Category: NEWS

I can build Diamer, Bunji dams in five years: Shahbaz

I can build Diamer, Bunji dams in five years:


By Our Correspondent..

ISLAMABAD: Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has said if he was given the chance, he would resolve the power crisis in the country by constructing the Diamer and Bunji dams within five years. He stated this during a meeting with PML-N Gilgit-Baltistan chief Hafiz Hafizur Rehman here. Mr Sharif also said that if the PML-N comes to power in the forthcoming elections, he would like to be inducted as minister for water and power so that he can work for the resolution of the power crisis by constructing dams which Pakistan has plenty of potential to build. He said after resolving the power crisis, he would be ready to retire from politics. The chief minister said that Gilgit-Baltistan was a strategically important region but the PPP government had ignored it during the last about five years. He said if his party comes to power, he would launch unprecedented development schemes in the region. He regretted that despite given the offer of establishment of a cardiac hospital, the government of Gilgit-Baltistan did not take interest. On the other hand, the governments of KPK and Balochistan approached the provincial government of Punjab requesting it to set up cardiac hospitals in their provinces. On their requests, we established two hospitals one in each province at a cost of two billion rupees, he added. He said he was planning to set up cardiac hospitals in Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Kashmir. The chief minister of Punjab also said that his government would set up a children hospital in Gilgit-Baltistan. On this occasion, the chief minister also sanctioned Rs500 million for the educational expenses of 65 students from Gilgit-Baltistan who are studying in technical colleges of Punjab. Like medical colleges, he also ordered that the quota of Gilgit-Baltistan students in all the engineering colleges in the province should be doubled. However, he added, that the Punjab Engineering Council had raised objection to this direction and he was going to talk to the prime minister of Pakistan to get the order implemented. After doubling of the seats, the number of students from GB would reach 28, he added. The chief minister said that 70 students from Gilgit-Baltistan were studying in medical colleges of Punjab and all their expenses were being footed by the Punjab government. He added that 1200 students from Gilgit-Baltistan have so far been given laptops by the provincial government of Punjab. He also said that 800 students from GB who would obtain 800 or more marks in the SSC and FSc exams would be provided free education in the educational institutions of Punjab. He said the GB government had already been informed about this offer of the Punjab government. On this occasion, the PML-N leader from Gilgit-Baltistan briefed the chief minister about the political situation in the region. He also thanked him for providing facilities to the students from GB in the province.

GB part of Kashmir

GB part of Kashmir

By Our Coresspondent

GILGIT: Parliamentary secretary and leader of Jamiat Ulema-i-Pakistan Rehmat Khaliq has said that the issue of Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan is to be resolved under the UN resolution. Addresing a rally taken out in connection with the Kashmir solidarity day here, he said that Gilgit-Baltistan was part of Kashmir and the peoples of the two regions cannot be separated from each other. He said that some people were misguiding the masses by issuing baseless statements to the media. He said that unless we sit together and devise a joint plan our issues remain unresolved. The JUP leader said that the people of the region had been denied their basic rights for the last about 65 years and it was time the masses launched a decisive struggle to get their rights. He said in the past the people of GB had been standing by their brothers in Kashmir and they would be at their side in future as well.

‘Officials should not follow illegal govt orders’

‘Officials should not follow illegal govt orders’

By Our Correspondent

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Muslim league (PML-N) Gilgit-Baltistan chief Hafiz Hafizur Rehman has said that government employees in the region should not follow illegal and unjustified directions given to them by the chief minister and his cabinet members. He said like in Pakistan, the government in Gilgit-Baltistan will be facing accountability very soon. It may be noted here that generally it is the perception of the people that the PPP-led government in Islamabad would not be able to form government after the forthcoming general election to be held in May this year. After the tenure of the federal government ends, it would be difficult for the GB government to complete its tenure which ends in the year 2014. Talking to this correspondent here, Hafiz Hafizur Rehman said chief secretary Sajjad Salim Hotiana nad secretaries had set a good example of not following the illegal and unjustified demands and orders of the chief minister and his cabinet members. He said Hotiana had been brought to the office by the chief minister and his coterie but now when he is not toeing the lines of the rulers, the latter have launched a campaign against him. Earlier, he added, the same treatment was meted out to the former chief secretary Saifullah Chatha. He said that the people of the region were behind the bureaucrats and they have become fed up with the corrupt chief minister and his ministers who have failed to deliver during the last so many years. The PML-N leader said that he was of the opinion that after change of guards in Islamabad elections should also be held in Gilgit-Baltistan so that a new government can come to power. He said with the installation of a new government in Islamabad, his party would launch a drive in all districts of the region not for toppling the regime but to put the rulers on accountability. He said during the last about three years, the PML-N Gilgit-Baltistan had been trying its best through peaceful means to put the corrupt government on right track but it did not leave any impact on the rulers. He said after coming to power the PPP government had broken all record of corruption and bad governance and made the lives of the masses in the miserable. The PML-N leader said that the people of the area had become fed up with the rulers and wanted a change to improve their life.


