Gilgit - BaltistanPakistan

Op – Ed: Awakening of Gilgit – Baltistan (A response to N N Khattak)

by Abbas Ali

N N Khan Khattak has touched upon a very sensitive matter, discussing the hidden hands behind the current surge in the political movements of Gilgit-Baltistan. He has tried to present in a very convincing way that people other than residents of Gilgit-Baltistan are behind the increasing protests regarding violation of basic human rights in Gilgit-Baltistan over a very long time of 60 years. He has tried to link all political movements which have consciously started to take initiative against oppression and exploitation in all areas of life economic, social, political and human rights.

Let’s suppose that RAW is behind the Balawaristan National Front of Hameed and Naji groups and they are active in the area on the behest of Indian desires to destabilize Pakistani interest. Mr. Khattak did not bother to discuss how RAW has got this golden opportunity, if any, to exploit these groups against Pakistani interests. Let’s explore some of the many answers to this basic question but very important ones.

First, History of Gilgit-Baltistan is one among few unique histories in the nations of the world we are living.  After the courageous people of these mountain desserts had won their independence from Dogra Raj in October 31, 1947, they voluntarily joined the than Pakistan of Quid – e – Azam.  A Pakistan, which was based on two nations theory and destined to become a democratic republic, according to the wishes of its great founders.  However, unfortunately the founder of Pakistan died under mysterious circumstances. Soon after the Quid-e-Azam, Pakistan’s first Prime Minister was brutally assassinated while he was addressing with his nation, at the very same place where very recently one of Pakistan’s most revered ex-prime minister Benazir Bhutto was heinously killed.  From Liaquat Ali Khan to Benazir Bhutto there are many hidden and open sinister chapters in the history of Pakistan, including separation of a significantly Muslim dominated East Pakistan, political murder of Z.Bhutto, Zia’s marshal law and all the latest incidents.  All these cases of corruption, murder and breaching constitution are not big deals in Pakistan, it seems. If people of Gilgit-Baltistan could have perceived such a deceptive trajectory of Pakistan, from the ways of the founding fathers, they would never have made the mistake of affiliating themselves with Pakistan, on rational grounds.

Second important issue is the brutal treatment of Gilgit-Baltistan by the Pakistani governing bodies. Let’s count what Gilgit-Baltistan has gained over a long history of six decades.  Chronologically the first one is Karakorum High Way (KKH). But why did Pakistan bothered to build KKH? Was it for the people of Gilgit-Baltistan or for the vested interests of Pakistan, herself? It does not require lengthy arguments and answer for this question is very simple. Building KKH was necessary for Pakistan’s survival, because of its dependency on China for all its strategic and military support. With all its tall promises USA has abandoned Pakistan in times of need, such as  in its War with Indian keeping Pakistan with open eyes  waiting for Naval Station, following it Pakistan divided into two. For the survival of the rest, it was only China who has graciously extended a helping hand while Pakistan was facing hostility from its two other immediate neighbors Afghanistan and Indian.  Thus, it was a mere compulsion of Pakistan to build KKH and people of Gilgit-Baltistan incidentally happened to be on this road. It is all, thanks to be the neighbors of China, that people of Gilgit-Baltistan have got KKH otherwise they may still have been suffering, without any link with outer world.

Since then it is not possible to count any major projects which have benefited people of Gilgit-Baltistan. Till recently there was only one degree college in the area, while knowledge hungry youth of Gilgit-Baltistan were suffering discriminatory approaches in the Universities of Pakistan. They still do so because the Karakuram International University (KIU) is still in its infancy, without any proper recognition of its academic standards.

In the entire civilized world there is not a single country where a non-elected person from an alien region controls and heads an elected assembly. But this shameful thing is happening in the Gilgit-Baltistan under the eyes and noses of the Pakistani governing bodies, where a person, most often either from Punjab or NWFP heads the elected representatives of Gilgit-Baltistan in the so called Northern Areas Legislative Assembly (NALA). The chairman of NALA (Minister for Kashmire and NA affairs) is not answerable at any level to the people of Gilgit-Baltistan.

