Need for a new social contract
Gilgit Baltistan has been the epicenter of international conspiracies ever since because of its unique geography. When the pages of history are turned it will become clear that the region has always suffered political, social, religious, historical and geographical changes due to international conspiracies but these changes took place without efforts or will of the local population. The region at times has functioned as a whole state and at times different small states disintegrated from it. The region has come on the world map as Brooshal and Dardistan and at times it has become one grand state known as Bolor while the neighboring states have always had an eye on the region and waited for a proper time to attack.After 1860 the region went under consecutive slaveries and sieges and this process continued for last 140 years. The current era of slavery started after death of the great warrior Gohar Aman and is elongating ever since. Soon after demise of Raja Gohar Aman, political deterioration and disintegration of state started in the region. Maharaja of Kashmir was waiting for a proper time to conquer the region even in the life of Raja Gohar Aman and his demise provided the Maharaja with a golden opportunity to make a distant dream come true and he succeeded in splitting the region into two main ministries. It was during this era that political changes started to take place in Russia and China which created a panic among the imperialists. After 1935 when the west started conspiracies to stop socialism and in order to implement its policies, its eyes rested on Gilgit Baltistan. In the notorious lease pact the people of Gilgit agency too were sold or given at lease along with the land of the region which became known as the ‘great game’ and this conspiracy was referred to by John Key in his book written in 1890. In the early forties when the Second World War when Britain faced tragic defeat and the English finally decided to leave subcontinent. They cloned from the state they ruled a fake and unnatural land in order to create suitable environment for fulfillment of there notorious agendas against socialism but still they saw there efforts failing due to Gilgit agency. The mid 40s was the decade of independence of nations and the people of Gilgit Baltistan too fought for their independence freeing there land from the Maharaja of Kashmir. Understanding nature of the issue English sabotaged their fresh gained independence. The newly born country created from a province was demolished within 16 days by English major and a Pakistani ‘C’ class magistrate. The morning of 16th November brought with it long era of slavery. Today after a lapse of 61 years the slavery is coming to a no end but elongating with the passage of time. Two generations have spent there lives dreaming of independence. After seize fire of 1948 the regions fate was attached with that of Kashmir. United Nations passed a number of resolutions on Kashmir dispute while the governments of Pakistan and India too settled on secret agreements through back door diplomacy but nothing proved fruitful. 15 million people are suffering due to this rivalry of India and Pakistan while both the countries are accusing each other as the route cause of the issue. No one is ready to settle on minus one just for there own ego. If any one looses in this hide and seek game that is population of Kashmir, they are deprived of there basic rights and the people have nothing but to wait for the decision of their fate. After resolution of the United Nations the people of the region were penning hopes with it but the irresponsible attitude of the institution for 61 years has faded away the hopes that people of Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan had penned with. After 2001 the composite dialogues between India and Pakistan had some how reprieved the hope in these people but sad events after 6 years once again drowned the hopes and dreams of these people. Due to attachment of the region with Kashmir dispute nationalists of the region are forced to struggle with Kashmir’s. the progress from local to international level after 2002 has strengthened the hopes of the people at one hand while on the other hand they are expressing there reservations as they fear that after gaining independence they might go into the slavery of Kashmir this time and like wise they might fall to the slavery of Sirinagar. Nationalists have no option but to remain attached with Kashmir according to the resolutions of the United Nations. we are of the view that the right time has came for now that the nationalist movements of Gilgit Baltistan should sign a ‘sociological agreement’ with the Kashmir nationalist movements that can guarantee and safeguard rights of Gilgit Baltistan. It should be made so that after gaining independence the people of the region may get the right to decide there fate as to function as independent state or continue as a confederation with Kashmir state. If the people of Gilgit Baltistan do not feel comfortable in confederation they may have the right to vote in a referendum and get there need. After sociological agreement Kashmir should accept Gilgit Baltistan as an independent state if they vote for an independent state in referendum. Such agreements have remained part of all the independence movements around the globe and it has succeeded always, an example of which is USSR confederation. When the people of Central Asia did not want to go along with USSR they spelt away without any blood shed. So this agreement is necessity of the time so that the people of the region may get answer to the innumerable questions that rise in the minds of the people regarding there future.
Chinese new design to occupy Gilgit Baltistan
BNF chief urges world community to take notice
By Our Correspondent
Brussels: Chairman Balawaristan National Front Abdul Hamid Khan has urged upon world community to persuade China not to involve itself in the occupation process of Pakistan by leasing the mountains and by constructing Railways and Dams to change the environment, demography and geography of Gilgit Baltistan. “And process of this occupation is already underway with the huge presence of Chinese national in our Area” he added. Addressing an international conference on cultural heritage of Kashmiri people he extended condolences to the victim’s families of the Mumbai carnage and said it is a fact that the so called democratic government in Pakistan is subservient of the Pakistani Military and is totally unaware of ISI’s covert acts of terror including the recent in Mumbai.He said in former state Jammu and Kashmir, Chitral was part of Maharaja Suzerainty which is now Part of NWFP. He stressed establishment of impartial judiciary in the region and said there was no credible institution in the Area including political system that may assure an independent judiciary which is vital to provide justice and protect the rights and freedoms of the people. “Neither the people have the right to appeal in any Court of Pakistan nor do they have their own High Court and Supreme Court” he added saying in the absence of proper and Impartial Judiciary and Public Representation no question of good governance arises.He said Gilgit Baltistan is ruled by the occupying regime of Pakistan and it’s Military and the people have no Political representation either in Pakistan or in Gilgit Baltistan. Slamming the so-called Northern Areas Legislative Assembly he said it is a mere impotent body that is run and controlled by Pakistan Minister for Kashmir and Northern Areas.He said this region is treated as colony of Pakistan even in the 21st Century.Shedding light over the injustice and violation of Fundamental rights in the region he said this is the only part of the world, where 2 million indigenous people including local Police, Judiciary, Administration, Education and all government departments are facing worst kind of annihilation due to the discriminatory policies of successive Pakistani regimes. Criticizing installation of Nuclear weapons at Skardu Airport he said it can be dangerous to the whole area, as there were Terrorist training camps in Ghowadi in Baltistan and other nearest areas like Domail and Minimarg of Astore. He said Pakistan has plan to depute more than 100,000 strong Military besides ISI and other intelligence agencies and terrorists in the Area. “The deputation of this huge Military will be detrimental to the existence of the local indigenous people on one side and to the world peace and stability because of its habit to establish terrorist network on the other” he added. He said there were some evidences of presence of Osama in Chitral and then shifting him to Darel of Gilgit in 2002 is a clear indication that Pakistan uses this disputed land to promote its terrorist agenda against the will of the people.Talking about construction of vrious dams in the region he said The designs of Pakistan to construct huge Dams in Diamar, Skardu, Bunji and Henzel Gilgit by the help of China was just to submerge the vast area and displacing indigenous people and destroying its unique heritage, history, culture and natural atmosphere. He said Bhasha Diamar Dam’s reservoir, located in Diamer, would submerge 110 kilometers with the height of 270 meter of the Karakoram Highway and around 80,000 people would be displaced and about 200KM area up to Gilgit town will be submerged. “This will destroy the oldest Bhudha civilization besides other ancient civilization” he added.Pakistan also have the plan to build dam in Skardu by submerging 300,000 aboriginal population of this disputed area for its own benefits.750 feet high Skardu Dam will submerge not only the whole Skardu city along with its historical and secret religious places and forts but minerals and ancient houses of the whole Baltistan including Kharmang, Shigar, Khapolu, and many places of Rundo will be vanished from the earth forever. Pakistan is also building a 3rd Dam in Bonji on river Indus without consulting of the people, who have no representation anywhere in the world, neither in Pakistan, India nor in the UNO. It will be Great loss to our environment, wild life, minerals and both semi and precious stones worth of billions of Rupees. As far population is concern 80,000 in Population of Diamar Bhasha Dam, 80,000, Skardu dam 200, 000, and about 30,000 in Bunji dam will be displaced, who are in indigenous people of this land. Pakistan is also trying to construct Railway by cutting and destroying the beautiful mountainous with the help of China for their own interest without any legal authority. Talking about the historical background of the region he said China had already occupied Taghdumbash and Raskam areas of Hunza including Azghar, Kuktash, Arsar, Uprang, Uruklu,Aliksu, Tashmani and Aksu, which were part and parcel of Hunza, besides a major part of Shimshal Hunza has been ceded to China by Pakistan in 1963 for the construction of KKH, which is mostly used for the Military purpose between the two countries . Commenting on violation of UN resolutions in Gilgit Baltistan he said in spite of the fact that the region does not fall into the jurisdiction and constitution of Pakistan and its imposed laws, Pakistan has deputed 30000 regular troops, 5000 militia, 5000 members of Intelligence Agencies besides its 40000 armed civilians instead of withdrawing forces and civilians in 12 weeks according to UN Truce Terms of 28th April 1949. He said Gilgit Baltistan is an important area of disputed Jammu & Kashmir because it borders with China, Afghanistan, Central Asia (Tajikistan Uzbekistan), India and Pakistan, whose fate is still to be decided according to the 1948-49 UNCIP resolutions. He said Pakistan is also strengthening its occupation by giving more than 2000 leases of the highest mountains which are full of precious and industrial mines to China and its own national illegally by violating UNCIP.He said State Subject Rule is still strictly observed on both side of Jammu & Kashmir, except Gilgit Baltistan and accused that Pakistan is settling its own extremist as well as Afghani, Chinese and other extremist nationals, with the intention to change the demography of the local indigenous people.He appealed UNO and European Union to press Pakistan to withdraw its troops and citizens , according UNCIP resolution of 13 August 1947, 5 Jan 1949 and 28 April 1949 Truce Terms. “Violations of state subject rule should be declared as null, and void and violators should be sent back to their own countries” he demanded. He appealed on behalf of the people of Gilgit Baltistan appealed to the UNO, USA and European Union through the Conference to request Chinese government to handover the territories of Hunza which have been occupied for the long time and not indulge itself in the internal affairs of Gilgit Baltistan. He demanded of the European Union and world bodies to establish a Constitutional Assembly for carrying out the eviction process of Pakistani forces and civilians to pave the way for a representative and democratic government in Gilgit Baltistan as well as in the Azad Kashmir under the supervision of UN and EU. “it should not be subservient to government of Pakistan, its Army or any of its institution” he added.