A tribute to Chitral’s polo legend

A tribute to Chitral’s polo legend

By Our Coresspondent

CHITRAL: What strikes everyone about Chitral’s free style polo legend late Sardar Ahmed Khan is that he started playing the game at the tender age of 14 years and continued to shine in the field with the same zeal and vigour till his death on January 27, 2013. People of Chitral and Gilgit-Baltistan knew Sardar Ahmed as the captain of the Chitral-B team during the annual Shandur polo festivals. Inside Chitral, he used to play for the subdivision Mastuj and Kosht teams. With his death, a chapter in the free style polo has closed. Rudyard Kipling once termed polo as the game of kings and the king of games and his narrative has become part of the world’s classical literature. In the past, Kipling’s observation of polo as being the game of kings might have been wrong in the sense that polo once was everyone’s craze irrespective of the people’s socio-economic status. However, nowadays keeping horses has become a luxury and is confined to only the rich and elite class. But Sardar Ahmed qualified to be included among the king’s class as his farms housing a good number of horses of high breed, hounds, cows and oxen was not less sumptuous than those owned by ruling class and princess. Sardar Ahmed, who was born in the Mohmmad Begey tribe, had the temperament and likes similar to the old days’ princes, Nawabs, and elites of the subcontinent and the Central Asian states. Some of the known personalities of Chitral belonged to the family of Sardar Ahmed. They included Tariqullah, Abdus Samad Khan, Mohammad Rasul Khan, Mohamamd Ibal Khan and Mohamamd Saeed Khan. Prominent Khowar poet Mohammad Siyar gave the title of ‘Yaltar Kutaz’, which signifies bravery and valour, to Abdus Samad Khan. Mohammad Ibal Khan alias Dush Hakim was one of the prominent personalities of Chitral in the 20th century. The British rulers of the Indian subcontinent in their gazetteer had special mention of Mohammad Ibal Khan. Mohamamd Nadir Khan, one of Mohamamd Iqbal’s sons, made a niche in the literary circle through his poetry. His Khowar songs even today mesmerize people of the valley. Mohammad Saeed Khan made a name in local politics and during Field Martial Ayub Khan’s Basic Democracies (BD) system he was elected as the chairman of the local council. Sardar Ahmed Khan was the elder son of Mohammad Saeed Khan. He was born in Kosht and passed his matriculation exam from the same village in 1972. During his school days, he started playing polo from the ground of Kosht. In 1976, when he was just 22 years of age, Sardar Ahmed was awarded Chitral’s highest award in polo called Polo Colour. This prestigious award was given to only the shining stars of the game. Continued on Page-4 A teacher by profession, Sardar Ahmed during his 44-year-long polo career won a large number of awards and brought homes numerous trophies and other awards. He also led his team to victory in 26 high-profile matches. Being a star of the game, it is acknowledged by all that Sardar Ahmed never deviated from the sportsmanship spirit. During his long career, it is said he never hurt the sentiment anyone neither got into even any altercation in the field. Rather, he was the one who always come forward to resolve on-the-field issues and asked others to avoid confrontation. Apart from his popularity in the sports, it was his humane nature of personality and love for peace that when the news of his death spread in the area, a large number of people reached his home and attended his funeral. Indeed in the death of Sardar Ahmed, we have not only lost a popular polo player but also a known personality who spent his life in promoting peace, harmony and tolerance. May his legacy live


