BNF slams propaganda against nationalists
BANGKOK (THAILAND): A three-member delegation of the Balawaristan National Front (BNF) from Giligt-Baltistan met the exiled chairman of the BNF, Abdul Hamid Khan, at Bangkok and apprised him of the current political situation in the region. This was for the first time that such a delegation met the chairman since he went into exile to avoid persecution in 1999. The delegation was led by former president of the BNF Safdar Ali and comprised former central general of the party Burhanullah and ex-general secretary BNF Ghizer Qayyum Khan. During the meeting, the BNF chief briefed the delegation about his efforts to highlight the issue of the region in Geneva and Brussels. The meeting also discussed the possibility of the chairman’s return from exile. The chairman of the BNF expressed his desire to return to the country but it was agreed that a final decision would be taken after consulting all friends and party leaders. Mr Abdul Hamid Khan once again made it clear that he was never against the solidarity and integrity of Pakistan but had been working to highlight the issues of Balawaristan (Gilgit-Baltistan), Ladakh, Shenaki Kohistan and Chitral and enable them to live like other nationalities of India and Pakistan with dignity and respect. The BNF leaders in the meeting strongly condemned state-sponsored propaganda against the nationalists of the region, especially the BNF. They also demanded that the injustices and ‘ethnic cleansing’ of the indigenous people of Gilgit-Baltistan should be stopped. They also said that patronage and sponsoring of killers and terrorists should be stopped and the government should bring all such elements to justice and provide safety to the people of the region. They also said that the practice of killing the youth of Gilgit-Baltistan in other parts of the country should be stopped. The BNF leaders also said that the state-sponsored sectarian killing started in 1971 should come to an end and the government should stop the practice of dividing the political, religious and even public sector employees on sectarian lines. The government of Pakistan instead of becoming a part of the internal and external conspiracies should focus on its duty of defending the international borders of the area. The Pakistan government should also stop looking at the people of Gilgit-Baltistan suspiciously and transfer all the powers to the region so that the indigenous people can manage their own affairs in accordance with their aspirations. “The BNF would like to reiterate its stance that it is not against the solidarity and integrity of Pakistan. Pakistan can safeguard its interest by using its army to defend the international borders instead of deploying it among the people.” The leaders said that the BNF supports the dialogue process between India and Pakistan but at the same time it clarified that no decision reached at by the two countries would be acceptable until and unless the opinions of the people of Gilgit-Baltistan was solicited through an internationally-recognized and a transparent process. The BNF leaders also demanded that in order to include the people of Gilgit-Baltistan in the peace talk process, the routes between connecting the region with Ladakh and Kashmir should be opened. Besides, they also called upon the government of Pakistan to open the old trade routes between Gilgit-Baltistan and the Central Asian states. They said until the political status of Gilgit-Baltistan is determined under the international law Pakistan should stop implementation of capital punishment in the region. They said that no justice system can work to provide justice if it is established under a package. It would be a slap on the spirit of the justice system. The meeting vowed that the people of the region would continue their struggle until and unless they were given all the powers to manage and run their socio-economic and political affairs on their own. The meeting also opposed and condemned registration of treason cases against the BNF chairman Abdul Hamid Khan and others and said that the practice to prolong the outside rule in the region by implicating the indigenous people in fabricated cases should come to an end. They said that both India and Pakistan should play their democratic roles in ensuring the right of representation to the people of Gilgit-Baltistan. The BNF leaders also decided to mobilize the people of the region for expediting the movement to achieve their rights denied to them for the last over six decades.
As the constitutional and political status of Gilgit-Baltistan has remained in limbo for over six decades, violation of basic human rights is a common norm in the constitutional starved land including the curbs on freedom of speech. An unseen shackle remains coiled around the local press in the form of financial constraints whereas access of international press is either very limited or dose not exist at all.
Keeping in view the violation of basic human rights and the obstacles that lay in the way of a free press in the region, Bang-e-Sahar started its publication in the form of a monthly magazine from Karachi. The fearless and bold policies of the magazine unearthed an endless tale of bulldozing of basic human rights, massive corruption and financial embezzlements and ruthless bloodshed in the name of either religious beliefs or an assumed and self invented fake national identity. These achievements made the magazine a widely read and people termed it their sole representative but applauds and embracing from the largest segment of the society invited the wrath of a small but powerful segment well known as the establishment.
The establishment left no stone unturned to bare the publication of the magazine and detract its publisher from his stance. These were the most difficult times for Bang-e-Sahar as copies of the magazine went mysteriously ‘missing, before reaching the market while the publisher was implicated in a number of fake cases some of which are still pending in various courts of Gilgit-Baltistan. Even the people associated with the magazine were not spared as various free lance contributors, reporters and press people were physically assaulted and mentally tortured by creating hurdles for their families as firing their loved ones from government jobs and making obnoxious threatening calls to their family members.
The magazine, despite all the barriers went ahead without accepting a slightest shift in its policies and in 2007 it changed it status from a monthly publication to a weekly newspaper while following the noble legacy of the magazine. The new shape of the publication as a weekly paper too gained the support of the masses and it is evident from the fact that the weekly paper had a circulation more than the collective circulation of all the weekly and daily local publications of Gigit-Baltistan.
The milestones of success did not lasted here and the weekly paper started its daily publication from Ghizer district of Gilgit-Baltistan on 21st March 2010. Bange Sahar believes in following professional ethics while performing its duties and its slogan of bringing the wrongdoings by the political bigwigs and establishment of the region to the court of the masses and the international community no matter at what cost.
Bang-e-Sahar secured yet another feather to its cap as it started publication of an English weekly Baang thus taking the shape of a group of publication registered as Sahar Publishing Network (SPN).
The team well come’s intellectuals, lawyers, politicians, journalists, students and the common masses of the region to join in Bang-e-Sahar to fulfill its mission of voicing the woes of an enslaved nation and struggle to uncoil the shackles that have tied the region for over six decades.
Please cilick (www.bangesahar.com)