Electricity, Petrol and Wheat shortage
Thousands protest against District Administration
By our correspondentAstore: Thousands gathered to protest against flour, electricity and petroleum shortage at Pareshan Chowk despite the sever chill on the call of municipal members, Astore Youth Forum, Kakarurum National Movement, Pakistan Peoples Party and Muslim League-N.Protestors held banners inscribed with words demanding tourism advisor Abdul Hamed Khan to ‘stop unnecessary interference in the maters of district administration’ and chanted slogans against the irresponsible attitude of district administration towards public issues while accused it of playing at the hands of tourism advisor.Addressing the gathering chairman Karakurum National Moment Iqbal Advocate said Astore was being treated as a no mans land due to which corruption was at its peak in government institutions but Public representatives are busy running after there personal benefits due to which the public issues go unnoticed. He demanded of the government to take immediate notice of the alarming situation and said the public can go rampant otherwise. Vice president PPP Astore city and member Municipal committee, Abdullah Khan while addressing the gathering said on one hand is the shortage of petroleum, flour and electricity while on the other hand tourism advisor had besieged the district administration. He said no individual had the right to play with the fate of public of Astore and for now the public awareness has risen and no one will be allowed to play hide and seek with the mass here for mere public interests.Abdul Hali of Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz group, slammed district administration and tourism advisor for using government machinery for there own personal interests and demanded action against those black marketing flour in his speech. General Secretary PPP Astore Wazir Ibadat Ali advocate said due to the negligence of Public Works Department (PWD) and Food Department mass of Astore were suffering but nobody bothered to ask the mentioned departments and it is clear that there was nothing like rule of law in the district. He accused tourism advisor for using flour depot’s building to dump municipal committee’s machinery.
BNF to present its ‘political and economic road map’
By our correspondent
Gilgit: “we have succeded in addressing the national issue of Gilgit Baltistan at international level and now with more amendments in the party manifesto we will present a well defined political and economic road map in front of the mass of Gilgit Baltistan”. These views were expressed by Burhan Ullah senior leader of Balawaristan national front in a press statement issued from the party’s central office. He said we believe in national democratic revolution in Gilgit Baltistan and making this the very foundations of our philosophy we are struggling for its practical implementation in the region. He said paper work was under way for good functioning of institutions after establishment of state and very soon we will make a committee to work on it that is why colleges and universities were more focused so that the new generations can come to know about the glorious history of their ancestors. He said it was his firm belief that the young and coming generations will bring good name to their region like all other civilized nations and added that today’s global village stands on the very foundations of it.
Up-lift of Ghizer-Tajikistan route demanded
By our correspondent
Gilgit: Senior nationalist Sher Ali advocate has demanded the government to immediately start work on Ghizer Tajiskistan route and said it will in no way affect business on Pak China border. ‘It will bring an economic revolution to the region instead’ he said adding that delaying the project was equal to economic massacre of the region. He said construction of the route requires less amount as the distance the distance from Gilgit to Ganj Hai was small besides the countries of East Asia are rich in fuel. ‘Gas, electricity and coal can be imported from there and the fuel crisis is not only a problem of Gilgit Baltistan but Pakistan too is haunted by the issue’ he observed. He said the road has more benefits than KKH and condemned the government for making the project a failure. He said the PPP government has carried out survey of the route in 1993 and now as it is again in power it should carry along with the project as it was in the interest of the country.
Anti-doubling drivePolitical and religious parties urged to stand against
By our correspondent
Gilgit: Deputy Amir Jameat Ulemai Islam Gilgit Moulana Maqsood Ahmed has said that tax cannot be implemented in Gilgit Baltistan in accordance with the international laws. He said the local administration’s drive against theft vehicles is an enigma in itself as on what logic did it regards vehicles being legal or illegal. He said the system of traffic is badly affected by this drive. While talking to Bange Sahar he said the local administration has no right to regard vehicles as legal or illegal when the region’s legality itself is disputed. He condemned the drive against theft vehicles by the local administration and termed it a means to earn pocket money as it was the usual habit of traffic police to harass innocent people and demand money for no legitimate reason.He said traffic system of the region is badly affected by this drive and suggested the police to check driving licenses instead, he accused the traffic police department for issuing licenses without checking legal requirements of the applicant and said his party will protest against this drive. He said in today’s crises laden world this act of the administration is another addition to the problems of the mass of Gilgit Baltistan. He urged all political and religious groups of the region to get united against this drive of the local administration.BNF,s stanceleaders of Balawaristan National Front have condemned the drive against theft vehicles and demanded an immediate stop to it. They said even after crossing ten barriers these vehicles were not different from non custom paid (NCP) vehicles. They demanded the local administration to register the vehicles and said it was economic massacre of the region. “The local administration is depriving people form there earnings in the name of doubling but will they bother to tell hope is there triple existence in the region legal”? Observed Safdar Ali, spokesman of Balawaristan National Front. Ali Haider Taj said depriving people of there vehicles is in no way a legal or ethical act and added that the party along with other nationalist parties and mass of the region will start a long lasting protest against the drive if this is continued. Burhan ullah said I want to make clear to the administration to register the vehicles and give them back to there owners other wise no move of the local administration will meet success.
`Those without a political destination are opposing our movement`: GBDA
By our correspondentGilgit: leaders of Gilgit Baltistan Democratic Alliance have said that those opposing our movement have no knowledge of there own political destination. While condemning the statement published in a local weekly against the alliance, they said the people chanting slogans of there honesty with Pakistan have strong ties with Taliban and these are the people whose ancestors had opposed creation of Pakistan. They said we neither are against any county nor have are we plotting against anyone. “We are struggling for our independence which is our very right and mission and no body can stop us from this” they observed. They said those opposing us have no knowledge of there own political destiny and are riding two boats at once. They said these people are on one hand chanting slogans of there loyalty with Pakistan on the other hand they have close ties with anti Pakistan Taliban forces. They said nobody can stop GBDA from gaining its aim.
The case of Boloristan and its future prospects
By Tahir Jan Hunzai
Today Bolor region is facing problems squarely; one hand it is confronting social and economic problems while on the other hand its national integrity too is at stake. If events persist in this order it won’t be wrong to say that like the past, Baloristan will split into many fragments. The way in which Chitral and Kohistan were cut off from our region there is an equal possibility that parts will be disintegrated from Balosristan now or in the near future and the mass like the past will not be able to do anything but watch the region gradually disintegrate into small fragments. Linguistic discrimination has become an integral part of our nature and instead of thinking for our own integrity, our religious contractors are praying hard for the integrity of our masters instead. Namberdars and headers are waiting for opportunity to serve there masters. Our hired militia is mad waiting for the time when it can give away whatever he owes in the name of its master and personnel of the intelligence agencies are hunting for patriotic nationalist’s activists. God forbids if we get alternate masters in lieu of the long waited independence these people will be equal loyal to the new masters and will go the very lengths to please there master. Question arises that how this situation was created in ‘darkens of the night’ to get an answer we need to turn the pages of history. And history reveals that this situation was completed in three distinct phases. These phases are the era before 1842 and second phase constitutes the time from 1842 to 1891 while the third phase comprises time from 1891 to 1947. We were independent till 1842 and our rulers were hard core patriots along with our Numberdars, Haveldars and the state machinery of the independent states. We were economically weak but had a strong position regarding independence and nobody had the guts to prove us weak on the national question. We were considered to be the bravest on earth and states of Hunza, Yaseen and Nagar’s bravery were famous in Sirinagar. According to Ghansara Singh “the people of this region were without doubt fighting with one another but were united whenever foreign invader came and this was the very logic of there independence”. Enmity was created among mass of the state when to save the kingdom of Gilgit Raja Karim Jan took aid from Sikhs and from this started a chain of our slavery and the local rulers started asking for aid to fight against other local rulers. When Raja Karim Khan sought aid from Sikhs, brave rulers like Gohar Aman of Yaseen and Safdar Ali of Hunza turned every stone to force Sikhs leave the region and the time from 1812 to 1891 passed in wars for independence and this was the time when our fate was to be decided but considering the strategic importance of the region the English imperialists with the aid of Sikhs, Dogar and Gorkha army fought a bloody war at Nilt resulting in surrender of Hunza and Nagar. This war fought at Nilt was fought between British army, Sikhs and Dogras with the combined forces of Hunza and Nagar. Nagar was defeated after which mass massacre took place at Chilas and then Yaseen as a result a legendary era of this region came to an end and than stated the dark era of slavery and nepotism by the British Raj in the region which till the present is continued. After 1891 Nazeem Khan was appointed Mir (ruler) in Hunza while members of royal family were appointed Governers in the Yaseen state. These governors were mere paid rulers meant to work for the benefits of British Raj and the status of these rulers was nothing more than personal assistants of British imperialists in there respective regions. These governors on the directives of the British Raj harrased there own people and did every thing to demolish the progressive and revolutionary souls in them. As a result of the continuous harassment of the mass of Hunza and Yaseen the people became so astute that nobody can today believe that these are the people who had fought the war of Nilt. From 1891 to 1947/48 these Rajas and Mirs never tried to fight for there own existence but remained loyal; more than the king to there masters instead sent a force in the name of Gilgit Scouts to aid the local mass and Gilgit scout has always been used in the benefit of English rule and against its own people as happened in Chalat these scouts opened fire on there own people. When came the era of 1947/48 these Rajas and Mirs instead of bringing back there own independence provided aid to the British Raj and without any price or promise gave there respective regions of Pakistan neglecting the public opinion. Every year on November 1st, mass of Gilgit Baltistan celebrates Independence Day to make the mass believe that people of the region had fought the war on there own and gained independence on the powers of there own and affiliated to Pakistan after an interim government of 15days. This is a mere fake rather the greatest fraud of history and when incidence of 1st November took place both independence and slavery was waiting the fate of the region in parallel to each other. When Gilgit scouts under leadership of Major Brown arrested Ghansara Singh and announced independence it came the other way and the announced independence proved to be a miserable long lasting slavery in turn. On the very directives of major brown, independence seeker Shah Raes Khan and Captain Mirza Hasan Khan were side lined knowing the fact that Mirza Hassan and Shah Raees Khan were seeking independence. Local rulers were not with this seeking independence and the Gilgit Scout was force of local rulers. In a nutshell, one side were those seeking accession as major Brown, Babar Khan and Shah Khan while on the other hand were those seeking independence as Shah Raes Khan and Shah Khan but later Mirza Hassan claimed that they had fought the war of independence and won but fighting along them were Gilgit scouts and how can Mirza claim that he had fought for independence despite knowing the fact that Gilgit scout was fighting for accession. if this is the fact than Miraza Khan can never be called our national hero as he had not fought for accession but Mirza committed this blander and made himself doubtful…. What should be done now as whatever has happened has happened and we cannot alter the past. when our master were chained in 1948 we once again remained slave or became old slaves under new masters and a political agent of Pakistani rulers came to our region who kept our region literally under siege in the name of black laws as Frontier crimes regulation (FCR) while on the other hand when in 1948 Pakistan and India fought a number of wars on the Kashmir front. according to the resolutions of United Nations seize fire was implemented with the aid of former Soviet socialist block and in the resolutions of United Nations the separate identity of Balosristan was accepted and it was ordered to withdraw foreign troops from the region and it was decided to make a local authority that can govern the region till the solution of Kashmir dispute. Local security will be under control of local Para military forces but we remained ignorant of this entire taking place at the international level. We kept chanting slogans of constituent and rights and the Pakistani establishment too deprived us saying that solving this problem will create problems to the Kashmir cause. There was no questing of any harm to the Kashmir cause but it was said so because Pakistan knew that beurocracy will never get the benefits which were not acceptable to the Pakistani establishment. The so called leadership of Kashmir too showed duplicity and considered Baloristan a hurdle in its way and aided Pakistan to deprive us of our rights. We should demand that local authority should be granted according to the resolution of the United Nations and every feign troops be immediately withdrawn from the region. Demanding so dose not mean that we are coming crime of any sort instead undoing a crime committed by Pakistan which its doing since 61years. we should demand Pakistan to leave us on the position of 1947/48 and only than can the mass of Baloristan take any legal step regarding its fate either it be accession to Pakistan or making an independent state this should not matter to Pakistani rulers and no one has given Pakistan the right to make us live under colonial system in the name of Kashmir cause.