Mass protest against non-construction of bridge

Mass protest against non-construction of bridge

By Our Correspondent

GILGIT: The residents of Hatoon valley, situated across Ghizer River of Gahkuch, headquarters of Ghizer District, continued their protest after their demands of reconstruction of suspension bridge was not met. Reports reaching here said in an extreme weather condition the residents continued their protest and renewed their pledge to go on a strike for indefinite period in case immediate steps for reconstructions are not taken. The suspension bridge that was swept away two years back by flash floods cut off the valley and people have to go a long way to reach district head quarters. The dwellers resorted to protest after their repeated requests were not entertained by the concerned authorities and they faced great difficulties. Patients and elderly citizens are worst hit by delay in construction of this bridge which was swept in 2010 floods. The protestors in a telephonic call told this correspondent that the Governor, Chief Minister and Chief Secretary issued directives for reconstruction of this bridge which was mere eyewash as there are no serious efforts. The protest staged on the busiest point of the small town would further continue if authorities don’t come to give solid assurance of addressing problems, the protestors vowed.


Hospital fee levy not my decision, says minister

Hospital fee levy not my decision, says minister

By Our Correspondent

GILGIT: Health minister Haji Gulbar Khan has said that the decision to charge Rs200 from patients at the public sector hospitals of Gilgit-Baltistan had been taken by the chief minister without taking him into confidence. Talking to this correspondent here, the minister said that Chief Minister Mehdi Shah was interfering in the affairs of ministers and taking decisions unilaterally. He said to charge fee from the poor patients was not justified. It would not help resolve the financial crisis of the region but will bring a bad name to the government, he added. He said that eh was not in support of such a decision. He added that the chief minister had taken the decision after consulting the matter with the secretary health. The minister said that providing basic healthcare facilities to the masses was the responsibility of the government. Instead of ensuring all the facilities in the hospitals, the government ahs decided to put more burden on the poor patients.



NDMA, Focus ink deals on capacity building

NDMA, Focus ink deals on capacity building

By Our Correspondent

ISLAMABAD: The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and Focus Humanitarian Assistance (FOCUS) Pakistan, an affiliate of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), signed a memorandum of understanding in Islamabad, says a press release. Dr. Zafar Iqbal Qadri, Chairman NDMA, and Nusrat Nasab, Executive Officer FOCUS Pakistan, signed the MoU, which entails cooperation in the field of capacity building of staff members and resource mobilization for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) programmes; initiation and execution of joint DRR projects, based on the Public-Private-Partnership model and shared advocacy for mainstreaming of Disaster Risk Reduction by enhancing response capacity and awareness at different levels. Federal Minister for Climate Change, Rana Muhammad Farooq Saeed Khan, was also present at the signing ceremony. As part of the MoU, the two organisations will exchange knowledge and expertise, contributing towards improvement of planning, preparedness and response capacity in the field of Disaster Risk Reduction. In the past, NDMA and FOCUS have worked collaboratively on multiple projects implemented in different parts of the country. The MoU will initially remain valid for three years, till 2016. Speaking at the occasion, Dr. Zafar Iqbal, NDMA Chairman, said that the human induced and natural hazards facing Pakistan are immense and the risks can be reduced through collaboration and cooperation at different levels. He expressed hope that the MoU between NDMA and FOCUS Pakistan will pave ways for promoting DRR at the national level. Ms. Nusrat Nasab, Executive Officer of FOCUS Pakistan said that the different agencies of the Aga Khan Development Network and its affiliated institutions have been contributing to the development of Pakistan for many decades now. She said that Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change are among the top concerns of the century and the challenges can be overcome by working closely with relevant government departments. She termed the signing of the MoU as an important step in the right direction and acknowledged the able leadership of Dr. Zafar Iqbal Qadri for making it possible.


Cases against Zardari closed for ever

Cases against Zardari closed for ever

By Our Correspondent

ISLAMABAD: Money laundering and graft cases against President Asif Ali Zardari in the courts of Switzerland cannot be reopened, says a letter by the Swiss authorities in response to the communication sent by the Pakistan government following the Supreme Court’s order. Federal Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Farooq H Naek revealed this on Saturday. The cases against President Zardari, his late spouse Benazir Bhutto and others were closed in the Swiss courts in 2009 after then Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) Malik Muhammad Qayyum wrote a letter to the Swiss authorities concerned in this regard. Earlier, on the orders of the Supreme Court in the NRO case, the government had written a letter to the Swiss authorities to withdraw the letter written by the AGP. The Swiss authorities, after a detailed perusal of the letter in the light of the law of the land, informed the Pakistan government that the cases against President Asif Ali Zardari could not be reopened. Farooq H Naek said that the letter of the Swiss authorities was delivered to President Zardari. On the issue of writing the letter to the Swiss authorities, former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani was found guilty of contempt of court and was disqualified by the Supreme Court. Afterwards, incumbent Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf complied with the SC orders and wrote the letter to withdraw the earlier letter written by the AGP but the letter could not get the cases against Zardari reopened. According to the BBC, in the letter received by the Law Ministry, the Swiss authorities state that Asif Ali Zardari, being the president, has complete immunity, and till Zardari holds the office of the president, no prosecution can take place against him.

