Perks of the new rulers of GB!

Afaq Mehmood

Gilgit-Baltistan comprises valleys of incredible beauty and the world’s tallest mountains but its people are no more concerned with its scenic charms. Political developments in recent years have made them rather cynical. The spread of education, increase in general awareness and contact with the outside world has made them conscious of what their rights are as citizens of a democratic state.

Until yesterday I was very happy that now we have our own identity, now we are self-sufficient. Our own governor? Our own chief minister? Our ministers? All our own representatives, from our own poor people! But when I read that “62 vehicles will be purchased for the governor, chief minister and six ministers of Gilgit-Baltistan,” my heart sank and my spirits and elation plunged into despair and someone cried within me: “We have lost every thing!” My despair turned into hopelessness when I read further that the “Chairman FPSC & other secretaries will also be provided with new Prados and Intercoolers.”

Then suddenly I remembered Khan Liaquat Ali Khan who was the prime minister of both East & West Pakistan, was a born “Nawabzada” of India who had been educated abroad where he had personal servants to attend to his all needs and a luxurious apartment. But here as the prime minister of this poor country he died a penniless man. There was only one doctor to look after his cabinet ministers. Once Quaid-i-Azam told Dr Shah to look after the health of his ministers as they were working day and night for the country.

These words suddenly echoed in my mind when I read further in the newspaper that one Land Cruiser for Rs15 million, a Mercedes for Rs12 million and two five-door other vehicles for Rs24 million will be purchased for the governor alone. The felling deepened that we have lost every thing. Then suddenly my mind went back to the statement of Marvi Memon saying this package was nothing but a drama created by the government to silence the people of the region. There is no mutual understanding between political parties, parliament and assembly about this decision.

Then I came to realize that in the story of transformation from Northern Areas to Gilgit-Baltistan what is happening and what is going to happen. The details of the vehicles that would be provided to the chief minister were mind-boggling. This I thought is a wake up call for the people of the region. They should know the ‘real’ meaning of the constitutional package.

Afaq Mehmood, is a resident of Gilgit and a student of Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, Islamabad: (DAWN)

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  1. Beware the wish that is granted
    The test of all these politicians
    is how they behave in power
    what temptations they resisit
    instead of making other politicians
    their role models and in a headlong rush
    going for all the
    privileges they can acquire and to
    hell with the people they promised to serve.

  2. What are you going to do about it??????

    Will all of you keep silent till there is nothing left or will you come together and put an end to the makings of the largest of all landslides!

    The rape of the region has now been streamlined and given political might …. these champions of “democracy” should be held responsible by you … the people!

    Can anyone do a comparison and list it for the public to see, the total budget of all these vehicles is what % of Health or Education of the whole of GB?

    Solution and Suggestion: If these vehicles are going to be purchased it means that the government has the funds? If it has these funds, you the people should insist that it be spent equally on Education and Health and these ministers etc use their own vehicles! PERIOD! No debate.

    Please make a peaceful and sustained effort … just making a one off stand is not enough!!

  3. Mr . Afaq is right in all the feeling but he should not forget the record of PPP. alwayson the names of poor people they enjoy and make money . Name the top to bottom leadership , currupt , rich and tell lies and falls promises . The parpty who does no want to investigate the case of their leader Banazeer , what yyou can expect from them So enjoy new democracy of peoples party . Long live .

  4. imagine how many schools, health centres and infrastructure can be build with the amount of those luxurious vehicles. why the politicians cant use the public transport? Just like the ordinary people. Why so much Spending on useless items, why cars and Mercedes Benz and inter coolers in this mountainous area. If there is any shame left among politicians they should ride in the cars and jump into rivers without any hesitation. Because the very same people in their districts are living far flung away from all modern commodities. Still our schools lack necessary equipment, still in this 21st century there are villages in all GB districts which look like if they are in deep shadows of 1950’s life style. With all these miseries if our elected representatives will drive luxurious cars and 5 door parados public will definitely be outraged but it seems like GB people are so simple and blind that they don’t care about anything. Please wake up

  5. ur writing hs workd 4 me as an eye opener n it is indicative of t vision of our leadership!Inshallah v vl nt let such thngs hapn easily n hold thm accountable 4 thr lavishness..

  6. lets compare this to the time of Mir Ghazanafar Ali as Chief Executive. When everything he did was considered corrupt. He was given one 1993 model Prado. And one 1988 model Toyota Hilux. No official residence. and yet he did more than your current Mehdi Shah Zardari. And Wazir Baig Gilani.

  7. The practices of he feral government is going to start in GB,no need to give or purchase luxury vehicles ,the budget should be invest on education and health and poverty alleviation in the region,all the members of the GB assembly are looking illiterate the can not face media ,today on PTV our chief minister was speaking, his Urdu was not so good but he is representing the literate people of GB.

