society building. Northern Areas Boy Scouts Association-NABSA is fairly effective but need further support. Girl guides movement is neglected organization which equally requires attention by the government line departments. In absence of such organizations, myopia political and religious backed headship will use for vested interest and sectarian extremism.Skillfulness promotes equity and oligopoly in the society, whereby in absence, monopoly dominates. Monopoly divides society between ‘Haves & Have Nots’, creating an imbalance resulting in unrest. Creation of a skill development centre in the Northern Areas will help to fill the gap and brushing out the ignorance slightly.Several other civil society institutions working on youth issues including Aga Khan Youth & Sports Boards and Aga Khan Economic Planning Boards should come forward for public private partnerships and should work across geographical, cultural and religious boundaries to benefit youth, sharing with them the best practices and experiences they have. Public sphere, political and religious leadership must encourage and help them in streamlining our natural capital and the most important section of our society towards future leadership. Youth exchange programmes, UN youth assembly and national youth forum are good steps towards making youth a valued citizen.

Tributes paid to Ghazi Anwar Shaheed

Weekly Bang-e-Sahar Karachi Saturday November 29——–December 5, 2008
Tributes paid to Ghazi Anwar Shaheed
GILGIT: A memorial reference in connection with the martyrdom of Ghazi Anwar Shaheed, leader Karakurm National Movement (KNM), was organized in Gilgit Press Club.The program was presided over by father of the martyr Ali Aman while a large number of people and nationalist leaders of KNM, KSO and Gilgit Baltistan Democratic Alliance (GBDA) were also present. The program started with recitation from the Holy Quran. The central leader of KNM Mumtaz Hussain Nagri paid tributes to the shaheed and said whatever Ghazai Anwar has done no common man can do it and people die for there personal gains but he died for the national cause. He urged the gathering to get united for the national cause.Dr Habib Younis said we are dwelling in the chains of slavery for 61 years but Ghazi Anwar gave the message not to live silently under the chain and said he may not be with us physically but he is always with us in our fight for the national cause. He is with us in our philosophies and ideologies contributing continually to our movement.Wazir Shafe Advocate, leader Gilgit-Baltistan Democratic Allianc (GBDA), said individual can be shot dead, imprisoned and tortured but the ideology of Ghazi Anwar can neither be suppressed nor shot dead or imprisoned. He said we should act on the ideologies of Ghazi Anwar and continue our struggle in the light of his philosophy.Leader of Hunza Progressive Youth Front Baba Jan said independence is not gained by idol bodies we should embed a revolutionary soul into the bodies of living idols. Afsar Jan Watanyar, brother of the shaheed, and Secertry Of Karakurm National Movement, said even though Ghazi Anwar is not present with us physically but he is present in the very steps of our movement.He said he is alive in our thoughts and hearts and will remain alive in our thoughts and actions in the future. “Ghazi Anwar had his political grooming from his home and since childhood he was against national suppression and this is the reason that he gave away his life for the nation,” he added.—Our Reporter

The Gilgit-Baltistan dilemma

Weekly Bang-e-Sahar Karachi Saturday November 29——–December 5, 2008
The Gilgit-Baltistan dilemma
By Mehdi Akmal

Sixty years have lapsed since Balawaristan gained independence from the maharaja of Kashmir and acceded to Pakistan. In these 61 years Pakistani rulers chained the region through a worst colonial system either in the name of ideology of Pakistan or referring the region sometimes as sensitive area or disputed territory.The masses of Balawaristan had pined so much hope on the Pakistani rulers but nothing changed for good in the last sixty one years and the capitalist, feudal and the military and civil establishment’s anti masses policies turned all hopes of the people to fear. Before coming to the Pakistani control, the region was self-sufficient economically but after acceding to Pakistan the region was made financially handicapped and today ninety percent of the population is deprived of basic health facilities and more than seventy percent has no access to clean drinking water. More than two lac youth of the region are jobless and each passing year adds to this number.The reason is not that the region lacks resources but that Pakistani ruler’s don’t allow the masses to get benefits from the available resources due to which the region is plunged into a darkness of social, economic and political miseries. More than 16 places of the region have gold mines more than any part of the world and an equal number of valleys are said to be hotbed of minerals and gem stones due to which the region is said to be worlds riches area regarding minerals besides the rivers flowing in the region have a capacity to provide more than forty thousand mega watt electricity every day.Bringing to use these available resources the region can become the richest regions in the world but Pakistani establishment has never allowed the people to se this natural resources and failed to propose a sound economic policy for the region which has resulted in the poor living standard of the region. The current economic social and political policies have given an indication that the rulers don’t want the region to be developed but there sole motto is to make personal wealth by depriving the people of the very legitimized rights over there natural resources. Keeping these conditions in view, Balawaristan National Front believes in the power of public and development through developing the working class by establishing a democratic government where can be run by the elected representatives of the working class. Cheap provision of education by providing the education up to universities free of coast and proving every citizen with all the basic facilities and replacing the current judicial system with a free of coast and quick justice.All this is possible only when all the peoples of the region get united to struggle for there rights through a single platform which at the moment is Balawaristan National Front.
An overview of NALA:
The largest institution established at northern areas levels which passed through different stages and is names as northern ares legislative assembly today has done nothing for the region. Without doubt, this assembly was facing a lot of problems when established and the members had ledged and vowed to grant constitutional status of the region besides making other false promises of economic up lift of the region but challenges were not faced nor even looked at for a light time. Soon after coming to being, the assembly announced that it will provide relief for the debtors of agricultural bank and told the debtors not to return their loans but nothing positive was done in this regard and today the debtors are under the heavy weight of the debit along with the profit and fine for not paying the loans in due time and now when the mass protests against the profit and neither members of the legislative assembly don’t bother to utter a single word.Keeping in mind the poverty and backwardness of the region got servants were given 25percent special alliance but it too has been eliminated for unknown reasons and legislative assembly is silent like before in this case too. Another allowance of 450 was granting to the servants of Gilgt Baltistan like that of Balochistan but that too was eliminated and the legislative assembly have no reasons or explanations for this like every time. No government has banned recruitment for jobs and the PPP government is boosting of its job opportunities but Gilgit Baltistan is the only region in the country where there is a ban on job recruitment adding squarely to the miseries of the people and the assembly on this issue has done nothing.The admission of students of Giglt Baltistan are banned in universities of other parts of the country due to which the future of thousands of youth from the region is at stake but in the only university if the region people from every corner of the country are allowed to get admission and still the assembly has never debated on this issue in its sessions. A local force with the name of northern scouts was established in the region and it was the sole right of the people dwelling in Gilgit Baltistan but like other institutions this too is over populated with non non-locals and heart ranching is the fact that no one from Gilgit Baltistan is given any senior post of officer rank except junior commissioned officers and javans.Despite having its assembly adjacent to the headquarters of the above mentioned force the assembly has no knowledge o the on going scenario. All through the country the system of monitoring was initiated right after the end of dictatorship but this monitoring system has no name in the region and due to lack of check and balance the heavy budget granted for developmental projects goes into the pockets of servants of work department and the contractors but no one bothers to ask them. Some years ago the construction of konodas RCC Bridge was given to a non-local contractor but no work has been done on it till the present and no body has bothered to question the delay.So this assembly has played the role of a dumb, duff and blind organization elected only to get its salary in the 5th of every month. Joint report by Ghulam Qadir & Muhabat Ali Qaisar

bang, Issue–20

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