Conference on ‘Cultural heritage of Kashmir’ held
By our correspondent
Brussels: An international conference on cultural heritage of Kashmiri people ended here Thursday night stressing that irrespective of their location, “All people of the former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir share a unique and ancient heritage”.The two-day conference organized by British Member of the European Parliament Baroness Emma Nicholson was attended by representatives of various groups and factions from both sides of the divided Kashmir. At the end of the gathering, the participants issued a declaration expressing their resolve to “forge a peaceful pathway through identifying and implementing a series of steps” that will lead to a prosperous and cohesive future for all Kashmiris wherever they may reside. Emma Nicholson, who authored the European Parliament’s report on Kashmir which was adopted by a vast majority of the EU Assembly in 2007, said the purpose of the conference was to tackle for the first time the creation of a path for peace and prosperity for the people of the former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir .My colleagues here said this is the best ever report (on Kashmir) so what we get next. I thought about it and came to the conclusion that the best offering I could make was to create an institution on the web. It is a club on the web,” she said. Nicholson said she hopes to launch the web within two weeks. “We will work step by step to get peace, prosperity, fundamental freedoms, rule of law,” she added.Sardar Shaukat Ali Kashmiri, chairman of the United Kashmir Peoples National Party, said the conference has formed working groups, which will deal with various issues like rule of law and judiciary reform. “It was a successful conference,” he said. Abdul Hamid Khan, chairman of the Balwaristan National Front, addressing the conference spoke about the “alarming situation of Chinese new design to occupy Gilgit Baltistan with the blessing of Pakistan”. Shabir Choudhury, spokesman of Kashmir National Party, said: “Kashmiri struggle in a view of nationalist Kashmiris is a struggle to get national independence for the state of Jammu and Kashmir, but this should not be done in name of any religion as Kashmir dispute is not religious in nature.”Meanwhile, the Kashmir Centre in Brussels Wednesday organized the fourth annual Human Rights Day celebration luncheon.
Mumbai carnage: time to testPak-India ties
The ever changing drastic and elastic foreign policy and back door diplomacy between Pakistan and India is once again lingering on the shoot signs of terrorists. Bombay bombings have mounted relations of both countries and hands forwarded for friendship are pulled back to traditional hatred and rivalry.The Indian accusation of presence of pro Pakistan elements in Mumbai carnage has put the newly elected Pakistani government in a fix putting a heavy load on its already weak shoulders. It seems from the reaction of Pakistan and India that both the countries are on the verge of war and seem to be preparing for war.Some unseen powers are not happy with President Zardari’s statements regarding Kashmir issue and opening of old routes and these powers bombed Mumbai right at the moment when foreign ministers of Pakistan and India penned down an agreement to reopen Skardu-Kargil route and Khokrapar-Mona Bao.The allegations of both the countries against each other after Mumbai carnage give the impression that both the countries are moving towards war ground from the negotiation tables. This is a universal truth that both Pakistan and India have never been independent in the true sense and the negotiations taking place too were on the behest of unseen hands and that unseen hand directs both countries sometimes to fight and at times to negotiate.As a mater of fact the ties between India and Pakistan seem to be tensed but keeping the ties in this condition of stress in neither in the interest of Pakistan nor India because the force fighting war of America against Taliban in the western border is not free to open another front on the eastern boarder. Even if it gets into war on the western boarder America will never want to let a force fight another war leaving behind America’s war and visit of American foreign secretary of Pakistan and India advocates this view.Pakistan and India never tried to learn any thing from history as the countries have fought bloody wars in the past resulting in no profit and only loss to the governments on both sides. Masses of both the countries were plunged into the ocean of poverty, ignorance and a bleak future.Kargil war is a live example in which the brave army of Gilgit-Baltistan was made to fight against the trained Indian troops and the Pakistani government was forced to go and bow in Washington to stop the ongoing war. After every war commissions are formed but these commissions always come up with nothing. It is either astonishing that neither the aim of war is known or its objectives.This time too the ongoing talks on Kashmir are halted for the time being due to Mumbai carnage and masses of Kashmir including Gilgit-Baltistan are once again drown in the oceans of fear.Every time the terrorist incidents in Pakistan and India are linked with Kashmir issue and heart ranching is the fact that each time so-called jihadi organizations of Kashmir are accused. Nationalist and intelligentsia of Kashmir are of the view that these so-called jihads, fighting for there freedom of Kashmir are the true enemies of impendence of Kashmir because jihad culture has sabotaged the peaceful environ of Kashmir.Masses of Gilgit-Baltistan were very happy with the news of opening of Skardu-Kargil route but Mumbai carnage shattered there dreams and put a full stop to the happiness of the people of the region. Pakistan and Indian governments need to assure the reopening of Skardu-Kargil route, if a blind eye is turned to the opening of the route masses of the region will be right in saying that terrorist are not enemies of Pakistan and India but of Gilgit-Baltistan which never want the divided families to meet.Analysts too are of the view that this region has boarders touching with many borders of the world and it is best known as gateway of Asia. Due to this reason Gilgit-Baltistan has gained attention from the international community and any decision regarding the region can become a part of international politics. Its bad luck of Gilgit-Baltistan and Kashmir that the so-called leaders have always looked towards other people taking decision regarding the region and specially Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan have always been under the trap of bureaucracy and people of these regions have always looked towards Islamabad for decisions and Islamabad itself cannot take any decision on its own it has to look towards Washington.What is needed is that people of Gilgit-Baltistan and Kashmir should make themselves capable of making there own decisions instead of looking towards Islamabad. When Sirinagar, Muzafarabad and Gilgit will be able to decide future of its people in their own cities only then the fate of the region will be changed.
Propagators against nationalistMovements to be resisted: GBDA
By Our Correspondent
GILGIT: Nationalist movements of Gilgit-Baltistan have slammed Chairman Kashmir Committee Maulana Fazlur Rehaman’s disparaging of nationalist movements of Gilgit-Baltistan.Gilgit-Baltistan Democratic Alliance (GBDA) strongly condemned the statement and expressed its concern over the issue terming it an act of Maulana’s “ideological terrorism”. They said both Israel and Pakistan have been created in the name of religion but both are failed states and added that unlike Israel the people of Gilgit-Baltistan do not belong to a special school of thought instead the people living here who speak Shina, Balti, Burushaski, Khuwar and Wakhi language share a common history and culture.They stressed the two million people dwelling here have a glorious geo-political past, a distinct identity and a unique national question on the basis of which our movements struggle for an independent state. They said conspirators are daunted by our movement so are propagating false allegations against us but we do not care and it is our firm belief that independence is the only solution to the problems of the region.They expressed there concern over silence of local leadership regarding the issue and demanded the local leadership to give a solid response to Maulana’s ideological terrorism. They said we want to make it clear that Pakistan not needs to advocate for us in accordance with the Kashmir dispute and the Kashmir committee is not capable of granting our rights.They said only the mass of the region has the right to advocate for and justify there independence so neither we need the analysts of Kashmir committee over our problems nor we want to start from zero after a lapse of sixty one years.”No doubt the progressive and nationalist movements of Gilgit-Baltistan are striving for an independent state and in today’s democratic world a state is not owned by the movements but by the public” they said and added that if the mass of Gilgit-Baltistan are Israelites than the state surely be called an Israelite state they observed.The chairman had alleged that nationalist movements were aimed at turning the region to a mini Israel on behest of the west while addressing a welcome gathering in NA house Islamabad.
Diamer Bhasha to test mantleof new leadership
By Hub Ali Sani
Karachi: The most controversial water reservoir to be built in Gilgit Baltistan known as Diammer-Bhasha dam will test the mantle of new leadership and international analysts have regarded it the greatest challenge for the government.Despite all the technical difficulties and political pressure if the government succeeds in construction of the dam it will be ‘not less a miracle’. The government is facing risks squarely as on side stands political pressures from international community while on the other hand the technically engineered adventure in it self is enigma.According to international analysts, the financial barrier in it self is a great hurdle for as the initial construction requires demolishing of 110km long KKH (Karakurum Highway) and its replacement with an alternate road on the high mountains as height of the dam would be 270 meter and the total area will be 27500 acres.Construction of the dam initially requires up-gradation of the 325km long road from Havellian to the construction site besides 140km long road from Sazan to Rajkot needs to be reconstructed. Linking it with national power grid station Tarebella requires two circuits of 500kw and 250km long transmission lines, these lines will be installed on the dangerous high mountains where risk of landslide and other natural disasters put a no warranty stamp on the equipment and transmission lines. The feasibility report was prepared by a black listed company of Germany with aid from consortium of four other companies and the government has allocated a huge amount of 12.5 billion dollars.Besides causing heavy financial and environmental loss to the region, construction of the dam will have equally an adverse affect on the region’s historical and cultural heritage. Construction of the dam will demolish almost 95% remaining of Buddhism and Brahman stone carvings and other such historical memorials. In the past government had embarked upon a project to preserve the heritage and for this reason an initial fund of five million was granted to the tourism department. Sources say that 38000 stone carvings and ancient manuscript are embedded in the rocks of 90km long road from Darel Tangeer to Raikot and the construction of dam will deprive the region from these ancient manuscripts.Minister for water and power Raja Pervez Ashraf while talking to media men said the dam will provide electricity worth 1.5 billion dollars annually besides providing indirect benefit worth billions to the agriculture sector. He said royalty issue will be resolved on the basis of ‘give and take’ with the people of NWFP and Gilgit Baltistan and added that a comprehensive plan was been made for the settlement of the afectees.It is merit mentioning here that in 1950 when Pakistan decided to built dams Diamer dam was no where in the files of suitable sites besides the 1957 report of World Bank and the 1979 report of WAPDA reservation action plan too has no mention of the controversial dam which adds to controversy and guarantees the disputed nature of the dam. India too has expressed its reservation over the dam and clearly stated that construction of the dam will affect the ongoing Kashmir talks. History is witness that major controversies between Pakistan and India are based on water issues and the past and such issues have drastically changed the position of both countries on international chess board of politics. Pakistan people party had strongly opposed construction of the dam in the past but unlike the past it has taken a u turn on the dam issue and its subordinates in Gilgit Baltistan too are dumb and devoid of any clear cut vision road map.The people too have strong reservations and had demonstrated for there rights many a times but there vows were never heard in the corridors of power like ever but only time will tell in which direction the horse will mount.