There is no lack of resources for the development of Gilgit-Baltistan in the region; one of the abundantly available resources is water that could generate much needed electricity not only enough for Gilgit-Baltistan rather it could be heavily exported to other regions as well. But still people of Gilgit-Baltistan consume less than 5 Watts Average power per capita. In rest of Pakistan this average is 48 and the world average is 297. It is not, in anyways, different from the case of Sui gas, which has been used all over Pakistan but not in the villages closest to Sui. The local Sardars, including Bugti, were blamed for under development of Baluchistan but what about Gilgit-Baltistan, there are no Jagirdars (Land Lord) here. Not individuals but state policies keep the people deprived, alienated and oppressed.

Average literacy rate is below 20% in the Gilgit-Baltistan, if we exclude the 85% literacy rate in Hunza because of AKDN’s initiative the average literacy rate of Gilgit-Baltistan will further slid down.  Female literacy rate is hardly 7%, again a shameful position. The same worst kind of situation can be seen in all components of the ‘Human Development Indicators (HID); the standard measurement scale of development, introduced by UNDP. People of the area are living in a disgraceful poverty; almost half of 1.5 million inhabitants of Gilgit-Baltistan live below poverty line.

Given this state of affairs, after 60 years of its independence and affiliation with the Islamic Republic, what options are the people of Gilgit-Baltistan left with other than raising voices for independence and freedom of political, economic and social oppression? Why Mr. Khattak and people like him want the people of Gilgit-Baltistan suffer humiliation and disgrace while the world around them is enjoying fruits of prosperity, development and freedom.  It would be very much intelligent for Mr. Khattak and people like him to think of what Pakistani governing bodies have done with the people of Gilgit-Pakistan over the long 6 decades of its history other than, humiliating by denying them the basic human rights of democratically elected representatives, honorable food, clothing and housing, electricity and education. What people of the area have got in abundance was the sectarian and ethnic bloodshed of their own people, which has brought to the Gilgit-Baltistan by the heinous powers in order to suppress a united struggle for the rights; otherwise people of Gilgit-Baltistan lived together peacefully and lovingly with each other for centuries.  Why do you need RAW, MOSSAD, KGB or CIA in a situation like this, they do not need to be bothered. People of Gilgit-Baltistan have all their sympathies with all Pakistani brothers and sisters who are also suffering the worst of their lives under their atrocious governments.

One thing which is most important to remember is the awakening of the people of Gilgit-Baltistan, who’s brave and courageous ancestors are buried in the historic ‘Chinar Bagh’, the monument of the independence of Gilgit-Baltistan. It is logical to assume that the martyrs, who laid down their lives for independence of Gilgit-Baltistan, did not do so to see their future generations suffering perennially. It is now time for the people of Gilgit-Baltistan to struggle for their basic human rights. Certainly now the struggles of the people of Gilgit-Baltistan will never die unheard because they have sacrificed a lot to attain the most important power of pen and ink, which cannot be snatched from them no matter how brutal, the oppressor might be.

 The Writer is a student of Muslim Cultures at the, Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilizations (ISMC)- Aga Khan University, London

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  1. Dear Abbas,
    Thank you for the thought provoking article, which reflects the true facts and figures with critical reflection on Gilgit-Baltistan. I do hope in future you will continue to share your wisdom with the national and international media by representing Gilgit-Baltistan.
    Thanks for Pamir Times for disseminating valuable thoughts
    Keep it up

    Thanks and regards
    Sharif Khan

  2. Bravo, Mr. Abbas. You are right and I would like to add that people of Gilgit Baltistan may have decided to affiliate to Pakistan in the best interest of its people but were betrayed by the political and military leadership who have remained in power most of the times and unlike the rest of Pakistan they have gone against the aspirations of its citizen by engaging into proxy wars of the superpowers.

    Today our so-called elected representatives are humiliated in the hands of even lover grade bureaucrates imposed on them by the ministery of Kashmir and Northern Areas Affairs. These bureaucrates are doing their best to deny the locals their basic rights. These allian bureaucrates are preferred on the local officers thus giving an impression that locals are incapable to run the affairs of the area. This attitude has shaken the confidence of the local officers.

