[Opinion]To the leaders of Hunza

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.

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  1. Ms Amina Khan’s opinon is factual and justified. It is generally said that the PPP government works in crises but so far we are unable to understand the policies and concerns of the so called People Party’s governement, today the situation is opposite and the PPP govenment is unable to deliver. Today most of the party memebers are raising questions against their leaders credibility and poor governance style.
    Our so called leaders lacks the qualities which an efficient leader posses and don’t know how to cope with crises. This shows that our leader have not complete their homework yet. Such atitude will create trust deficit between the general masses and the administration.It needs to migitated as soos as possible. Instead of sitting in the drawing rooms and formulating policies, our leaders should go to the public and and give them hope,bring out them from the sinking despondency. The PPP govern administration have got golden opportunity to prove themselves,they need to avail it. Otherwise they will lose their crediblity with full margin among the pulbic.

  2. I agree with Amina Khan, Its time to do some thing for our mother land.
    Majourity of people in Gilgit Baltistan have point of view that people of “CHILAS” are not literate and the don’t know about their rights.
    But how they raised their voice for the royalty on Diamir Dame.

    More over its not only issue for the people of Gojal or Hunza. It can effect whole “Giligt Baltistan”

  3. I as an “outsider” read what Amina has to say and I feel sad for the people of this amazing area.

    Your birth right is shelter, food, education, health and freedom … do not give up these rights by following those who would lie to you and see you weak. Do not be divided … otherwise your detractors will rule you!

    GOD tests us and we either rise to the occasion and shine or we will drown in the very waters that once fed us and our crops!

    I salute the youth who are striving for their people and their home … remember … your values, your rights and your future or life and time will forget you forever.

  4. you are very right we are avoiding the facts…thats one of the cause today we are facing problems.

  5. Indeed a very true and harsh picture of our society is brought forth by Amna. We do claim and feel proud of the superficial high representation of Hunza, but we should also reflect on the ground realities and especially the political divideneds. The message is that we should not get preyed by the so called political system but should bring the required change from within and among us.

  6. To begin with, let us say that Amina has articulated the proposition that the people of contemporary Hunza are living with a host of myths: the outrageous claim of 99% literacy rate being one of those claims. Furthermore we have satisfied ourselves by saying that the quality of life and other public facilities are far better than any rural area of Balochistan, Sindh, and even Punjab. Alas, we are comparing oranges and apples.
    While Amina has critically pointed out thet deficiencies in our land, albeit this is not a unique or new perspective. In 2007 the People’s Youth Front PYF, organised a public meeting in Aliabad and I remember that there was a consensus on the proposition that the people of Hunza are ‘living in a fool’s paradise’. Why people don’t ask difficult questions and formu

  7. Very true ..these are ground realities we can not ignore these all …if today the name of Hunza is famous that is due struggle of our forefathers not it is our swansong whatever hindrances come in our way we should treat elegantly we are still sleeping . this is reality what Amina articulate ..there is rift between Hunzais , there is still odour of discrimination , look in cast, etc …. I am too concern to youth of Hunza who are the future of our paradise… they must remove the created distance between community and come forward a symbol of love , peace ,generosity , and candle of Hope not only for a community but for world as whole…
    MM Qizill

  8. Agreed.! we need to work on many things.! it would have been better if you could come up with any practical solution instead of wasting your energy and time on redrafting the issues which every tom dick and harry can understand. Infact, development or progress in not something that politicians gift rather individual efforts from the society hold more importance. So what important is to understand the environment in a comparative manner and be pragmatic in dealing any such issues. Blaming politician for the purpose of blaming won’t solve anything; and as far as the corruption of politicians is concerned – it is another debate but mind that politicians represent the people. Everyone is equally crupt and responsible for whatever the crises are.! Hope i make a sense

  9. Great effort by Amina Khan, Handsoff for your eloquent ideas. A lot of contributions have been witnessed from our Youth residing allover the world. What we are lacking is a brave / bold leadership in all institutions (Political or social).
    Our current so called representatives are only protecting their seats. Also there are people in politics and Govt. bodies who are INCOMPETENT and are from the ‘KUSHAMADI PARTY’.

    Lets Hope For better, GOD BLESS OUR HOMELAND.

  10. Agreed! Whatever the factual dimensions of the shadowed segment of Hunza has been sketched by Amina khan is simply great! Whenever we are observing the some deficiencies in our area or in system the next moment we start to compare those deficiency with the rest of GB or at least rural pockets of Pakistan, which is I believe is incorrect. Instead of comparing ourselves with any unprivileged rural area or socially distressed area, we need to put our efforts in endeavor of our required goals.
    There are horizontal rifts in perspective of regionalization, cast and class among Hunza people , which evaluate a feeling of discrimination and divides the whole Hunza into groups, which I believe should be terminated. Our youth is our future and our youth needs to pose a posture of harmony and peace.