Kalash customs through the eyes of a girl

Kalash customs through the eyes of a girl

By Our Correspondent

ISLAMABAD: In a remote valley at the Afghan-Pakistan border, the last 3,000 Kalash pagans live encircled by a community of Muslims and Afghan refugees. At the approach of the winter, they pray, dance and sing to celebrate the rebirth of the seasons and their culture. Among them, a young woman must choose between making a change in all aspects of her life or let her traditions endure. This is the theme of an award-winning documentary by Swiss filmmaker, Gael Metroz, which was screened for a select number of guests at the residence of the Ambassador of Switzerland and Mrs Bubb. Welcoming his guests, the ambassador said a few words about the filmmaker adding that he and his wife Regula value the cultural diversity of Pakistan and therefore they had decided to screen the documentary, which showcased the people of the Kalash Valley Hoping the audience would be just as engrossed by the film as they were, he invited them all to stay on for refreshments after the screening. Gael lived in the Kalash Valley for a year – it is one of the ‘fragile cultures’ of the world, with a fast dwindling population that is either migrating to other parts of Pakistan for a better living conditions or is being pressurised to change its traditional way of life by economic constraints and the wave of religious dogma that is sweeping the country. The documentary, titled, ‘Kalash – The Last of the Infidels’ tells the story of the customs, rituals and practices of the Kalash through the eyes of a young girl who favours the traditional way of life. It is fascinating to see the different aspects of their lifestyle and the fact that they remain cheerful although life is difficult in many ways, especially if you have never visited the area. After the film, Ambassador Bubb asked Siraj ul Mulk, who hails from the ruling family of Chitral, to say a few words. Siraj explained the reasons for the dwindling population, but said there was hope it would survive. In this context he mentioned a British author who had written about the Kalash in 1850 and stated they would survive at the most another twenty years! “That was over a century ago and they are still there,” he said. In 2004 Gael Metroz graduated in French Literature, Philosophy and Art History at the University of Lausanne. He has been awarded with many literary prizes, such as the Prix de la Sorge in 2004 and the Prix Nicolas Bouvier in 2008. After writing and directing the play L’Enfant Dechu, he decided to focus on his career as an author, director and journalist. In order to let the journey around the world come to an expression through images, Metroz didn’t stop filming while he travelled to Ethiopia, Sudan, Egypt, Burma, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, India and Nepal. While working as a journalist, he published his experiences on television, on the radio and in several newspapers.


We do not need any lecture on democracy: PM

We do not need any lecture on democracy: PM

By Our Correspondent

DASU: Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf while referring to the government’s critics said that it did not need any lessons on democracy. The prime minister laid the foundation stone for the Rs2 billion, 63-km-long Thakot-Dasu road and vowed to continue development work for the masses and the Benazir Income Support Program (BISP), despite opposition. Addressing a gathering after the ceremony, Raja announced a 40 percent raise in the “Hard Area Allowance” for Kohistan. He also directed WAPDA chairman to immediately fulfil the promises made to the local people and warned of swift action in case of non-compliance. The prime minister directed repair of local schools by the Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Agency (ERRA) and promised increase in quota of the area in medical and engineering colleges. Raja was earlier briefed about the Thakot-Dasu road, which will be constructed in 30 months and provide an easy access to the 4,320MW Dasu Power Project, besides serving as an alternative route to the Karakoram Highway. The prime minister strongly dismissed criticism against the developmental projects of the government. “We will not stop serving the masses or stop developmental work as it benefits them.” He also rejected the criticism against the Benazir Income Support Program and said it was a service for the poorest of the poor and will not be allowed to end. He said the people of Pakistan will continue to support this programme, through the power of the ballot. Raja said BISP will continue and will further expand. He told those who were criticising it that the government will raise the disbursement amount to Rs 5,000 and even Rs 10,000. Prime Minister Raja said the government did not have time to indulge in mudslinging or counter the propaganda of the critics, as it was busy initiating developmental projects for the masses. “There is no need to teach us what is democracy and how to serve the masses,” he said while referring to the critics on television talk shows. “We are not among those who run away, we will stand up and fight the critics and prove that the people of Pakistan see the PPP as a sign of hope that will not shy from any sacrifice in serving them,” Raja asserted. He lauded the work of MNA Mehboobullah Jan for initiating the arduous task of constructing 29 roads in a difficult terrain. He accepted all the demands put forward by Mehboobullah Jan and said he understands the problems he raised. The prime minister also raised slogans of “Jeay Bhutto” and asked the gathering to vote for the PPP so that the developmental projects could continue. Prime Minister Raja said the beautiful and serene surroundings of the area served as an attraction for the tourists from around the world, besides an important link to the Central Asian Republics. He said it was his desire to meet the people of Kohistan, who were ardent supporters of the PPP. He said he too was an ordinary worker of the PPP and believed in the vision of its leaders Zufikar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto. Raja also noted that the PPP had begun its current tenure in very difficult times.