  3. Mr. Abbas has very deftly elaborated the suppression of and violation and usurpation of the rights of the people of the Mountain Desert in the hands of Pakistani agents and bureaucrats. Although I have affinity with NN Khan Khattak’s opinions and notions, but there are some reservations and limitations to how he has depicted the Mountain Desert. Mr. Khan has very poorly tried to use stories of RAW conspiracies in the Northern Areas without citing any proof or justification in an attempt to eclipse the economic and social injustices and violation of human rights by the agents of Pakistan who are controlled by policy makers sitting in the federal capital. No doubt that there are RAW, CIA and Mossad agents engaged in destabilizing Pakistan on many fronts including Balochistan, SWAT and the Pak Afghan border, but it would have been better if evidences were provided by Mr. Khan to justify his claim of RAW associations with the nationalist movements in the N.A’s. The presence of CIA in SWAT was identified very recently when ISI informed CIA about Baitulla Mahsood’s movement inside SWAT and provided them every detail so that the CIA could target him. But, to the dismay of ISI, CIA showed no reaction, but instead provided protection to the terrorist commander Baitullah Mahsood. This proves that the terrorists destabilizing Pakistan in NWFP are USA sponsored. The US has crafted this double standard strategy to divide and exploit Pakistan as a strategic corridor to destabilize the gigantically emerging economy and 1/3 population of the world.

    Mr. Khan has made an attempt to portray only one side of the coin and has disregarded the other half. He has not written a single sentence about the violations of human rights and injustices being committed by Pakistani agents in the N.A’s. Through inscrutable designs, the Pakistani agents have been suppressing engagements asking for their rights from gaining momentum.

    Even the media is not allowed to project the injustices and violations of human rights being committed in the Northern Areas. Our channels candidly project operations and bloodsheds in WANA, Swat and other areas excluding the Mountain Desert. Somehow, if media coverage were allowed, they showed and praised our mountains and green valleys, and did not bothered projecting the destitute and the dying as an upshot of Pakistan sponsored brutalities, injustices and bloodsheds in these beautiful and exotic valleys.

    Elected legislative body represents the people, a majority of whose members are government agents said to represent the people in the so called NALA, with a so-called deputy chief executive as the head, who is dictated from the federal capital through a handpicked minister for Kashmir Affairs and Northern Areas. This shows how the people are kept away from political indigenization. An interview of some of these handpicked representatives of the NALA, on AJJ TV, by Talat Hussain, exposed the degree to which these handpicked representatives could go cant. They not only flattered praises in favor and goodwill of the government, but depicted the governance of N.A’s as an image of utopia.

    Barely a voice is raised against the violations of basic human rights, because those who do and mobilize people to do so inevitably pay the price in the hands of Pakistani agents who intimidate and terrorize them. Those sitting in the federal capital think they have a race destined to govern and subdue the N.A’s and they don’t even abstain from using divisive forces to divide and rule.

    Sixty years ago we made a tryst with destiny by joining Pakistan, and now the time comes when we shall unnerve and redeem our pledge, and snatch our rights or keep on enduring these injustices as we have done for the last sixty years.

  4. Hello
    i think there is some mistake in ourselves as well
    because have we ever thought that what we are doing in our area
    History of Pakistan not affected Northern Areas only but also the southern areas
    If we talk about KHI then alright the Govt has done that 4 their own benefits but there are also very beautiful areas in Southern side like Swat Kalam Naran kaghan
    what is happening there
    then about KIU
    “Rome was not built in one day”
    ok ya v r not given the facilities yet but what about the facilities we have been provided
    was it fair enough to spoil most of the facilities on the basis of ego
    the issue doesnt end here
    In june almost for 1 month the university was closed due to quarells among locol students
    Literacy rate is not increasing n its a great dillema but hav v ever thought that who are working in the educational instituions
    Also i want 2 say that y r people suffering due 2 religionalism
    any area can progress if people really want progress
    i m sorry if my ideas hurt u or anybody else