  11. good to see people of our area having an eagle eye on current issues of hunza-gojal after attabad situation .its a fight to natural disastrous , to give another hop to live an Utopian what do u think M/s Amina where we are loosing our skills and energy? blaming on other. its very clear that government is not doing enough but what we have to do is to give them(the victims )another hope to live instead of blaming on government and the authorities. and let us not be over ambitious and not make others over ambitious ..

  12. Nice Amina wonderful ideas and feeling toward Hunza/ Gojal. You mentioned different questions for fit which are really worse and black stamp on our civilization of Hunza but if you over view the history of USA there were also discrimination in term of color, race, cast, the worse slavery. Now a day the situation is same in South America.
    Pakistan is developing country it has no potential to prevent the people from natural disaster. We are just transitional period many external elements are engaged to unbalance Pakistan politically, economically and strategically.
    Yes Hunza / Gojal is literate society but no university, no access to higher education, poor medical facilities, no libraries, no internet service to entire valley, no newspaper, no any magazine publications. We are just literate but no literal approaches.
    Politically Hunza/ Gojal is considered orphan, our political representatives have no political well to defend the people of Hunza in federal level. Most of so called political leader are based in Islamabad and Karachi, none of them visited in disaster area. People are on strike in various cities, and towns in Pakistan and abroad but our puppet political leader are away from the disaster because they know their ability.
    Your ideas are perfect I appreciate your constructive and reformative thoughts.

  13. My sister, Amina has raised very important questions, which need to be answered by everyone of us that what have we been doing for our society to transform it into a truly educated society.

    I doubt that our society is not a truly educated society where everyone of us put in our due contributions. We have gained literacy just to secure a gainful employment for our selves, which has rather created a division in our society. Our worldly progress is actually for our personal well-being and not for the society as a whole.

    If we really want our society to progress on the lines of those progressive civil society of the modern world, we need to set our priorities as how to bring about change using the knowledge we acquired through education. We need to create groups of professionals, seniors, students, and our skilled elders as to how things should be improved.

    If we see our village lives, there we find a lot of divisions which are meaning less to consider as we all with different families have to live together in the same neighborhood with scores of common tasks, utilities, infrastructure, and services.

    I would like to see our young professionals to come up with models as how we can turn our societies into a true modern educated society.

    Unfortunately we do not have many of our youth interested in research on our societies, the reason for me is, we do not have role models in our villages whom our youth can follow, rather they find lots of educated professionals in the habit of drinking, wasting their leisure time playing cards, ludo, using of abusive languages for their comrades. I have rarely seen someone visiting a school to share their achievements and experiences with the young student.

    We need to start from our homes to transform our home as an educated household whose thinkings reflect a progressive and vibrant thoughts and then inculcate the same within our neighborhood

  14. Miss Amina’s articulation in presenting the situation seems more effective and thought provoking.

    We have been projecting ourselves in the various spheres counting our strengths one by one and putting aside our weaknesses which seemed dormant for the time being but have revived their real essence and have started manifesting their current domination over the previously counted strengths. These strengths could not prove themselves as was thought to and have finally taken us to a hollow sphere where no rays of hope are seen and the segment of being something has vanished looking around in the mysterious world.

    The current situation in Hunza-Gojal has put many brains in a critical situation, where thinking and rethinking over the past practices has finally given a justified outcome where the segment of realization seems to have occupied more space in the entire dilemma.

    We kept blaming others without ever bothering about what our rights are. How much we have spoken out for our rights and what are the gains? Were we really this much worried about our rights well before the occurrence of the natural disaster or this disaster triggered our minds to think over something which was never expected to be in any corner of the cerebrum before this devastation.

    The so called political figures which succeeded in altering the minds of common men failed finally to provide them the ingredients to fuel the process of alteration and this finally caused mutated and led to rivalries within themselves without coming out for their due rights. Many personal and family conflicts started and led to issues which were a complete hindrance towards the process of maturity in the field of politics and political awareness.

    This kind of situation finally proved the truth about our political unawareness and unwillingness. Even if we have the awareness at the same time lack the courage and dare to move forward calling a spade a spade. We, being the citizens of a country ought to know our rights and political status and should educate our young blood about the important areas which really matter in our day to day life and in our future endeavors where we would be encountering tougher challenges then what we are having right now.

    The leaders we are having are not true leaders by execution and practice. They have always been biased towards the areas that they think are of no significance for them in their own future career and prospects. They are in real sense the representatives of the public but the scenario is very different in this real world. They make you feel good by words but never bother to understand the harsh realities which the public is into it.

    I wish to see some very energetic, enthusiastic and full of nerves leaders who could not create differences based on language, race, cast, and above all belongingness in such situations. We equally deserve to have people working in the various spheres where only two ministers could get the responsibility of seven departments, who are reportedly said to belong to the same area and close allies of one of the top so called leader.

    I wish a bright future for Gilgit-Baltistan but if is led by leaders multi-dimentional in their thoughts and approach.