GB a separate entity” GBUM

GB a separate entity” GBUM

By Our Correspondent

SKARDU: Chairman Gilgit-Baltistan United Movement (GBUM) Manzoor Husain Parwana has said that Gilgit-Baltistan is neither part of Kashmir nor Pakistan. Those who are trying to link the region with any other country are wrong. He said that Gilgit-Baltistan was a party to the issue of Kashmir but it is not part of the state of Kashmir. Gilgit-Baltistan has its own geographical, historical, cultural and political history and significance and its people are a separate nation. Mr Parwana said that the decision of the parliamentary committee of Pakistan not to make Gilgit-Baltistan a province of Pakistan was correct and the people of the region welcomed it. He said that the people of Gilgit-Baltistan by all definitions were a separate nation and fulfil the criteria to have a separate state of their own. Making the region a province of any country will be an injustice with the two million people of the area, he maintained. The parliamentary committee decision also vindicated the long-standing stance of the nationalist parties of Gilgit-Baltistan that the region was not constitutional part of Pakistan, he added. The GBUM chief said that had it been possible to make the region a separate province Zulfikar Ali Bhutto could have make it. He said those who were trying to merge the region with Kashmir or Pakistan on the basis of some sectarian considerations were doing no service to the people. Because of such an approach, the people of the region have been deprived of their basic rights for the last over six decades, he added.

Billions of rupees corruption alleged

By Our Correspondent….

CHITRAL: The former general secretary of PPP Chitral district, Syed Sardar Hussain Shah, has decided to file a lawsuit against rampant corruption in different departments at Mastuj tehsil. Talking to this correspondent here, he said the officers of different public works departments, including C&W, irrigation, defunct TMA and public health engineering, made a duck and drakes of the public money meant for development projects in different sectors development. He alleged that hundreds of millions of rupees have been embezzled in the development schemes of road, irrigation, drinking water and flood protection works by the contractors with the collusion of government officials. Mr. Shah said that the most of the corruption have been made in road construction work and named Booni-Shandur road and Booni-Buzund road in which payments of a huge amount of about 310 million have been paid to the contractors without any work on the site. He said that in the Booni-Shandur road alone, 240 million rupees were paid by the C&W department for widening and blacktopping of the road but not an inch of the road has been completed. He said that the government had allocated a huge amount of 70 million rupees for the channelization of Booni town to safe it from the impending danger of glacial outburst but no tangible amount of work can be seen on the site and the town is still imperiled by the flood. The PPP leader said that the local elected representatives did not bother to take any notice of the rampant corruption and said that the local MPA doled out hundreds of millions of rupees among his near and dear ones through the TMA Mastuj. He alleged large scale corruption at the behest of the local MPA in the TMA and said that to conceal their wrong doings, the very records of public works have been removed from the office. He said that two irrigation channels in the tehsil namely Khandan irrigation channel and Atahk irrigation channel have also failed after payment of 314 millions of rupees to the contractors by the irrigation department. Mr. Shah said that he will pursue the case of corruption of public funds in the NAB and said that the culprits should be punished and made example for others so that no one in future could dare to do so. He said that although the successive governments have provided development funds to the area but these were embezzled by the coterie of contractors and the officials of public work departments with the result that the tehsil is devoid of basic facilities.