Judges appointmentLocals should be givenpriority
By Our Correspondent
Gilgit: Gilgit-Baltistan Bar Association (GBBA) has demanded of the federal government to appoint locals against the vacant posts of judges in the Supreme Appellate Court, Gilgit.In a meeting of the bar chaired by president High Court Bar Association Amjad Hussain advocate here the following day the bar passed a unanimous resolution for immediate filling of the vacant posts in the supreme appellate court.The bar said that people of the region were suffering due to absence of judges but government was doing nothing in this regard. They slammed the PCO judges saying that no PCO judge will be accepted in the supreme appellate court.”The government is benefiting from PCO judges and due to which the local judges and advocates of the region are facing lots of problems”, the deplored. They said that the likely appointment of controversial judge Nawaz Abbasi will ever be accepted and the bar will go the very limits to stop the retired judge’s appointment in the region. They criticized PPP government for nominating retired judges and said due to this act of the federal government the supports of PPP in Gilgit-Baltistan were embarrassed. Senior vice president High Court Bar Association Ateequr Rehman advocate said if any retired non local judge is nominated, the people and the lawyers’ forum will protest.
Put your own house in order first:Fazal told
By Our Correspondent
Lahore: The newly elected president of Balawaristan National Students Organization (BNSO), Lahore Shams u Rehman has condemned chairman Kashmir committee Moulana Fazlur Rehman’s statement and regarded it result of a lack of knowledge.He said from the last sixty one years the people were struggling for there legitimate rights and nobody will be allowed a negative interpretation.’Maulana should first think of his motherland which is constituently a part of Pakistan but writ of the state is sabotaged at every step and the people are fighting with there own army’, he maintained.He said Maulana is habitual of dismantling the truth and when a leading journalist of Jang group, Ansar Abasi uncovered the story of land granted to Maulana in lieu of seventeenth amendment he accused him of spying for the Jews.He suggested that being chairman of Kashmir committee Maulana should visit Gilgit-Baltistan and try to understand depths of the issues. Expressing his concern over the contradictory statements regarding constitutional status and rights, he said there is no mention of Gilgit-Baltistan in the constitution of Pakistan and the judiciary of the country too has termed it a disputed region so government should think carefully before talking about fifth province or Azad Kashmir like set up.He said the political heavy weights of Islamabad talk about issues of Gilgit-Baltistan without bothering to understand the very basics of it and said the leadership of Gilgit- Baltistan to stop bowing before them because solution of the issue is not in the limits of these leaders in the corridors of power.
Thousands protest against police high-handedness
By Our Reporter
Rawalpindi: Thousands of activists belonging to various political, nationalist and religious parties of Gilgit-Baltistan protested against police highhandedness, arrest and implicating of innocent people in a kidnapping for ransom case by police.Thirteen people belonging to Gilgit Baltistan and Kohistan were arrested in Rawalpindi against charges of kidnapping for ransom case but no information was found against the arrested persons in any policy station of the city.The protestors were holding placards inscribed with the slogans of police high-handedness and demanded the immediate release of convicted and suspension of the police personnel uninvolved.Addressing the gathering member northern areas legislative assembly Muhammad Akhter said the people of Gilgit-Baltistan are peace loving but that dose not mean that any one can do any thing to them, he appealed president of Pakistan to probe into the matter and said we have always been deprived and facing injustices but this wont go long.Leader Balawaristan National Front (BNF) Shafqat Ali Enqilabi while addressing the gathering said we are exploited since last sixty one years but it won’t last long. He appealed the demonstrators to get united and said it dose not mater that to which particular religious or political party you belong but you should remember that you belong to Gilgit Baltistan and for that you have to forget your political and ideological affiliations and struggle for the region. He said if the convicted are not released within 48 hours Sost boarder and KKH will be blocked.Demonstrators belonged to Balawaristan National Students Organization (BNSO), Baltistan Students Federation (BSF), Peoples Students Federation (PSF), Karakurum Students Organisation (KSO) and other regional and federal political parties.
Bureaucrats must start packing up their luggage soon: Akbar
By Our Special Correspondent
KARACHI: Giglit-Baltistan suffered a lot under bureaucratic rule but the days of the rulers from the centre are numbered now, as a democratic society has emerged due to untiring struggle of the sons of the soil, who were able to highlight this issue at international level.These views were expressed by Khan Akbar Khan, ex-member District Council Ghizer while talking to journalists here the other day. He demanded the government to restore the political and constitutional status of Gilgit-Baltistan. He lauded the sacrifices and role of BNF’s exiled Chairman Abdul Hamid Khan.The issue of Gilgit-Baltistan is now well addressed at international level, he said, adding that it is not easy to suppress the region like past. Highlighting the historical struggle of nationalists, he maintained that when the nationalists raised voice against the access and injustices done to the region in 1997 they were brutally tortured by bureaucracy which is an undeniable example of state-terrorism and since then BNF’s exiled chairman played a vital role in uniting the nationalist movements and brining the issue to lame light of the united nation which is praise worthy.He further said it was due to efforts of Mr Khan, the world came to know about the reality of Gilgit-Baltistan issue. “Now it is not the issue of Gilgit-Baltistan only but international community has also been involved in it”, he added.”This success of the exiled chairman has burnt the nights of the illegal conquerors of Gilgit-Baltistan and they are propagating hard to blackmail his party but it is the good luck of the nation and the undaunted struggle of Mr Khan that the international community is closely monitoring the injustices done to the people of Gilgit-Baltistan”, he opined.He demanded the government to accept the previous political and constitutional status of Republic of Gilgit-Baltistan and allow the exiled chairman to return back to continue his struggle in a democratic way. He warned the government to stop the propaganda against the exiled chairman otherwise a nation-wide protest will be initiated against the government.
Rulers warned to stop propaganda againstBNF chief
By Our Special Correspondent
Karachi: Giglit-Baltistan has been made a no-man’s land by the bureaucracy but the issue has been raised at the international level and the bureaucracy’s days in the region are numbered.These views were expressed by Khan Akbar Khan, ex-member District Council Ghizer, while talking to journalists here. He demanded that the political and constitutional status of the former republic of Gilgit-Baltisan should be accepted. He also applauded the sacrifice and role of BNF exiled Chairman Abdul Hamid Khan.He said the issue of Gilgit-Baltistan has been highlighted at the international level and it is not easy to suppress the region like in the past. Highlighting the historical struggle of nationalists, he said when the nationalists raised voice against the excesses and injustices done with the region in 1997 they were tortured by the bureaucracy which was an example of state terrorism.He said since then, BNF’s exiled chairman has played a vital role in uniting the nationalists and brining the issue to limelight at the world forums including the United Nations. He said it was due to Abdul Hamid Khan that the world came to know about the reality of the Gilgit-Baltistan issue.
Failed state not acceptable: KNM
Chilas: Leader Karakurum National Movement (KNM) Ghufran Batukhel has said that religious, military and political troika’s controversial statements have embarrassed the people of Gilgit-Baltistan.Talking to Bange Sahar here, he said troika has plunged the country into an ocean of poverty, ignorance and deprivation. He accused the establishment for looting the ruling party and said whenever Pakistan felt a danger it turned face from Kashmir issue.He said people of Gilgit-Baltistan should get united to struggle for the national cause. He said the people of Gilgit-Baltistan will never want to be part of a failed state.
Renaming NAs not to change its destiny: Ali
By Our Correspondent
Gilgit: Renowned nationalist and progressive activist of Gilgit-Baltistan Sher Ali, a senior advocate has said that problems of the region cannot be solved by changing its name, however, the unanimous resolution of renaming the region as Gilgit-Baltistan by the so-called northern areas legislative assembly is not less than a miracle.Talking to journalists here he said that a number of resolutions were approved by the assembly in the past but not a single one was implemented practically. He slammed the local political leadership saying that despite knowing their capacity, the members of legislative assembly are befooling people.He accused the KANA division and federal government for depriving the region of its legitimate rights and said whenever any step is taken by local leadership regarding constitutional status they announce packages which only benefits the members of legislative assembly.He maintained that people of the region are living very miserable lives but KANA division cares only for the members of legislative assembly.
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.
Hunza hit by food and power shortage
By Zulfiqar Ali Khan
HUNZA-NAGAR: The people of Hunza-Gojal are facing hardships due to electricity outages and shortage of wheat supply. The power situation is worsening, as winter is getting harsher. The unchecked increase in the prices of gas, wood and other energy sources has further aggravated the problems of the local people. Despite protests and demonstrations, authorities are unable to solve the problem. The NAPWD has further increased the load shedding duration in central and lower Hunza while the people of upper Hunza-Gojal are facing unannounced outages. People are also complaining about irregularities in supply and distribution of subsidised wheat and flour in the valley. According to sources, the Civil Supply depot in Aliabad, Hunza has storage of only 150 bags of wheat, which is not enough, even for one day. The General Secretary of All Hunza Union Council in a statement said that Amir Khan, Acting Assistant Commissioner, Hunza, had announced an increase in quota of 5,144 bags of wheat for Hunza bit it was simply to end the shutter down strike. He said Hunza was receiving the wheat quota according to 1998 population census. He demanded to ensure storage of wheat for three months as the region was totally dependent on KKH for supply.Aziz Jan, Chairman Union Council Gojal-1charged that officials were distributing local quota among the non-local government employees and favourites. He said these officials were also involved in smuggling the wheat out of the union council.He said the Union Council has not received 700 bags of wheat from the quota. He called upon the local administration to develop proper mechanism for the equal distribution of wheat and flour among the people. He said AC Hunza had assured him to investigate this issue and avoid such incidents in future. He complained that the employees at Khyber Power station were not properly fulfilling their duties and were violating the load-shedding schedule in different villages.The owner of the Hunza Flour Mill Hassanabad also complained regarding delays in supply of wheat, which ultimately resulted in delay of supply of flour to local dealers. Talking to this correspondent, Socrat Aman Rana, Assistant Commissioner, Hunza, said that with the onset of winter the demand for electricity had increased forcing NAPWD to increase the load shedding hours. He said the Hassanabad Power station had the capacity to produce only 1100 KW while the actual demand was for 3300 KW. He said the diesel generators were not functional as fund was not available for fuel.Regarding the wheat shortage, he said that he would hold a meeting with the Civil Supply Organization officials soon in order to discuss the problem. He said Hunza had a little shortfall in wheat quota till October but the quota for November was not received. He said the situation would get better after the opening of newly constructed bridge on KKH. He said NATCO had assured trucks for timely transportation of wheat.