    We are blaming RAW,CIA,MOSAD,ISI etc as the responsible for creating instability in NAs .Whose main objective is to get the targets by whatever means and ways they have to use.
    Do any one knows that why and how these agencies get penetration in the regional affairs or in the administrative affairs of a certain area???????? These agencies are an example of a purchaser, who purchase people(both high class bureaucrats and politicians), These are the people, who are ready to be purchased and make the hell for others for their own goodies. Isn’t it so?. the agencies use every possible mechanism to achieve their targets.they do this all through our own people and by using them.
    So why our people do not think about patriotism,respect of their area,the great sacrifices of the heroes of Independence of Gilgit-Baltistan and the sovereignty of NAs.
    Have you seen any Indian , Israeli or American in the north, preaching ideas against Pakistan and trying to create instability among sects, races,languages and regions? definitely not. Then do they work From some where in the sky through a satelite? No. These are our own people making themselves available for sale in the hands of agencies…………………………..
    I don,t know that are there any agencies involved in activities in north or not,because there isn’t any proof. As far as the Nationalists or the nationalist parties are concerned i am with them at least to extent of demanding our rights. they have provided the people of north a sense of demand, a courage of looking in the eyes of the cruel master.given an idea of demanding the rights(the ways and means can be controversial), they at least have given a platform to stand and rise a voice for justice. and if not given the rights then YES ready to die and kill.
    Hum to Dooobay hain sanam
    tum ko bhi lay dooobaingay.


  6. Dear Abbas

    Thank you for the spectacular article. You have indeed presented very convincing arguments. It is indeed considered to be undeniable fact that the people of Gilgit-Baltistan are being oppressed by the successive governments of Pakistan. Various news paper articles and investigative reports have revealed the same. It is indeed unfortunate that human rights are not only violated in Gilgit-Baltistan but by and large across Pakistan.
    Your article has indeed raised the voices of those who have sacrificed so much for Pakistan, yet they have been ignored. I hope this article will give some food for thought for not only the rulers, but it will also give some new dimensions for the people of Gilgit-Baltistan.

    Aafiyat Nazar

  7. the writer has artfully elaborated the facts that has been observing in that moutain zone.what so ever name it had been given is ludicrous and ignominy to the high peace loving dwellers. i wonder being a communty we have failed to name ourself sacrificing thousands of lives for the gratis life ! some times i thnk if it was the penalty for the cession with paksitan or delibarately annexation with pakistan!!! was that a mistake of the dountless freedom fighters or the vision to have peace in a muslim country!!what so ever happened to them was to me a loyality with the pak land,but in return we have bestowed with the names mentioned all above.

    it is indeed high time to ponder over the deviel designs people have been making to impair the superamcy and tarnish the deep rooted association and loyality with the other side of coin??? angling the facts of last 6 decads it is no more then a sour experience of dejection and despondent over the treatment of Government. as no such heeds have been paid to get the developmental work on the track and give the rights to the people for better life and prosperity . some how the whole nation is runing on broken chian……..

    the dear comentators have expounded the dealings of our govt with the people and land in such long journey of history and the page of history has been discolored at every level . but the reaction till now is insufficient even dead,raising head to chalk out the move for better change from our big guns are still sluggish and ineffective, they are still in the dark room.

    and the people have no combine move for a better change as well as progress ,the society is scattered and have no idea and vision for the future,this has been hampering the integrity particularly among the high positioned personnels.

    i appreciate the stance of Pamir Times for the true interpretations of the facts and the plate form from where youths have been empowered and acknowledged about the illoccurance in the region. i do beleive in pt for more youth mobilization for a futuristic change ,harmony , peace and unity among the inhabitants of that part. and more projection of the true occurings in the region

    we need to get involve in to combine objective enhancement rather indvidual gain. we need to engineer youths to make them thnk about combine national interests and bring unity to defeat this treacherous plots and face the unpredicted challenges.this can be achieved throughthe front line writers contributiion to bridge the gap between youths of the region through their writting.