BNF slams propaganda against nationalists

BNF slams propaganda against nationalists

Baang Report

BANGKOK (THAILAND): A three-member delegation of the Balawaristan National Front (BNF) from Giligt-Baltistan met the exiled chairman of the BNF, Abdul Hamid Khan, at Bangkok and apprised him of the current political situation in the region. This was for the first time that such a delegation met the chairman since he went into exile to avoid persecution in 1999. The delegation was led by former president of the BNF Safdar Ali and comprised former central general of the party Burhanullah and ex-general secretary BNF Ghizer Qayyum Khan. During the meeting, the BNF chief briefed the delegation about his efforts to highlight the issue of the region in Geneva and Brussels. The meeting also discussed the possibility of the chairman’s return from exile. The chairman of the BNF expressed his desire to return to the country but it was agreed that a final decision would be taken after consulting all friends and party leaders. Mr Abdul Hamid Khan once again made it clear that he was never against the solidarity and integrity of Pakistan but had been working to highlight the issues of Balawaristan (Gilgit-Baltistan), Ladakh, Shenaki Kohistan and Chitral and enable them to live like other nationalities of India and Pakistan with dignity and respect. The BNF leaders in the meeting strongly condemned state-sponsored propaganda against the nationalists of the region, especially the BNF. They also demanded that the injustices and ‘ethnic cleansing’ of the indigenous people of Gilgit-Baltistan should be stopped. They also said that patronage and sponsoring of killers and terrorists should be stopped and the government should bring all such elements to justice and provide safety to the people of the region. They also said that the practice of killing the youth of Gilgit-Baltistan in other parts of the country should be stopped. The BNF leaders also said that the state-sponsored sectarian killing started in 1971 should come to an end and the government should stop the practice of dividing the political, religious and even public sector employees on sectarian lines. The government of Pakistan instead of becoming a part of the internal and external conspiracies should focus on its duty of defending the international borders of the area. The Pakistan government should also stop looking at the people of Gilgit-Baltistan suspiciously and transfer all the powers to the region so that the indigenous people can manage their own affairs in accordance with their aspirations. “The BNF would like to reiterate its stance that it is not against the solidarity and integrity of Pakistan. Pakistan can safeguard its interest by using its army to defend the international borders instead of deploying it among the people.” The leaders said that the BNF supports the dialogue process between India and Pakistan but at the same time it clarified that no decision reached at by the two countries would be acceptable until and unless the opinions of the people of Gilgit-Baltistan was solicited through an internationally-recognized and a transparent process. The BNF leaders also demanded that in order to include the people of Gilgit-Baltistan in the peace talk process, the routes between connecting the region with Ladakh and Kashmir should be opened. Besides, they also called upon the government of Pakistan to open the old trade routes between Gilgit-Baltistan and the Central Asian states. They said until the political status of Gilgit-Baltistan is determined under the international law Pakistan should stop implementation of capital punishment in the region. They said that no justice system can work to provide justice if it is established under a package. It would be a slap on the spirit of the justice system. The meeting vowed that the people of the region would continue their struggle until and unless they were given all the powers to manage and run their socio-economic and political affairs on their own. The meeting also opposed and condemned registration of treason cases against the BNF chairman Abdul Hamid Khan and others and said that the practice to prolong the outside rule in the region by implicating the indigenous people in fabricated cases should come to an end. They said that both India and Pakistan should play their democratic roles in ensuring the right of representation to the people of Gilgit-Baltistan. The BNF leaders also decided to mobilize the people of the region for expediting the movement to achieve their rights denied to them for the last over six decades.

BANG-E-SAHAR—-In the twilight night heralds a SHIMMERING dawn

About Us

As the constitutional and political status of Gilgit-Baltistan has remained in limbo for over six decades, violation of basic human rights is a common norm in the constitutional starved land including the curbs on freedom of speech. An unseen shackle remains coiled around the local press in the form of financial constraints whereas access of international press is either very limited or dose not exist at all.

Keeping in view the violation of basic human rights and the obstacles that lay in the way of a free press in the region, Bang-e-Sahar started its publication in the form of a monthly magazine from Karachi. The fearless and bold policies of the magazine unearthed an endless tale of bulldozing of basic human rights, massive corruption and financial embezzlements and ruthless bloodshed in the name of either religious beliefs or an assumed and self invented fake national identity. These achievements made the magazine a widely read and people termed it their sole representative but applauds and embracing from the largest segment of the society invited the wrath of a small but powerful segment well known as the establishment.