  8. It is too late to criticize because when it is election time our literate people will forget that whom candidate they are election they just think candidate cast, language, region,etc.NOW IT IS FOOLISH TO CRITISIZE

  9. The total purchase price for 65 vehicles becomes 200 million almost if we take average price of rupees three million for each vehicle.Karakurum international unversity facing financial problems and they have increased fee manifold,students of Gojal Hunza have no source to pay fee due of submerging of their source of income.Almost 180 houses have been submerged but government has no funds to rehabilitate these IDP,s.From where these funds are coming for this activity,shame to you elected members of Gilgit Baltistan,you have no any right to waste funds,all these funds should be diverted towards health,education and for poverty reduction.

  10. I had thought that the core (Federal Govt.) will introduce more subtle ways to translate its vision of ‘developing new political elites’- who could live the aspiration of the core and break their relationship with their indigenous identities and struggles, in the impoverished region of GB. However, what I have seen after the implementation of the so called empowerment and self-governance ordinance, are the obvious strategies (allocation and spending on vehicles for new GBLA cabinet being one) for decoding its obnoxious goal. Good for us because fighting the obvious is comparatively easier than fighting the subtle. I urge the social activists and civil society to work around these imperial moves and seek the necessary information about the budget allocation and spending under the Freedom of Information (FoI) Act 2002. This would enable us to prosecute these culprits with hard evidences.

  11. The Reps of GB Legislative Assembly must learn from other Muslim Worlds Like Iran, Why dont the Nation Will Progress if their Premier Like Mahmud Ahmedinejad who upon first reaching the office of the presidency donated all the high valued carpets to a local Mosque in Tehran by replacing them with the low cost ordinary carpets, he observed that there was a huge extravagant langue for receiving & welcomming the VIPs and he ordered it to be closed and asked the protocol office to arrange for an ordinanry room instead with the wooden chairs, though more impressive infact! on many instaces he joins the cleaning staff of municipality for cleaning the streets in their area where his home & presidency office locates.
    Under his authority whenever he appoints a minister to his post he gets a signed document from him with many points, particularly highlighting that he will remain poor and that his personel & his relatives accounts will be watched and the day he leaves the ministry shall be with diginity, & therefore it is not lawful for him or his relatives to take any advantage of his office.
    GB Govt, Please have Pitty.

  12. PPP = Plunder Pakistan Party
    PMLn = Pakistan Military League of Nawaz
    PMLq = Pakistan Military League of Quacks
    MQM = Maro Qatal-karo Movement
    MMA = Mullah Military Alliance
    JUI = Jamiat Ulmai kursi-e Islamabad

    Wake up PAKISTAN. . . .

  13. I would have said that if you elected them, you should have known better. However, having witnessed the elections in Sher Qila and Ishkoman, I know you didn’t elect them.

  14. Dear All,
    —Once again after laps of two months-the comments of these political figures of GBL Council compelled to express my thoughts in the light of my technical know-how!

    —As earlier agreed, with the comments of the Japanes Professors and providing all the required technical expertise, manpower and machinery available with OGDCL- to E &C branch but without any positive result.

    —This time again I offer my services for the country and for my area from where I belong. I partially agree with the Finance Minister- being a non-technical personal and due to his short sighted he only cares of the area where he belongs. His thoughts very clearly show his deed! What about Gojal where four or five villages completely inundated and others are at risk

    —-With the ordinary blasting materials I can reduce the level of water 25 to 30% with in two to three weeks. Here-once again I offer my services if the concern Govt. Institutions or NGO wants my services.

    Baig Ali
    Dy. Chief Engineer (Operations)-South

  15. The people of the Hunza and Gojal have badly effected since long by the devastated landslide and still after passing more than five months the upper areas are still inundated. The outflow from the lake is less and the the spillway is also narrow. Concerted Efforts are required to safe discharge of this dam/lake.The quetion arises here that how to perform this task. Internationally such problems are being faced and are resolved with the help experts on the subject it can not be sloved by politics. China had discharged one of its artificial Dam by evacuating the population and using modern engineering techniques discharged the Dam as the time passes the chances of the outburst of the lake will incease. To blast only along the spillway will not be sufficient. eroding deep under from the sides of the spillway with blasting may be helpful. Meanwhile regarding the rehabilitation of effected people a colony should be prepared with all facilities on emergent basis prefreably at Hunza or Gojal by the government so that atleast shelter is available for them in this regard all the people should contribute on humanitarian grounds. May Allah save us all from trials and tribulations ,Aameen.

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