Gilgit - BaltistanPakistan

Op-Ed:Drugs, Guns and Northern Areas

by Aejaz Karim

Noor has pointed out a crucial issue of our society. We all must appreciate his effort to bring forth this striking dilemma. Interestingly we all know that these things are harmful and destructive stuff, but never stop ourselves from being hunted by this devil. Aside from the liquor coming from the very prosperous and developed friend the substance coming from the border areas of a ruined country is uprooting our financial and intellectual strengths. It is very unfortunate, indeed. Especially in context of Hunza and Gojal it is crucial to raise awareness about the intentions of these death merchants.

It is not that straight forward that people from down country, especially from NWFP have focused on our area as a potential market for their drug products. Drowning our material and financial resource is their secondary target while their primary aim is to destroy our human resource. I was astonished by going through a report prepared by an American journalist during the 1990s while the Soviet-Afghan war was in its last stage and “some strategists” in our country were putting their heads together to draw a new map for an “Islamic Afghanistan”. Fascinated by the future prospects they stretched the map of this new Afghanistan to the Xingjian providence of China and neighboring parts of central Asia. People living in between the borders of Afghanistan and China were thought to be stumbling blocks for their strategy. The report notes that the strategists devised plan to wear off the socio-economic structure of the area, Gilgit-Baltistan, through two things: Drug and Kalashnikov. This particular report discusses certain stunning facts with great detail. A deliberate destruction of the human and financial resources of the area was the bedrock of that particular plan. For this purpose they used some “bad guys” from NWFP to establish various groups and supply them both drugs and weapons to deal with the “others”. Mass migration from NWFP to various parts of Northern Areas was also encouraged by the then government which facilitated the free flow of drugs and guns to our area. Soon the environment of our city became full of the stink of gun-powder. Those bad guys enthusiastically enhanced this mission through various means. In order to get to the grassroots level they mainly used the services of various people including cobblers and barbers in various city and town centers. Within a short span of time they became very successful in creating sectarian violence and a strong network of drug suppliers in the main districts of Northern Areas of Pakistan. Youth were and are the special target group of this operation. We can see for the last few years the sectarian violence and wide spread drug consumption has badly downtrodden the socio-economic structure of the area. The wind of sectarian violence and target killings has swept away many icons from our areas. We lost many brilliant personalities due to the sectarian violence and are losing many more due to the drug abuse. Because of these unfortunate episodes a majority of the population has lost their love ones, property, belongings and above all hope to a better and prosperous future.

Unfortunately the rate of spending on drugs and weapons is higher than the spending on personal and social development. It is weakening the social fiber of our society. It is the time that our younger generation should come forward, deliberate over and raise awareness against this “dark strategy” devised for destroying our society. It is also important to recognize the wolves in sheep’s apparel among us. They could be found in every walk of life and every institutional setup. These death merchants are so powerful that they have penetrated the entire law enforcing agencies and those agencies have become their protectors and to a certain degree their supply chain. Let’s join hand and rise mass movement against drug abuse, because it is nothing more than destruction and devastation. Today the remainings of the same strategists are aggressively involved in furthering their past goals and objectives with special focus on our part of the world- on Hunza-Gojal. We can make a difference, yes we can.

N.B. The writer is associated with a U.S. Think Tank & Security organization in Washington, DC.

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  1. Ejaz has touched upon a very genuine issue that has changed the directions of our society to a great extant.

    The people of Gilgit and Baltistan have been the centre of attention for those who have been leading their dreams and evil planning of destroying the lives of the peace loving people of this beautiful area.

    The tragic fact is really hurting all of us and that is the government and our civil society have failed to check these elements while on the other hand these elements have taken deep roots in our society. Our politics is the target of these elements by using the money earned from drugs and arms in elections and also taking public offices by these elements.

    These elements have engaged and involved those who were drugs users (edicts) to smuggle drugs across the Chinese border.

    It is need of the day to check these elements within ourselves and do the needful to save our next generations against the manes of drugs and wepons.

  2. Ejaz Bahi thanks for your such a beautiful thoughts, I agree with you that the use of drug gives multiple benefits to the bad guys, they destroy the economy, create lot of social issues, destroy the human resource specially the most precious one’s the young generation and suck all the wealth out.
    I also agree with you that most of our people are aware of the hazards of the use of drugs. Despite that they fall pray to this devil. But the question arise here is that, how we can stop all this, what could be the most effective way to cope this growing problem. How we can stop the young guy who think that the use of drug and alcohol is nothing but just to have fun and that cigarette is just an add to his personality.
    I think some serious steps are needed to be taken immediately by our institutions, our student bodies specially the sports bodies and every one in their individual capacity. To stop this evil before it become too late.

  3. The issue is really very sensitive and demands very quick attention from our elders, youngsters and institutions. Almost all of us know who are involved in supplying these death capsules in our areas and who are their protectors. The main thing is who will get the first step to eradicate such elements from destroying our future builders ( youth) and how it needs to be done?

    In the first step this issue should be taken very seriously by our institutions under the umbrella of Local Councils or Social Welfare Boards. Secondly, a thorough survey should be conducted at village level to find out people involved in this henious trade. thirdly, a comprehensive strategy should be devised to eradicate these elements from our society. If locals are found involved they should be dealt with accordingly and in case outsiders are involved they should be expelled from our villages. I think we can say good bye to cobblers and hair dressers etc in order to save our future generation. in the mean time local people should adopt every profession to earn their livelihood and stop such kind of destructions by non-locals.

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