The establishment left no stone unturned to bare the publication of the magazine and detract its publisher from his stance. These were the most difficult times for Bang-e-Sahar as copies of the magazine went mysteriously ‘missing, before reaching the market while the publisher was implicated in a number of fake cases some of which are still pending in various courts of Gilgit-Baltistan. Even the people associated with the magazine were not spared as various free lance contributors, reporters and press people were physically assaulted and mentally tortured by creating hurdles for their families as firing their loved ones from government jobs and making obnoxious threatening calls to their family members.

The magazine, despite all the barriers went ahead without accepting a slightest shift in its policies and in 2007 it changed it status from a monthly publication to a weekly newspaper while following the noble legacy of the magazine. The new shape of the publication as a weekly paper too gained the support of the masses and it is evident from the fact that the weekly paper had a circulation more than the collective circulation of all the weekly and daily local publications of Gigit-Baltistan.

The milestones of success did not lasted here and the weekly paper started its daily publication from Ghizer district of Gilgit-Baltistan on 21st March 2010. Bange Sahar believes in following professional ethics while performing its duties and its slogan of bringing the wrongdoings by the political bigwigs and establishment of the region to the court of the masses and the international community no matter at what cost.

Bang-e-Sahar secured yet another feather to its cap as it started publication of an English weekly Baang thus taking the shape of a group of publication registered as Sahar Publishing Network (SPN).

The team well come’s intellectuals, lawyers, politicians, journalists, students and the common masses of the region to join in Bang-e-Sahar to fulfill its mission of voicing the woes of an enslaved nation and struggle to uncoil the shackles that have tied the region for over six decades.

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Kashmir issue a victim of topsy-turvy policies: Shaukat

