PML (Q) legislator, Marvi Memon, presented a bill in the national assembly on 12th August, two days before Pakistan celebrated her independence day, seeking provincial status for Gilgit – Baltistan. The bill was unanimously rejected by the house. The bill was rejected because according to the KANA federal minister, Kaira, the issue is ‘sensitive’. He said that the government has increased the budget of Northern Areas Legislative Assembly (NALA) and this, he said, would help bring the people at par with rest of the citizens of Pakistan. He further said that Marvi Memon was playing politics over the northern areas and playing politics over such sensitive matters was against interest of the nation.
Presenting the bill Marvi Memon said on floor of the house that people of Gilgit – Baltistan were being discriminated against by the governments of Pakistan. She addressed the PM saying that he wasn’t interested in affairs of the region. While Marvi deserves appreciation for presenting the bill in the legislative assembly one can’t resist questioning her intentions in doing so.
Let’s remind the readers that father of Marvi Memon, the former KANA minister, was responsible for creation of the dependent and useless NALA in the region. The condition of the region wasn’t any better in those times and the PML (Q), being the government in the center and in Gilgit – Baltistan, could easily have given the much sought status of the ‘fifth province’ for the region. But such thoughts did not cross the minds of Marvi, her father or rest of the ‘well wishers’ of Gilgit – Baltistan’. It seems that the political heroism of Memon family is being tested and sharpened in the leaderless Gilgit – Baltistan.
Nisar A. Memon, father of Marvi, was accused of using his position as minister to pave ways for creating business opportunities for his family in the region. According to news and statements published routinely in the regional press of Gilgit – Baltistan, the minister has bought considerable area of land in the region – especially in Baltistan. In disputed regions the buying and selling of land by parties engaged in the dispute is a controversial issue, condemned vociferously by nationalist forces which also demand enaction of the state-subject rule in Gilgit – Baltistan.
The presentation of such a bill in the national assembly, however, is a unique event. It failed partly because of the stubborn attitude of the establishment and partly because proper lobbying efforts, vital for passing of a bill, were not made by Marvi Memon. It seems that Marvi was just interested in ‘raising the voice’.