The musician tribes of Gilgit Baltistan
By Noor Muhammad
Our beautiful valleys reverberate with ecstatic sounds of the drum and melodious voice of the pipe, as the hypnotic human yells echo, synchronized with the sounds of clapping and laughter, and we dance, celebrating this or that event. Very few people notice the three, or six or nine musicians, depending on the ‘status’ of the party thrower, that are producing these wonderful rhythms of sound.They play the instruments, we dance. They enhance our happiness and we enhance their sufferings. We consider them inferior, even if their art is the nectar of our happiness and their mastery of the art the solace of pride.All rhetoric about the teachings of Islam and humanity come trembling down, as one looks at the plight of the thousands of musicians – by inheritance in different parts of Gilgit-Baltistan. The ancient societies have systematically discriminated against these artists, their families and always considered them as the other, the inferiors, practically, the creatures of a lesser God!The ancient and existing social systems of hatred, ridicule, neglect and discrimination directed at them have affected these fellow human beings to the extent that not only they refuse to share their language with rest of us, they also don’t communicate in the language of their ancestors, inside their homes. Seldom have groups of human beings suffered so much at the hands of their fellow human beings.Such attitude towards the master musicians who have not only given us wonderful music but are also custodians of a language that is unique to them, but part of our region’s collective cultural heritage!!Many people argue that there has been a slight shift in attitudes towards the profession of musicians over the past decade. They cite the example of KADO’s efforts for de-casting the profession of musicians, by encouraging and facilitating youth from tribes other than the Bayris, to learn the skills for playing traditional musical instruments and, more importantly, use their mastery of the instruments for earning their livelihood. This, definitely, is tantamount to hammering the chains of stigmatization and exclusion. Thanks to the efforts of KADO, today, playing traditional musical instruments is no more a hereditary profession.However, we, the youth, need to reflect on how much has our attitude changed towards the musicians and what strategies and steps need to be devised, further, to bring the musician tribes into the social mainstream.One step in this regard can be launching of initiatives, at individual and organizational levels, where the elders and youth belonging to the traditional musician tribes are able to express themselves, artistically, through music, dance, poetry and photographs, telling us more and more about their feelings, their conditions, their language and other elements of cultural heritage.Taking such a step is important because the elder generation of the traditional musician tribes is decreasing, with every passing day. The younger generation, gradually modernizing their modes of livelihood and integrating with rest of the region’s community might not be fully aware of the rich traditions that are unique to them. One of these examples is the Domaki language.While the musicians have successfully kept their language to themselves, they have been expressing themselves – their hatred, love, affection, distrust and resentment, through music, it is commonly believed in Hunza.The musicians in Hunza, at least, were required to play music for the rulers of the fiefdom, as they prepared to sleep. In Wakhi this particular tune is known as “Eynuk-e-Soz” (The tune of sleep). The tune, many believe, is full of abuses for the ancient rulers, who would make the musicians play – not caring for their sleep needs, while attempting to enter the valley of dreams themselves, riding on the beats of Dadang, Damal and the voice of Surinai.But such expressions might not be confined to the ruling elite, only, because they were not the only discriminators against the musicians. The entire society, rich or poor, ruler or subject, men or women and young or old discriminated against the musicians so we can expect that there might be some other musical tunes or “Hareeps” directed at rest of the society, as well.Decoding such rare and creative expression of human feelings, if they exist, against social injustice could be a proof that human beings don’t enjoy ‘disempowerment’, be that political, economic or cultural. Besides, it will also help preservation of the unique heritage of the musicians.It is impossible to expect such a step from a careless government that has not been able to provide adequate food, health, education and water to its citizens. Resourceful and relevant local NGOs can create such projects, with or without the help of national and international organizations.
Gilgit second largest potato producer after Bolochistan
By Tika Khan
Northern Areas by virtue of its geography and climate offer heavenly conditions to several vegetables and fruits. Northern Areas stand parallel to Balouchistan province in potato production and its sale is around 30,000 metric tones-MT per year.Sindh is lagging far behind in this regard and produces only 2712 MT, however, Punjab and NWFP are the leaders in this respect and produce 2407483 and 129529MT respectively.Farmer community across Northern Areas and down country in general and Hunza/Nagar particularly witnessed 2008 very cruel and risky.Inflated rates of chemical fertilizers and transportation critically anguished the poor farmer community across the regions.In 2006 fertilizers was available for around Rs800, which soared to Rs2200 in 2007-8. Most of the poor farmers across the regions did not use Nitrophos, which is important to reclaim fertility in the fields because farmers do not practice crop rotation methods.Inaccessibility to chemical fertilizers was observed as a major cause of meager potato production. Farmer communities in the regions of Hunza/Nagar sold only 12250 MT which is almost 25% less than the previous year-2007.In terms of cash earning from potato sale, farmers remained fluky for selling 100KG bag for Rs1500 (average) as compared to Rs800 in 2007. During 2007 farmers from the region had earned Rs122.5 million rupees which increased up to Rs183.75m in 2008 with a net increase of 61m. Inflated fertilizer prices throughout the year impacted negatively on an overall production of potato but were fortunate for having reasonable sale price. Bridge accident at Gilgit took off more than 20m from farmers as potato contractors paid extra pennies for potato transportation across the suspension bridge Chinar Bagh Gilgit at a rate of Rs150-200 per bag. Contractors charged this amount directly from the poor farmers.Another reason for decreased production was the low price in 2007 i.e. Rs.800 in an average, whereas in some cases farmers had bitter experience of selling potatoes just for 300-400 rupees per bag. This type of astringent experiences equally influenced the farmers’ psyche to think beyond potato resulting in poor production.2009 production depends on the subsidies by the government on chemical fertilizers, however, wheat and flour crisis in the area for the last several months has compelled the farmer community to think towards wheat cropping. In rest of the country, farmers will enjoy the facility of crop insurances that can encourage farmer community to work hard in their fields but there is no such a service/facility introduced in the northern areas and farmer community is looking towards their masters to decide their fate.According to the estimates and predictions by the Economist Intelligent Unit-UK, agricultural production growth in the country will rise by 2.7 percent in 2009 but this seems to be a dream in Northern Areas’ context, where multiple factors decide the entire process. Agriculture bank limited has not yet written off small loans valuing upto Rs.50,000 which was announced by the then president, Musharaf. Subsidies on agriculture commodities, field to market access, proviso of irrigation water, agriculture financing and provision of crop insurance can help thousands of farmers across the regions in Gilgit-Baltistan to contribute into national income and self sufficiency level.
Will things change..?
By Rubab Ruby
The chain of events taking place in the forsaken land of ours had given me the notion that something is going to change but I was mistaken. I had really not understood the very basis of our politics. Granting of Azad Kashmir like set up, reopening of Skardu Kargil route, nationalist’s successful rallies and seminars and renaming of the region but than came the sad Mumbai carnage which gave every thing a U-turns. Every move regarding resolution of Kashmir dispute and good ties between Pakistan and India is alleged to conspire against the carnage and once more we are back in the early nineties. Isn’t it folly????We seem to be like that enthusiastic child who starts running and runs tremendously but when the childhood stamina speaks, the child falls down and remains where he was at the start of the race. Mumbai carnage revealed that we were slaves, we are slaves and if beurocracy and religious puppets are given this freehand we will remain slave. my phrases should not be taken as the extreme negativity or state of low esteem instead one should ponder upon the system that we dwell in. A state where beurocray and uniforms rule, where religion is taken not as a cod of ethics but a tool to conspire and religious leaders are not scholars or those with a scholastic approach but mere illiterates paid by the intelligence agencies to work for underground cause. Where legislators are criminals involved in heinous crimes against women in the name of cultural and where those making laws make it for the ‘public minus themselves’ where press is but a mere puppet or loud speaker of one particular group or school of thought, where news and opinions have no worth but to fill the space of a newspaper, where a successful journalist is one who can write to length in favor of every ruler.Can one expect any true movement to gain grounds in such conditions? The answer would of course be a big no! The way in which the Azad Kashmir like set up was propagated by the local leadership of PPP reminds me of my childhood tale. The story called sleeping beauty. it seemed as if the political heavy weights of Gilgit Baltistan are finally awaken but no they never will wake no matter the nation sinks in an occasion of deprivations they will remain in the state of comma as long as they get there monthly salaries from the federal capital. A political leader alleged some unseen hands for conspiring to make Gilgit Baltistan a mini Israel. That was not all but he went a step forward and explained the conspiracy theory in the light of his own limited negative knowledge but our local leadership cheered instead of uttering any justification or clarity. To rub salt into the wounds that bearded man is no one else but chairman Kashmir committee. Will we get the very bite of what we deserve if such leaders are given the reins of our future? Will we get anything like independence or rights and last but not the least has Mr. Moulana got any slightest idea of the ever repeated word called rights? A man for whom female is nothing but a child producing machine, a child is bred for nothing but to fight in the name of God and education means nothing but rot learning of the holy Quran and every thing that deviates from his idea is forbidden. Every person who disagrees with him is an infidel. Any one pointing out his mistakes is a spy of Jews and Jews… well the very word irritates this man. They are alive and this is forbidden as Mr. Chairman Calls they are alive because to provide the Muslims with the key to heaven.This as every one knows is the killing of Jews. Anything that is made by Jews is haraam according to this man but he feels comfortable with Pepsi, nokia and all other technological machines made by Jews.Granting such a person with such sensitive position makes any sense? Will this man resolve Kashmir issue? Is anyone from both sides of Kashmir prepared to talk to this man? Will such conservative extremists in the corridors of power do any good to the Kashmir cause than top sabotage it? It is not that Mr. Zardari found Moulana the best option but he bestowed Moulana just to make his dangling position in the coalition. Every politico plays the Kashmir cause just to elongate his days in office. People of Gilgit Baltistan and both sides of Kashmir need to struggle on there own. They need to make there own decisions they need to take there rights not beg there rights. Other wise people like Moulana will come and o and the people of Jamu Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan will get nothing but allegations of plying for incidents like the sad Mumbai carnage. We need to assure the world that we believe in a peaceful struggle and we struggle on own powers for our own rights and should save our movement from the dirty eyes of paid politicians.