Kashmir issue a victim of topsy-turvy policies: Shaukat

Weekly Bang-e-Sahar karachi Saturday, September 13——-September 19, 2008

BRUSSELS: The World Vision’s bureau chief at Brussels Mr Manzar Aqeel Haider held a meeting with Kashmir People’s National Party Chairman Sardar Shaukat Ali Kahmiri at the Belgian capital and discussed various important issues including the Kashmir dispute.
In reply to a question, Mr Kashmiri said the present impasse in Kashmir was a continuation of history and past happenings in the region though the nature of the war has changed. Today the intra-capital turmoil has come to the fore at the international level as compared to the Cold War era in which the situation was quite different. At that time the world was divided into two blocs of the United Sates and the then USSR. During the Cold War too, many countries under the leadership of India formed the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) in order to keep their nations out of the imbroglio of the two-bloc confrontation.
He said today’s situation is a result of the struggle between the `war capital’ and `consumer capital’ to hold their monopoly on the major world markets. He said the industry and capital based on war paraphernalia and trade would want to see major world disputes remain unresolved and new ones cropped up. On the contrary, the consumer capital would like to see peace prevailing in the world, democracy promoted and nations getting on track to economic progress, so that industries and people engaged in the sector got boosted. So, the consumer capital is always out to promote peace in the world for its own interest.
“When we look at the political situation in Pakistan, it becomes clear that the policy makers, secret agencies and the armed forces are still mired in the romance of the Cold War era, when international capitalism was supporting the rulers of the day to facilitate their win against the then USSR. However, after the disintegration of the USSR, when the so-called mujahidden fighting the proxy war became irrelevant the war took a different turn. The erstwhile allies of the US – the military and the so-called mujahideen – started looking at the US policy change as a betrayal and took arms against it. They thought that they had not only defeated the mighty USSR but also caused its disintegration. In this haughtiness, they thought that fighting and defeating India in a similar way would not be a problem for them. However, the result of that is now very clear.”
Another aspect of the game is that today a number of countries including the US, China and Saudi Arabia are playing with the Pakistani people’s desire to ensure their basic political, economic, social rights and judicial independence in order to promote their own economic, political and world agendas.
“I can say that it was the expanding nature of capital that despite coming face to face on a number of occasions, especially after banned Lashkar-i-Tayyaba attacked the Indian parliament in 2004, India and Pakistan avoided war. Later, both the countries opened Line of Control (LoC) at some selected points, leading to opening of a bus service between them after over half a century. Many delegations are visiting each other’s countries and foreign firms especially from the US are opening their outlets in India and Pakistan. However, to extend the trade to all the three parts of Kashmir – the valley, Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan – is not acceptable to some elements who want the areas remain strife stricken. Inside Pakistan elements like Lashkar Tayyaba and Jihad Council are the continuation of such an international agenda.”
Answering a question about Kashmir, he said if we look at the issue in the perspective of its constitutional and legal points, it becomes clear that it is an issue between the people of Kashmir and the government of India, while Pakistan by virtue of its being a neighbor has become a self-appointed advocate of the issue. He said despite making tall claims on the United Nations resolutions on Kashmir, Pakistan has failed to implement the resolutions of the UN Commission for India and Pakistan (UNCIP) including the ceasefire agreement to resolve the issue.
According to the resolutions, he added, Pakistan was to withdraw its troops and civilian officials from Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan and hand over local administration to the people of the region. While recognizing Srinagar as a representative government, India was allowed to keep a bulk (more than half) of its troops in the state to maintain law and order. Ironically, till 1953 Pakistan kept on denying the fact that it had deployed troops in the areas.
The ice was broken when a UN team arrived in Karachi to check the situation on the ground and was told by Pakistan that withdrawal of troops from the region was not possible and that it should be given more time to do so. However, Pakistan could not fulfil its promise made with the international community and the people of Gilgit-Baltistan even after the passage of over 60 years, putting all the blame for non-implementation of the UN resolutions on India.
As far as Indian troops’ presence in the valley is concerned, if they were there to kill the people no Kashmiri Muslim could have been alive after 61 years. The war there has been started by the agents of the upper class of Pakistan and the extremists and those elements who use religion as a weapon are responsible for the destruction. This is the reason that Indian troops who were until recently confined to their barracks have now started intruding houses.
The so-called political leaders of Kashmir are also responsible for the mess. Due to the particular geographical, political, economic and religious characteristics of Kashmir no group or political entity can achieve anything by fighting another group.
On the other hand, the two million people of Gilgit-Baltistan even today remain deprived of their basic constitutional, political, economic and human rights. The officials of the Kashmir and Northern Areas ministry and the so-called legislative assembly treat the people like slaves. The government of Azad Kashmir and its departments are also powerless and are at the mercy of the Kashmir division, where even a lowly section officer calls the shots.
If we accept that Pakistan supports the Kashmiris’ right to self-determination then why it has denied the same rights to the people of Gilgit-Baltistan for the last over six decades. The general secretary of the party’s Belgium chapter, Jameel Maqsood was also present on the occasion.

Srinagar as a representative government, India was allowed to keep a bulk (more than half) of its troops in the state to maintain law and order. Ironically, till 1953 Pakistan kept on denying the fact that it had deployed troops in the areas.
The ice was broken when a UN team arrived in Karachi to check the situation on the ground and was told by Pakistan that withdrawal of troops from the region was not possible and that it should be given more time to do so. However, Pakistan could not fulfil its promise made with the international community and the people of Gilgit-Baltistan even after the passage of over 60 years, putting all the blame for non-implementation of the UN resolutions on India.
As far as Indian troops’ presence in the valley is concerned, if they were there to kill the people no Kashmiri Muslim could have been alive after 61 years. The war there has been started by the agents of the upper class of Pakistan and the extremists and those elements who use religion as a weapon are responsible for the destruction. This is the reason that Indian troops who were until recently confined to their barracks have now started intruding houses.
The so-called political leaders of Kashmir are also responsible for the mess. Due to the particular geographical, political, economic and religious characteristics of Kashmir no group or political entity can achieve anything by fighting another group.
On the other hand, the two million people of Gilgit-Baltistan even today remain deprived of their basic constitutional, political, economic and human rights. The officials of the Kashmir and Northern Areas ministry and the so-called legislative assembly treat the people like slaves. The government of Azad Kashmir and its departments are also powerless and are at the mercy of the Kashmir division, where even a lowly section officer calls the shots.
If we accept that Pakistan supports the Kashmiris’ right to self-determination then why it has denied the same rights to the people of Gilgit-Baltistan for the last over six decades. The general secretary of the party’s Belgium chapter, Jameel Maqsood was also present on the occasion.