  8. Islamic heritage, conspiracy theories and struggle for rights in Gilgit-Baltistan

    Once upon a time, in great Islamic cities of Damascus, Baghdad, Jerusalem and elsewhere healthy debate lighted up in intellectual circles. Some of these debates concerned the notion of human will versus human destiny. In this long and interesting debate the idea of Qadar or Taqdeer held sway over the minds of retrogressive theologians and their lay followers. The idea of Taqdeer was particularly taken up and patronised by Machiavellian caliphs, most notably Mamoon ur Rasheed, who used it to consolidate their power over the masses, since pious Muslims were deceptively encouraged to believe that God has predestined people to behave in certain modes of being. It naturally followed that Caliph was God’s greatest vicegerent on earth therefore it was essential to obey a ‘pious caliph’. This notion was pushed still farther to the extent that an oppressive prince was preferred over anarchy. Today, in the Muslim world we live a life of Taqdeer. You ask anybody on the street about the lack of opportunities for employment, lack of basic health facilities, inadequate and incompetent governance, and corrupt political leaders then the natural answer is that ‘ya he hamari taqdeer hai’. It is so awful that people would simply bury their heads in the sand rather than rise to the occasion and examine their state of affairs and work for its improvement.

    Historically, the predominance of the idea of Taqdeer over the idea of human will resulted in a systematic decay of a grand Islamic beginning initiated by the Prophet himself and tenaciously followed thereafter for some time. Had the concept of free will being encouraged and cultivated, we would never have the sorts of ills we are facing today. Across the Muslim world, one of the problems that plague our societies is the sheer lack of open debate, critical reflection and a willingness to accept nuanced realities and truths. To shed light on the pathetic state of affairs in the Muslim world UNDP’s Arab Human Development Report, written and produced by Arab intellectuals themselves, recognises three important areas where the Muslim world is severely handicapped: as they point out ‘knowledge deficit, freedom deficit, and gender deficit’.

    The catastrophe of intellectual freedom has plunged us today into an abyss of darkness form which we will not be able to rise unless we begin to tolerate opposing points of view, the rights of cultural liberty, and a space for the recognition of the struggle for human rights. While commenting on Abbas Ali sahip’s soul searching article i have sought to situate this debate about our struggle for human rights in Northern Areas, in a broader cultural context. Since we, in Pakistan and Gilgit-Baltistan, live with a broader Muslim cultural heritage that is finding itself under attack from all sorts of directions. I admit that there may be sinister motives of imperial and other powers to suppress the great Islamic heritage of justice, equity, brotherhood and our grandeur but if we shut down our own people’s voices and their legitimate struggles for their basic rights then we will be lethally damaging our own cause by our ourselves. As the prayer goes that ‘God save me from my friends for I can take care of my enemies’. NN Khattak and others who are supposedly well-wishers of the integrity of Pakistan are actually suppressing the soul of the nation by spreading false stories and presenting conspiracy theories as realities on the ground.

    Mr. NN Khattak’s whimsical, unsubstantiated, and wild claims about the involvement of such intelligence agencies as RAW, CIA, MOSSAD to name a few is nothing but cries of a sick-minded yellow journalist who doesn’t wish to take responsibility for the ills and mistakes made by our own people. As skilfully pointed out by Abbas Ali sahip that corruption, murder, incompetence, nepotism, and violence are no big deals at all in Pakistan, why then a legitimate struggle for our rights in Gilgit-Baltistan be seen as undermining the federation of Pakistan. There has never been a violent insurgency in GB like what is happening in Baluchistan, Swat and for that matter the tribal areas. The people of Gilgit-Baltistan are the most peaceful and perhaps quite ironically the most patriotic people in the country. If given a chance they will sincerely and wholeheartedly like to become a fifth province of the country unlike the impression created by NN Khan and others who think that local nationalist groups such as Balawaristan National Front, Karakorum National Movement and KSO are a bunch of separatist groups. Having said this it should be however recognised that human history tells us that the soul of a nation or community long-suppressed ultimately finds its redemption one day or the other. The current state of affairs must not go on forever, and as pointed out by Abbas today the people of Gilgit-Baltistan have acquired the ultimate weapon of ‘pen and ink’ that cannot be snatched. As prophet said, ‘the ink of a scholar is holier than the blood of a martyr. The dawn of hope that holy struggle propelled by ink and intellect is already dimly visible.