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 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. 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
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 resourcesto bedeveloped
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
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
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
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’’
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
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
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
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
CE’s diatribe on Diamer Dam
THE strong reaction to the NWFP’s claim of royalty on the Diamer-Basha Dam and its bids to make the site disputed can be interpreted differently by different sections of society. However, we believe that such a reaction was long overdue not only from the office of the chief executive but also by the 36-member legislative assembly. Keeping in view Mr Ghazanfar’s past record of issuing such statements, no one can take the latest diatribe seriously, because since taking over as even deputy chief he has been issuing such statements repeatedly. Mr Ghazanfar is also accustomed of issuing warnings like once he threatened to resign if he was not provided with a big car, another time on non-provision of an official residence and then against lack of powers. But Islamabad often ignores his threats and statements – let alone accept his demands. Moreover, he is also accustomed of forgetting his own demands quickly and living happily with whatever facilities and perks he is provided with. Even more strong threats have been coming from adviser health Haji Abdul Quddus in whose constituency the site of the Diamer Dam falls. He had been the vocal opponent of the Diamer Dam project right from day one but when former President Pervez Musaharraf came to inaugurate work on the site people in Gilgit-Baltistan and even around the world saw on their TV screens the same Haji Quddus chanting “Long live Musharraf” slogans.Under such circumstances, how the people of Gigit-Baltistan will believe the threats being issued by Mr Ghazanfar and the likes?The Diamer-Basha Dam can be a blessing for Pakistan but it will be nothing but a source of destruction for the people of Gilgit-Baltsitan, especially in Diamer district. And therefore, the educated section of Gilgit-Baltistan can take such statements of the chief executive as a ‘humorous poetry’. Mr Ghzanfar is right, however, that the situation is changing fast in the region. This we have been stating in these columns long ago but then these so-called leaders were deep asleep. It would have been better had the chief executive convened a session of the assembly and after taking the members into confidence come out with a resolution conveying the reservations of the people in a strongest terms to Pakistan and tendering en masse resignation in case the demands were not met by Islamabad. In this way, not only an acceptable solution could have been made to the issue but also the shortcomings of the four-year performance of the representatives would have been compensated for.Instead of expressing his reservations, Mr Ghazanfar should have also gone to Mirpur once and meet the affected people of the Mangla Dam Raising project who have been running from pillar to post to get their rights.Our leaders especially those from the Diamer area never get tired giving the examples of the affected people of Mirpur and saying that they have been shifted to England where they are earning Sterling Pounds. But they should understand that the locals of Mirpur were not sent to England by the government but the British executing company was in search of cheap labour force.This is time we should stand up to oppose the government plan otherwise after Haji Quddus’s constituency, the Skardu dam will be built in Wazir Willayat’s area, Hinzal dam in Himayatullah’s area and Hamuchal dam will be constructed in Sultan Madad’s constituency to provide water and electricity to Punjab.We believe that only issuing statements will not suffice rather our leaders and elected representatives have to adopt joint measures against this illegal and anti-Gilgit-Baltistan project and to stop for ever double standards and duplicity of the rulers.Time will prove how far Mr Ghazanfar remains sincere in implementing his stance on the issue and protecting the region from submersion and other effects of the dam.One of the reasons for the over 61-year-long slavery of Gilgit-Baltistan is that our leader shave failed to highlight our issues on time. It is the responsibility of people from all political parties, social organizations and other walks of life to play their role in this issue practically to protect the rights of the region.
CE opposes Diamer Dam, seeks removalof reservations
By Our Correspondent
ISLAMABAD: Chief Executive Northern Areas Mir Ghazanfar Ali Khan has warned that the construction of the multi-billion dollars Diamer-Basha Dam will not be allowed until the reservations of the local people particularly those in Diamer district are removed to their full satisfaction.Reacting to the statement of the NWFP representative at a meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC), that approved the construction of the project on Tuesday, Mr Ghzanfar said the dam would submerge a vast area of Diamer district deprived them of their only source of income, agriculture and displace a large number of people.Despite all these effects on the people of Gilgit-Baltistan, when it comes to royalty the NWFP is eying all the future benefits and privileges. This is not acceptable to us and we will resist it, he warned.He said the people of Gilgit-Baltistan had rendered numerous sacrifices for the country but they were denied their rights only because they did not spoke up. “Now the situation has changed and we will not remain silent and never allow anyone to loot our resources and deprive us of all genuine rights,” he added. He said until and unless the issues of royalty and compensation were resolved we will not allow anyone to even touch a stone in our area. He said the area where the dam was to be built has deliberately been made disputed, adding we will foil all such conspiracies and protect our rights. He warned the NWFP representative to stop making such claims. Mr Ghazanfar said as the chairman of the Diamer Dam Committee, it was his responsibility to safeguard the rights of the affected people of the Diamer and ensure payment of compensation and royalty to them.The chief executive recommended handing over of the second phase of the Karakoram Highway expansion project to China and said it was a very difficult task and only the Chinese expert can undertake it.He also spoke on the lack of facilities at the Karakoram International University including absence of library and hostel facilities and said until resources were made available the standard of education cannot be improved. He said on the one hand there were talks of giving industry status to tourism sector but on the other no initiatives were being taken to provide facilities to tourists.He said unfortunately we have also been deprived of our identity and the area has been named Northern Areas due to which our economy is being destroyed. Bomb blasts and suicide attacks are carried out in Swat and the tribal areas but due to confusion in the name of Gilgit-Baltistan the image of the area is being tarnished and tourists are running away in fear. He demanded that the region should not be called northern areas and should be named as Gilgit-Baltsitan at the official level.
Hurdles created for rally slammed
GILGIT: Criticizing the stopping of people from coming to attend a public meeting organized by the Gilgit-Baltistan Democratic Alliance in connection with the Independence Day in Gilgit, the Balawaristan National Front (BNF) has termed the move a sign of frustration on part of the government.In a statement, the BNF said car rallies taken out by nationalist parties from Chilas were stopped at Jaglot, from Ghizer at Shirot and from Hunza-Nagar at Rojglot. It said holding and attending a public meeting was the basic rights of the people and to stop the participants from attending such meeting was a violation of human rights. It said the move showed that the rulers were frustrated with the rising popularity of the nationalist parties in the region.Meanwhile, Chairman All Parties National Alliance (APNA) and Karakoram National Movement chief Mohammad Iqbal Advocate has said the bureaucracy has once again proved that it treated the people of Gilgit-Baltistan as it slaves. In a statement, he said by stopping the rallies of our party activists at Hunza, Nagar and Skardu the government has unmasked itself.He said despite government’s obstacles, thousands of people attended the Garhi Bagh public gathering, proving the victory of the right and defeat of the evil.He said time has proved that the nation is with the nationalist parties and very soon the masses would rid of the rulers. Whatever conspiracies are hatched by the rulers and their cohorts, they cannot stop us from achieving our objectives, he added.He said the time has gone when the rulers enslaved the masses by using force. He warned the government to stop using such tactics otherwise his party would devise its own strategy to meet the challenge.
Rising popularity of BNSO in Hazara division hailed
By Our Correspondent
ABBTOABAD: Chief Organizer of Balawaristan National Students Organization, Hazara division, Ali Ghulam has said the very reason behind the establishment of the party was to assist its mother party on the national front. He said BNSO had played a pivotal role in uniting students of Gilgit-Baltistan on one platform since the day of its establishment. Talking to Bang-e-Sahar, he said the party had arranged a number of seminars and other programs to boost the collective national understanding of students of Gilgit-Baltistan. He urged the students not to waste their time in politics of district and tehsil levels and instead come forward to join hands with BNSO for a national cause. The popularity and positive response that the party was gaining in Hazara division is a positive sign, he said. He strongly criticized the government’s policies in the educational sector and said it was meant just to close the doors of education on the students of Gilgit- Baltistan even in the twenty-first century. He said due to lack of academic facilities in Gilgit-Baltistan, thousands of students were forced to migrate towards various cities resulting in transfer of millions of rupees from the region.In reply to a question regarding the Karakurum International University, he said it was a mistake to even call it a university because facilities in the university were even not equal to that of a postgraduate college. He said when we look into the pages of history we come to know that in order to stretch the time period of its occupation the occupiers always shut down the doors of education on the youth of the land and the same old story is being repeated in Gilgit-Baltistan.He demanded the government to establish campuses of the Karakurum International University in all the seventh districts of the region and set up research centers for the study of local languages. He said if the provincial languages of the country are taught in the respective universities then what’s wrong with teaching Shina, Khowar, Balti, Burushaski and Wakhi at the KIU.He further said our nation was well aware today and the students were playing an active role in every respect especially on the national front. BNSO will continue its struggle till the very end of the national question and we are very much hopeful that victory will finally be ours with the grace of God, he added.
GB to fight boundary case with NWFP
By Our Correspondent
GILGIT: The local administration of Gilgit-Baltistan has prepared a team to fight the case of boundary with the NWFP before the construction of the Diamer-Basha dam.The government of NWFP claims that part of the site where the mega dam will be built falls in its jurisdiction and therefore it would have the right to get royalty of the reservoir. However, people of Gilgit-Baltistan say the dam is being constructed wholly in the Diamer district and they will not allow anyone to snatch the right of royalty and compensation from them.Gilgit-Baltistan home secretary Mohammad Usman told reporters at Gilgit that relevant record of the land at the site had been obtained to pursue the case. He said a committee comprising lawyers, senior officials and politicians would also be involved in the litigation process. The official said the government has also decided to establish a Project Monitoring Unit (PMU) to oversee the affairs of the dam to ensure coordinated work on the project.He said the main purpose of establishing the PMU was to assist Water and Power Development Authority and the local administration to help the affected people in addressing their reservations.
