by Amina Khan
Today I was helping my younger brother with a class project in which he had to write about his culture and history. We started writing about Hunza, discussing at length beauty of the mountains and valleys, simplicity of the life, richness of our food, our exemplary high literacy ratio, and the list went on and on, ending up in a fairy-tale of a Utopian piece of land.
Moral of the story, seemingly, suggested that “All is Well” in Hunza!
That is when I asked myself if all is really well in Hunza? Or are we overlooking things, self eulogizing, living in a world that is not shaped by harsh realities but based on Hamilton’s Utopian fantasy of “Shangri – La”?
Where do I fit the fact that nineteen people were killed because of poor planning? Where do I fit the fact that recently a man was murdered in a major town of Hunza? Where do I fit the fact that around 1700 citizens of Hunza are living miserably in relief camps? Where do I fit the fact that children have started losing life because of lack of medical facilities? What does the restlessness of people across Pakistan (Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Gilgit, Aliabad and Gulmit) tell about the condition of our people? Is all really well or are we just shying from the reality and ducking in front of the challenges that crush our ability to respond effectively, despite of having the potential and resources? Who is responsible for systematic deterioration of the fabrics of our society?”
The questions were many, some justified, others patterned by emotions rather than logic!
It is a known fact that the government of Pakistan has not paid due attention to the development of Gilgit – Baltistan. Despite of the historical negligence, it is ironic to note with dismay that the level of affiliation of our people with Pakistan, its petty politics and political parties and their playoffs, is so much that families hate each other on basis of the parties they support. This trend has divided at least three generations of Hunza Valley as well rest of Gilgit – Baltistan. What have we got in return? Bogus packages callous claims of la revolution!
This year a twist in the story was that our leaders tried to make us believe that they will fight for the right of Hunza people and get equal representation in GBLA. Everyone was excited. Slogans, placards, banners, promises, oratory and vociferous processions died down as the results churned out. Some fled to Karachi, others to Islamabad, still others to Lahore and some stayed back, only to stay indoors!
The question right now is not what the political leaders of different parties are doing for the area? Isn’t political leadership about long term engagements rather than election time euphoria?.
It was heart breaking to read the news on Pamir Times about the “36 hours long painful battle fought by a mother” due to unavailability of medical care facilities in Gojal valley. The death of this newborn child was also a death blow for the elected and other leaders of Hunza who roamed across the valley to mobilize support for election but could not raise a powerful voice for facilitating their brethren in distress.
Leaving the political shenanigans aside, where are the doctors of Hunza? What else do some of them do besides mobilizing support for not getting transferred to Gojal?
The only rays of hope in the entire gloomy scenario are the youth of Gilgit – Baltistan. They have rallied behind our people across the country and expressed their support. The youth of Gojal must never forget the support we got from the youth of Gilgit – Baltistan.