  9. Thank you very much Abbas for emphatically nullifying the stupid arguments put forward by that yellow journalist (good work Sultan for identifying him). I hope Abbas has also send this opinion to Pakistan Observer as well. Your article has establish true facts but i still i’ll make a couple of points.

    it is a truth that the Pakistani establishment tried in the past to change the demographics of the region by encouraging people specially from nwfp to settle in the region, but thankfully due to continued awareness amongst the locals and insufficient lack of economic has discouraged that trend.

    Secondly it is an open truth that various agencies are and were actively widening and flaming the sectarian divide in the region. The diversity of the region has been exploited and used against the people. Concerted efforts are in progress to fragment the society on sectarian, regional, linguistic and ethnic basis. Some might argue that why the people allow themselves to be exploited, the reason being first because of lack of awareness and secondly because the lack or absence of economic opportunity, lawlessness and indifferent attitude by the government has created a sense of insecurity amongst the people making them come together as pressure groups, clan based organizations, religious outfits or even a local NGO. These entities try to gain economic/social/political benefits on accounts of other groups. So organisations in our society compete for development rather than cooperate to achieve it. All this abodes well for those whose interests lie in a segregated and fragmented society of ours. No points for guessing whose.

    Some people argue that there has been some development in our area and we are better of than a lot of the regions of pakistan. Why compare yourself with the poorest regions of pakistan. Why r people happy with having one university, one hospital and two colleges. This self defeating arguments are also one of the biggest hurdle in the “awakening of the Gilgit-Baltistan”. Mind you with the resources that our area has got we should be able to establish 10 universities, hundreds of hospitals and thousands of colleges, and also the reason such articles are slapped on to our faces.

  10. Wonderful Abbas, to write such a wonderful article that represents the true and genuine concerns of the people of Gilgit-Baltistan.

  11. Dear Abbas Bhai,
    First of all I would like to congratulate you for the article you have posted about the Gilgit-Baltistan affairs. It is really an effective articulation and deserves great adulations.
    I went through your article thoroughly and found many facts and figures about the Gilgit-Baltistan, a region where people are oppressed and their rights have not been reinstated.
    The sacrifices and services the people of Gilgit-Baltistan have rendered to Pakistan from the very beginning can not be disregarded or denied at any length. They have shown their full commitment and sincerity considering themselves as the true and patriotic citizens of Pakistan. Unfortunately the country in return has not valued their strong affiliation and kept them starving of the basic human and constitutional rights and suppressed them all the time. I have already mentioned about the geo-political significance of Gilgit-Baltistan in one of my posts and these are further elaborated by Abbas Ali and Fazal Amin Baig.
    So far the region has remained very fertile for Pakistan as its geographical location has been a source of fascination and attraction for many from the globe. Every year a huge number of expatriates, tourists, students and in spirants visit the region and this adds many folds to the economy of the country.
    Apart from the significance of the geographical location for the tourists, it has been of great geopolitical significance for Pakistan. It is having its geographical relations with the world’s emerging countries including Russia as world’s second powerful country and China as an emerging threat for the supreme and governing countries of the world. Apart from these two India which is growing rapidly in the field if information technology and biotechnology, for which Pakistan has great animosity also has its geographical linkages with the region.
    The recent initiatives by China in widening the KKH is yet another plus point to speak well of. This area will further boost up the business terms between the two countries and the gas pipeline and the railway tract which are the near future prospects also have their fluxes from the region.
    The sacrifices rendered by the martyrs, who have sacrificed their whole lives for the sustainability and stability of Pakistan still remain unjustified and undeserved.
    I would like to invite the youth of region to come and think of the various issues together and come up with some consensus so that the best interest of the people of the region is met and ongoing falsified and wrong perceptions about the inhabitants is addressed keeping in consideration the facts that truly represent the simple and innocent dwellers.
    At last I would like to thank all those of you who have been curious in resolving the persistent problems of the region, at the top of which stands the legal rights that have not been reinstated and restored in the best interest of the people of the region unlike that of the other parts of the country.
    Aslam Ghalib