Chinese workers security200 policemen on strike
By Our Correspondent
GILGIT: About 200 policemen performing duties as guards with the Chinese nationals working in the Karakoram Highway expansion project have gone on a strike against non-payment of daily allowance.The policemen deployed at Hunza-Nagar and Gojal areas refused to perform security duties after failing to get their allowances.This created problems for the Chinese workers and engineers and they could not leave their camps for work due to absence of security cover, affecting work on the project.The policemen said they have been performing the security duties since July, sometimes for 24 hours daily, but the authorities concerned have neither paid them Rs300 duty allowance nor provided them any other benefits.After the policemen started the strike, inspector of police Northern Areas Khursheed Alam Khan has sent a DSP to the area to hold talks with the protesting policemen and bring them back to work.
SDC officials visit projects inHunza, Baltistan
By Our Correspondent
HUNZA-NAGAR: Three officials of Swiss Agency for Development and Co-operation (SDC) visited different projects funded by the SDC in Hunza and Baltistan the other day.Christoph Graph, head of Asia-Pacific; Pius Rohner, country director, Pakistan; and Kanwal Bokharey, Programme Officer of the Agency for Development and Co-operation visited the projects run by Karakoram Area Development Organisation (KADO) and Baltistan Cultural Forum (BCF). The purpose of the visit was to evaluate the impact and results of Agency for Development and Co-operation assistance in Gilgit-Baltistan The KADO-run projects in Hunza are Information and Communication Technology for Development (ICT4D), Gems Cutting and Polishing Centre, women-owned handicraft companies and rehabilitation centres. The Swiss officials also held meetings with women artisans in order to find out ways to sustain and increase the impact and scope of the handicraft companies. The Swiss Agency for Development and Co-operation officials expressed their satisfaction over the investments of the agency in different development projects. ‘‘The evolution of Karakoram Area Development Organisation from a small handicraft promotional society to a regional development organization is the best model of indigenous organisational development, which gives great satisfaction to the SDC and Swiss taxpayers’’, they remarked.—Dawn
Khowar-Urdu dictionary launched
Chitral: Speakers at a ceremony held here on Sunday said that Khowar (Chitrali) language and literature could be ranked with other languages of the country because of its rich and varied vocabulary.The ceremony was held to launch the first-ever Khowar-Urdu dictionary. The speakers said that the compilation and publication of the Khowar dictionary was a landmark achievement.Those who addressed the ceremony included compiler of the dictionary Naji Khan Naji, former MPA Maulana Jahangir Khan, tehsil nazim Sartaj Ahmed Khan, president of Anjuman Taraqi-i-Khowar M Yousuf Shahazad, intellectuals Mukarram Shah, Moula Nigah and others. They said that the dictionary contained more than 16,000 words and phrases of Khowar language which had been rendered into the national language. They said that serious efforts by the writers and poets of Khowar were afoot to bring the language at par with the other languages of the country. The speakers said that the number of publications on Khowar prose and poetry had reached 500 which showed steady progress and advancement of the language. They said that diversity of the subjects used in the language was enough to testify the approach of the Khowar writers.They said though a good number of words had been replaced by other languages but the dictionary still preserved the essence of the Khowar language.—Courtesy Dawn
NA Scouts to have new wing
By Our Correspondent
GILGIT: Prime Minister’s Adviser on Interior Rehman Malik here on Monday said a new wing of the Northern Areas Scouts would be raised soon. Speaking at the passing-out parade of the 6th batch of the Scouts at Bunji here, he said the force would enjoy all allowances and privileges at par with the Pakistan Army.He praised the sprit and performance of the Northern Areas Scouts and said the government would equip it on modern lines and impart comprehensive training to its personnel. He announced that 100 personnel of the Scouts would be attached with the anti-terrorism wing of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).Later, talking to local media persons, he said adequate arrangements had been made for the security of Chinese workers engaged with the expansion of the Karakoram Highway. At present, 600 security personnel are deputed on this duty while the Northern Areas police chief has been directed to submit a PC-1 for recruitment of 5,000 more personnel for this purpose, he added. He said the raising of the new wing would help reduce unemployment in the region.In reply to a question, he expressed the hope that the new US administration would respect Pakistan’s sovereignty and stop drone attacks on its territory.Referring to the forex scandal, Mr Malik said the FIA had done a wonderful job and arrested some of the accused while others would be nabbed soon.He appealed to the Pakistani community abroad to send their remittances through banks as this was the safest and quickest way.Director General Northern Areas Scouts Brigadier Syed Azmat Ali also spoke on the occasion and highlighted the history of the force.
KNM, KSO celebrate Independence Day
By Our Correspondent
KARACHI: The 61st Independence Day of Gilglt-Baltistan was celebrated in Karachi in which thousands of students and people belonging to Gilgit-Baltistan participated. The programmed was organized by Karakurum National Movement in collaboration with its students wing, the KSO (Karakurum Students Organization). A thirty pound cake was cut while participants also presented the traditional dance and local music on the occasion. The program was presided over by provincial president of KNM Mohammad Yousuf Qureshi. Addressing the participants, he congratulated the nation on the eve of the Independence Day and paid tributes to the heroes and martyrs of the war of independence. He strongly condemned the establishment for keeping the nation in chains for sixty-one years and capturing the resources of the region illegally. He said the illegal occupation of civil and military bureaucracy will come to an end and that moment is not far away when we will get the result of the struggles of our martyrs and fighters.Party’s former president Mohammad Karim also paid tributes to the heroes of war of independence and said the people of the region will soon get freedom from the illegal occupation of the civil and military occupation.
By Our Correspondent
GILGIT: The Gilgit-Baltistan Democratic Alliance (GBDA) has warned the so-called politicians who are out to secure government employments for themselves not to play with the sentiments of the masses by hoodwinking them on different slogans.In a statement issued here, the GBDA said these elements hoodwinked the people on the slogan of making the region a separate province and now they have started crying for an Azad Kashmir-type of setup for Gilgit-Baltsitan.The Gilgit-Baltistan Democratic Alliance said it had forewarned the people about twenty years back that Gilgit-Baltistan was a disputed region and neither Pakistan could make it its part before nor can it do so in the future.It said the new generation of university and college graduates had rejected the self-made political leaders of the region who kept the people deprived of their basic rights for their own vested interests for the last over six decades.It said those who accused the nationalist parties of taking economic assistance from outsiders were out to sell the region in return for a few lowly employments. It said the new generation would not succumb to the tricks of the elements and would join hands with the GBDA in its struggle for attaining all the basic rights of the people of this strategic region.
The identity problem of Bloristan
By Tahir Jan Hunzai
Over the course of last one and a half centuries, the Balor nation has been deprived not only of its self-determination and freedom but also its r national identity. Especially after 1947, when the parasite of civil and military bureaucracy dipped its roots in the region it tried their utmost to dismantle the national cause of the people of Baler and for this purpose they used the tool of dismantling the national identity of the people. The plan was to make the people of the region like a patient of Alzheimer’s regarding their national identity. The people of the region proved to be an obedient flock of sheep and they are turning directions happily as ordered by their masters. When the region was called Gilgit agency, the mass happily accepted it and when it was changed for God knows what reason to Northern Areas this name too was warmly welcomed by the local population. One wonders why the highway linking Pakistan to China was named Karakorum Highway? If there was no harm in naming the road as Karakurum then what harm was there in naming the whole region as Karakurum? The answer is too simple as the question itself. If the region as a whole were named Karakurum the people would have easily come under one umbrella and struggled for their national cause and it was not in the benefit of the plutocracy. Whatever has happened has happened, but what should be done in future to free the Baler nation from the trap of civil and military plutocracy? Should we sit as we have in the past and wait for a miracle to happen? Or should we take a pragmatic step no matter how small towards a collective national goal which may seem a wild dream at the present. A small group of Baler nation, whish is largely illiterate and devoid of any political awakening is of the view that ‘rights’ would some day be granted to the people of Balor and that the sole solution is just to wait for the time but this group is as being stated in the prior lines, devoid of political awakening and don’t know the very history of the Balor nation and of that of Pakistan’s ruling class.Of the Pakistani ruling class it is well said that they will dissolve the whole country along with their assemblies if there is any benefit for them as happened in the former West Pakistan’s case. When the ruling Bengalis turned against the class system, they were termed “anti-state elements” and brutally crashed; as a result the larger half of the country broke away and emerged as a new country called Bangladesh. Till the present the class or feudal system is haunting the country as a parasite.To divert the mass’ and media’s attention from such problems, the game of bloodshed is being played in Afghanistan and Kashmir despite concentrating on the vanishing economy and deterring social problems. The best solution for peace in the region is that the feudal system be eliminated, plans chalked out for development of industrial and economic sector and a pragmatic approach adopted in the educational sector. But none of this is given a second look as these go against the benefits of the country’s ruling class. The reason for elaborating Pakistan’s issues is to remind the Baler nation that getting rights from the Pakistani ruling class is not a kid’s play. This needs a planned and well-devised national movement after which a pragmatic approach is indispensable.It should be kept in mind that Balor nation has lost its powers during the last one and a half centuries and this is a long time. To take a nation on a road after so long a period is a difficult task and tremendous effort is needed to eliminate the linguistic, colonial and sectarian differences. When Baloristan is mentioned the people generally disagree by saying that it is a term of the Balti language but there is no third option as so many people have so much disagreements. In my personal view the name Baloristan is most suitable because it represents our history and it is up to the people either to like or dislike their own history but truth can never be denied despite personal likings and dislikes. Today similar nations are dwelling around us and if today they demand a change in their name they will for sure have to face a fatal result like us. The meaning of Afghanistan is still a dispute and a mystery to some extent but they have agreed over the name of the country and no nation has any reservations regarding it. If the Pukhtuns. Tajiks, Azbuks, Turkamans, Hazaras and Balochs disagree over the name Afghanistan, they first will disintegrate into small states based on their race and latterly the whole country will collapse a tip of which is experienced today. Another example is that of Kashmir, the word Kashmir is a Hindu language word and if today the Muslim population questions the name that it is a Hindu name than it will be impossible for them to retain their identity. German, French and Italian languages are spoken in Swetzerland and when asked about their nationality the answer would be ‘Swis’, they would never say either Italian or French or German and if the word Swiss is eliminated it will abolish the Swiss nationality along with itself. The current scenario, of ours, resembles with the examples mentioned in the above lines and we too need a solution like that of the nations explained.If we were having a single language in the region the population would have easily come under the umbrella on linguistic basis and in the past such states have existed. Why shouldn’t we feel proud of our history like that of Swiss and Afghan instead extracting out negative points and weaknesses from the states of the past. It is time to rethink over the issue otherwise the land of Baler will be divided among Kashmir, Punjab and NWFP and we will vanish in history. It’s the moral and social responsibility of the thinkers and other educated people of Baloristan to teach the mass and prepare them to struggle under a single umbrella of Baloristan.