    All the very best for now

    Aslam Ghalib

  15. Dear Amina Khan,

    You have raised so many questions that it’s simply impossible to chase few and ignore the rest. What I would like to suggest is that please continue your observation beyond the national and regional dimension (I mean at the global dimension) and you’ll have all these answers within yourself.
    I personally appreciate your direction of observation and would hope to have an enlightened hunzakutz for the uplifting of our society through promoting awareness particularly in our ‘Y’ gender as well as ‘X’.

    You’ll understand everything if you ever dvelve yourself to few questions and that are:

    Why am I in the US???? Why not in My own Country with the same ‘facilities?’ ???? What are the consequences that oblige people to leave their homeland (a place like Hunza, to which people of the industrialized word die for), their environment, family, friends and above all their ego???? facing a rligious-cum-nationalist look (as if you descend down from an aboriginal background (which is not at all true but discouraging and depressive enough, particularly at work place )???

    This is my personal observation about the image of economic immigrants percieved around the world but there is also a hidden opportunity to learn alot in the given circumstances so as to be able to compare yourself and your place of origin vis a vis a global society to be able to come to the exact conclusion through a diverse experience.

    Only then you begin to questionning yourself that what do we lack??? Do we lack natural resources?? NO, we have more resources than any other country (we drain millions of dollars every year through rivers and yet searching for candles in the market to illuminate our homes-an example). Then why are we poor??? because we lack the ‘language’ of the human developement (I mean we lack the ‘attitude’ which is the vital tool for developement from inside-out. And changing this attitude takes extraordinary efforts both individually and collectively.

    Wish you all the best in your future acheivements.

  16. @ Amina Khan- Thanks for Raising the numerous issues
    @Kareem jo jon-Thanks for the brilliant feed back and observations
    @Yar Khan-Thanks for highlighting the diffrence with naional & Int’l

    Good job Guys.Thanks for sharing with us your thoughts,I agree with 3 of you.Kool one, Keep it up.Keep Sharing with us,

    How we can bridge the gap between the young generations with the seniors for our society both for the unity and progress of our Society.

    Let us all play our roles.Together we can bring changes for GB

    Long live GB- God Bless Gilgit-Baltistan.

  17. most of agreed that we are living in a paradise of fools. I appriciate all your efforts and thoughts, because everyone had the right, and perception differs….we have to respect individuals perspectives………..
    But, we are in a pradise none of us can denie from it. those of us worked in other rural parts of our country will defenitely say that WE ARE LIVING IN A PARADISE. Untill you will not compare you could say where we stand
    second thing one have to differenciate between mismanagemnt and NATURAL DISASTER. now my question is; did they (19 peopl) die because of mismanagement? do based on divasting ND we say we are living in a paradies of fools…………………………… it will be injustice. we have many positive things as well, we should appriciate the new step….
    all the best,

  18. Ms. Amina. i am happy that you have become pessimist like me. I believe that living in right pessimism is better than lead life under false optimism, in which majority of we Huzukutch live.

    Time and again i reiterated the fact that we in Hunza live in fool’s paradise, but every time i had to face criticism from narcissists of Hunza. Yes, we have natural resources, yes we have highest literacy rate in comparison with other regions, yes we have institutional and NGOional support, yes we have peaceful population, yes we are proud (false?) people etc. but the question raises here is why we failed despite all this.
    i have criticised before the tendency of shouting like beggers for Attabad affectees. it was really humiliating that everyone is shouting to gain attention. shame on us that we failed to address the problem of 1600 IDPs, whereas Pushtoons have accommodated 3.5 million people in their homes. A survey reveal that only in main Altit 70 houses are lying empty as the owners live outside. Do not count such houses in other parts of Hunza. what is wrong here? Wrong is that our hearts are as empty as those ghost houses. I criticise myself because of these illusions that keep us in fools paradise.
    Khameto the pessimus

  19. through my point of view a quick change came from the top… and the change which u r talking about is not easy… if u think it is that much easy came tour home land and try to save i along with my friends and family will support…it is not that much easy to wake a sleeping nation by words or articals u need to be among them and show practicaly. i hope u understand weakness in your nation

  20. I love all of you who give their opinion about anything related to our developement issues.

    It is true that constructive passimism is far better than the blurred optimism.

    My cries are for the preventive measures prior to the loss of life, property the event of a social or a natural disaster. Awareness means to predict and address the issues prior to inflict masses (or individuals) that could be altered to a maximum protectivie levels through the available technological, material as well as psychological measures.
    When the state organizations, NGOs as well as the civil soiety is incapable or willingly ignorant to address the issues properly, then everyone who has the capacity to look narrowly has the right to raise voice against them.

  21. Nice words, unfortunately good words, and should and will stay as words, names will give with thought provoking, nice ideas, need to rise up, where to fit in how to do.
    If these words would have come form the core of the man lost its house and sitting in confusion on the banks of crated chose of water, it not water its us that is destroying us , so
    Good words and let it be the words for later, when time will ask many such questions.
    Good words, like many thousand question and words, who has the answer where is the action who is not acting, No its words, but at least words,
    Thanks Im proud of all the words. But Im not in Gojal , but soul is there, just words.

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