  12. Salam to you Abbas bhai, am really glad to see that, people like you belong to Us, who can defend the innocent people of gilgit-baltistan from some ill-minded, ideological terrrorists like n n khattak and many others like him.

    khattak has criticised the establishment of BNSO(Balawaristan National Students Organization) in Karakoram International University and (BNF) as well. So, as a part of BNSO, I want to inform mr. khattak that BNSo has been struggling for legal and constituional rights since 1996. The people of this region are deprived of all their basic human rights, political and economic rights, and are subject to oppression by by the state. We suffer untold miseries at the hands of security forces and intelligence agencies, which are deployed in strength to subdue the nationalists of our area. Because the people of the region have been demonstrating their anger about, and rejection of the criminal negligence of the Pakistani governments, they continue to be targeted and eliminated silently. now, people like mr. khattak are using media and writting baseless articles about a Nation. Who has given you the authority to degrade us?. mr. khattak has no information about what we are… We are the subject of peace, we are the ambassioders of harmony, we are the Owners of Nanga Parbat, we are the defenders of Siachin, WE ARE BALORITANIS.

  13. I think the Govt of Pakistan never realized the importance of Nothern Areas and current weak position of Pakistan is providing an oppertunity to RAW and others to provide funds to some black sheeps in Nothern Areas to destabilize Pakistan and same is true about other areas in the south. Lack of interest by the Govt of Pakistan may be because of lower population density of the Nothern Areas, relatively high costs for building roads, lack of leadership and representation of the people of this region in Islamabad and corrupt Govt and Politicians on national level. People feel disfrenchised from the federation of Pakistan as result and same is true about many other parts of Pakistan.
    Right now Pakistan is facing existensial threat and we must know our real enemies and put all of our force together to defeat them. I think, corruption, greed, injustice and ignorance are our largest enemies. I belong from Punjab and live in Canada since 2002, I have never seen the Nothern Areas of Pakistan but one thing I know for sure, if Pakistan was to survive these areas will play a very crucial part in it’s survival. As the author has mentioned there is large of potential for the generation of electricity in these areas as Indus and many small rivers run through these areas at high altitude. I read in an other article that these areas can generate additional 30,000 MW of electricty if worked, that is almost twice of our current production by all means. There are line losses for transporting the electricity to far off distances, that will mean we will need to build cities, industries and other infrastructre around Nothern Areas to consume this production. Energy is likely going to be very expensive in 21st century as time passes by. That sounds very promising for Nothern Areas. There are not many alternatives for the Govt of Pakistan and start of Bhasha Dam is first step in this direction.
    Nothern Areas are stretigically very important for Pakistan and they work as bridge between Pakistan and China. Currently trade between Pakistan and China is around $6 billion per year and it will likely expand with better roads and probably a rail link. Rail link may be expensive right now to build but if the trade grows it will eventually happen. Since rail project will be likely very expensive, Govt can consider taking rail to north in stages rather than building whole rail track all at once. Right now govt should try to build KKH as four lane highway and try to reduce travel time between Islamabad and Gilgit. Govt of Pakistan should give special attention to Gilgit and Skardu and these velleys should be developed and all basic infrastructure like schools, colleges, Universities and hospitals should be build. This will increase the revenue for these areas as these velleys attract tourist from World over. Govt may invest in mining industry as well as these areas have potential in this regard as well this will also create jobs and revenue.
    One of my friend was saying Rome was not build in one day and that is true. But at the same time it is true that these area did not get much deserved attention they should have received. They should not be ruled by Islamabad, but a province type status should be granted to these area where head of these area is from these area, not from Islamabad or elsewhere. I see bright future for these areas in coming decades, however you should not expect anything overnight.

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