A road to the resolution
By Mumtaz Khan
After six decades of closure of its traditional trade and cultural routes, Jammu and Kashmir witnessed a breakthrough when a truck service was launched between its two estranged parts. Though symbolic, these developments are important in unfolding a new relationship between the two parts.Under the present emotional situation, observers pay less attention to other factors that will take different shape as trade and economic relations will grow over the period of time if the process sustained. The future relations will be shaped by other factors at work in different regions of the state of Jammu and Kashmir, not by emotion and slogans but those that matter economically and politically. By suggesting this, I didn’t mean to undermine the significance of the need to promote present CBMs rather bring up the issues of real-politik that at present is being underestimated. In real-politik, nationalism sometimes is accompanied by emotional approaches and brings disappointment when economic and political interests of different regions and forces diverge.The present sentimental situation largely blurs the political vision of many observers who are closely watching, observing and writing on these relations. Whereas policy makers in New Delhi and Islamabad are reluctantly making decisions and nervously watching developments, lest the situation play out in the favor of the other that restricts their ability to look beyond their traditional approaches.Apparently every side claims to be willing to go to any extent to resolve this issue, not of course, by redrawing of borders as India insisted but economically and politically showing enough flexibility for the first time to allow both sides to interact and trade with each other. Present initiatives between the two parts especially the bus and truck service that enabled the people to interact is just the beginning of the recognition of the issue that needs to be encouraged not to oppose on any account in order to allow both countries to think out of the box.Opposition to such Kashmir centric CBMs whether coming from the militants or pro-militants leaders expose their unscrupulous politics they have been promoting. The problem is not as simple as some forces try to simplify it by making calls for immediate solution.This clear shift from the traditional approaches whether by India or Pakistan is encouraging that might help them think along the new lines and accept the new realities that have evolved in the last few decades. The two sides would be faced with new realities and grievances once emotional honeymoon period is over in Kashmir.One has to understand the issues of real politik and needn’t to be enthused or defused by the approaches taken by either government on Kashmir in the past or present. Pakistan overemphasis on Kashmir and India’s reluctance on Kashmir isn’t emanating out of the love or hate but politics of necessity largely domestically shape both views than the love for Kashmir in Islamabad or New Delhi.The two countries’ policy represents those two positions and mindsets that are deeply entrenched into Islamabad and New Delhi since 1947. Both countries’ polices are yet imprisoned of the past based on their claims on whole of Kashmir that bore no fruit to the Kashmiri, neither India or Pakistan, and knowingly neither side would be able to implement its agenda.But failing to reconcile with the facts and relying on the flawed policies forced both the countries to promote failed politics that created political discontentment and disappointment on both sides of Kashmir.But Islamabad’s enthusiasm about Kashmir emanates from two of its misconceptions. First by raising Kashmir issue, Islamabad never means the whole state of Kashmir but only the ‘‘valley or Indian-administered Kashmir’’ that it believes is disputed.Since politics in the Pakistan-controlled parts of Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan bars those political parties from participating in elections that contest the constitutional clause seeking endorsement from candidates to be eligible in the elections to endorse “state’s accession with Pakistan. Second Pakistan tried to seek moral ascendancy by repeatedly calling for UN resolutions first, and later referred militancy as to challenge Indian control and justify its claims.But Islamabad politics of Kashmir and policy began falling apart soon after the militancy that eventually fired back and its reluctance from rolling it back finally resulted into the present extremist and terrorist challenges now Pakistan is facing on its western border owing to the similar reasons for not willing to give up these Jihadis completely.There is likelihood that if Islamabad refrained from dismantling this infrastructure in Kashmir sector, such violence may spread on the eastern border when these disgruntled elements find themselves abandoned and unemployed.While Pakistan failed to recognize that the problem of Kashmir is beyond the “valley” that includes Gilgit-Baltistan and its moral ascendancy may come to the question once trade and other interaction among the three regions may increase and give them true picture of developments of all sides. This grim reality that exists on Pakistan side of Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan makes Islamabad nervous and reluctant to include Gilgit-Baltsitan in the present CBMs. But the tide will turn as things will unfold in the coming days. Islamabad needs to recognize that the policy it has pursued on Kashmir has backfired on every count from supporting Jihad to the economic crisis to which Pakistan is currently faced with. Areas under its control are equally underdeveloped and underrepresented as compared to the Indian administered Kashmir. The dimensions and dynamics of Kashmir problem has changed in the last couple of decades that brought new economic realities to the fore-front especially since the truck service began.The trucks that left Srinagar were carrying the local products of Kashmir but the trucks that left Muzaffarabad were carrying all products that were imported from Rawalpindi representinmg the stark contrast between the two parts, its development potential and institutional credibility other side of Kashmir that does.The time is to think beyond the traditional slogans and politics in the larger interest of the region that currently facing challenges like growing extremism and terrorism in the region that affect India too, whoever is behind but question is that threat is there, if both countries didn’t give up politics of self-inflicting. The Kashmir0centric CBMs and initiatives can become the gateway for greater regional trade, tourism and cultural exchanges which both the countries including Kashmiri and rest of the region needed badly to overcome the forces of extremism, fundamentalism and communalism.
AKES – what ails you
By Gohar Abbas Gojali
Indeed the Aga Khan Education Service has played a vital role in educational development of Gilgit-Baltistan and the credit of female education goes solely to the AKES. But, unfortunately, this was true for the once upon a time phenomenon or the role played by AKES up to some years back. The AKES of today is entirely different from what it happened to be a decade back and the public opinion about this institution too is changing with the passage of time. Once a symbol of merit and excellence, the AKES of today is full of corruption tales, and misuse of power has become order of the day. The administrative power or the people on the executive posts are no different than the notorious civil plutocracy of Pakistan and misconduct and misguiding of students is just a norm.Students who get scholarships from the organization are the poor souls who suffer at the hands of the employees. This phenomenon is worse for females as there is an army of ill-mannered officials whom these would-be scholars have to face time and again. Scholarship information can better be obtained from the organization’s website or information desk but let me briefly introduce one of the species which haunts females of the region. Named as FMDP (female human development program), this is different from all other scholarships, as it is only granted to females of Gilgit-Baltistan and for this purpose a whole department has been set up in the Gilgit office of the organization. The selection of students for the scholarship is itself an enigma and a process too much tiring and when some miracle happens and a needy student qualifies for the scholarship, her miseries start. It should be noted that this scholarship includes their tuition and boarding charges in case the student resides in hostel which in most cases happens. The amount is transferred to the respective student quarterly which means she has to arrange for her boarding charges for two months as the scholarship will reach quarterly. When the mentioned period passes the poor student prepares for ‘good days’ but those days nevercome and she contacts the organization’s office and the concerned authority and is told to wait a few days and these few days convert to weeks and weeks to months and eventually the academic year ends and the student returns home.If exceptionally any student reminds the concerned authority they take it as a demand and the student is reprimanded.In one such case, when a student reminded the “authorities concerned” they said the organization was not out for charities and that she had made herself an addict of scholarship. Well I am not intellectual enough to explain the difference between a charity and public welfare but one thing I know with authority is that the organization gets millions of dollars for the welfare of poor community of the region besides there are some rules and laws. When you set criteria and assure the qualifiers of assistance, then you are legally bound to do it; besides what you are granting is given to you for that particular purpose.Firstly, I was of the thought that a few “scholarship afectees” are of such opinion but after much soul searching I came to find out an army of such ‘angry youth with the AKES’.
A disappointed welcome
By Tika Khan
Friendship with China is an “all weather and tested one”, “taller than the Everest and deeper than the Arabian Sea”, Pervez Musharaf, the former president, once high sounded during his visit to China. Indeed, it is true and has been proven in all critical circumstances. However, this friendship requires a wider range of cooperation and collaborations extending into all walks of life to maximize its vigor. Bilateral trade, cultural and youth exchange programmes are yet to scale up, are vital and entail due attention and that could help in improving relations at public level.Although the communities living across Pakistan-China boarder at Khunjerab pass have centuries-old family relations; however, repositioning of geo-political boundary between the two countries has separated families of the same tribe and culture. During the time of princely states, rulers from both regions, i.e. Hunza and Xingjian were used to exchange gifts and provide security to their Silk Route traders.Construction of Karakuram Highway-KKH has facilitated trade and communication to a great extent though a lot has to be done. Several obstacles in the way hinder and influence the relations between the friendly countries which require removing and addressing them timely effectively and efficiently. These issues are purely social and ethical in nature and not political. For the last five years, drug trafficking and smuggling of constrained biotic and non-biotic items including firecrackers, birds, liquor, chemicals etc. has increased. Very recently, heroin smuggling has rapidly increased and has been highlighted repeatedly in the newspapers. Local people from Northern Areas and outsiders are equally involved in these criminal activities with a single difference. Local victims are working with criminal gang agents of same locality or vicinity in carriage whereas masterminds behind the game belong to regions outside Northern Areas.A study of the familial and personal background of the victims shows that most of them belong to middle class, somehow facing financial hardships. Majority of the victims known to the locals and their fellow villagers are above the age of 25 and in some cases over 60. The local agents through exploitation of their pecuniary needs trap these local carriage agents (victims) and are given a certain quantity to smuggle into China.Widening and expansion of KKH will enhance communication and trade ties between the two countries, however, evil genius minds will keep an eye on several other means and ways of drug trafficking. These criminals have gained courage due to weak law enforcement and vigilance at the route at both sides of the boarder. Yet, improving alertness with latest equipment and search tools backed by the law enforcing and intelligence agencies will help reducing such criminal attempts. Severe punishments are inevitable supplemented with the education and awareness programmes for the youth, at least most affected communities alongside of the road. Civil society institutions, non-governmental organizations and government line departments should join hands to improve the prevailing situation.Likewise, drug trafficking from this side of the boarder, people from Hunza are upset with the Chinese drivers who sell liquor on the road while passing through till their camps. This has become a serious concern for community elders, public and civil society organizations in the area as youth of age 20 and above are suffering from substance abuse. Local administration and the Chinese law enforcing agencies should look into the matter seriously because this kind of poisoned youth becomes susceptible and more likely to be involved in criminal activities like drug smuggling and several potential threats across the boarder in the years ahead.People in Northern Areas are very happy with the arrival of their Chinese friends and widening work started on the Karakuram Highway but the kinds of activities mentioned above create misunderstandings and relation gaps between the two countries, if not at political level but at least at public level. It is, therefore, suggested to condemn such happenings and involvement sternly on both sides to realize a smooth run of business and friendly relations. ‘‘Long Live Pak-China Friendship’’