[Letter] Attempts to capitalize on misery of Gojal

I went through a letter of Mr. KHALID CHAUDHRY from Karachi published in DAWN on 8th July. The idea is pretty childish and a fancy dream which has no relation with reality.

I would like to share some ground realities here which is really necessary. Gojal is situated in most strategically important area which has close border connections with China, Afghanistan and Tajikistan. The people of Gojal are simple, peaceful and  known for hospitality. The area is also well known for natural scenic views, lush green fields, rocky mountains and long glaciers.

It is also encouraging to see that literacy rate of the area is around 90%.

The main cash crop is Potato and the only major sector of investment is Education.

Attabad Hunza Natural disaster (occurred on 4th Jan, 2010) and the artificial lake has changed everything in the area. The disaster has traumatized the life of the local especially people living in Gojal. The disaster has destroyed thousand kanals of cultivated lands, thousands of trees, hundreds houses, hotels, shops, and flour mills submerged in the artificially formed lake. The region’s only economic life line, Karakuram Highway, has lost a stretch of almost 30 Km to the lake. The governments of Pakistan and China are in a big loss because of the blockade of KKH.

The locals are loosing hope and are dissatisfied with the Government’s fake promises and poor rehabilitation strategy. They are not sure that how they will earn their livelihood, and how they will pay their Children’s tuition and accommodation fee?

And if the situation remains the same the locals unwontedly will have to call back their children home who are studying in schools colleges, and universities in down cities. These social injustices, black politics, cruel military, civil bureaucracy and poor management might push the local people to a point of no return.

In this context, Mr. Khalid needs to be reminded about the flaws of his ‘business plan’. It’s really not suitable for now! I am sure you would not like to drink a bottle of ‘Mineral Water’ by taking lives of Gojalies. But if you do, then it’s just a matter of your faith.

Suppose if the Government or any private firm establishes their business in the area then who will guarantee the better life and profit share of the locals? Why do we want to add salt to the injury by coming up with naive business plans that are good for nothing. The local people are already deprived of their due shares in terms of royalties of Indus River, Tourism and Sost Dry Port.

Didar Ali

Gulmit Gojal Hunza

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  1. Mr. Khalid Chaudry seems to have a very vague idea of the scenario in Gojal Hunza. In his letter he has shared a personal experience of having used a mineral or spring water.

    On the other hand, people like him and all other in the country and the enterprises/industries and company’s, which are already in business don’t care for the people of the area, they don’t even care for their national interest. Because this attitude of thinking in economical and capitalist perspective, I think has led our nation to such ignorance that we have started to think of setting up business without even settling the victims, without taking into notice the strategic link of Pak-China.

    This would be an opportunist approach, because in the time of need the nation was not bothered to even take a stand on our behalf, and now they are nurturing the romantic idea of starting a business on the foundation of our destruction.

  2. Thanks a lot Pamirtimes for considering my letter ….. hope the readers will agree with my point of view.

  3. There are two points to discuss in the letter, bottling spring water or glacial water. The writer Khalid Chaudhry is suggesting that there is scope to commercially utilize the naturally occurring spring water in GB. But he is wrong in suggesting that the water in the lake be used for such purpose because it is not spring water and will need to be treated before bottling which is expensive, chemical and energy intensive process. The lake is acting as a settling take for the glacial water meaning the undisclosed suspended particles settled over a period of time but due to stagnation the water becomes unpalatable due to stratification, algal growth, dead animals and plants, dissolved rocks, buried construction etc. Spring water can be bottle with little or no treatment as it filters through the ground and is hence purified. If someone wants to commercially exploit the water resource of the area in the form of bottled water he does not need the lake there are hundreds of springs discharging crystal clear mineral rich water to do so.

  4. Khalid Chaudhry seems making such a bussines plan in sleep.Firstly its impossible to plant such a factory there. if he makes one then he need such machines which r nt gonna freeze there. And if he brings one like that then he needd to bring such a filtering device which is the most efficent one in the world coz its nt spring water.
    conclusion is that in place of doing these all why don’t he thinks to put his money somewer else. don’t disturb us as well as yourself.

  5. Amazingly some of the readers are still convinced and ready to see these entire fancy dreams on ground. I am damn sure if it happens they will see the future generation hand coughed in the hand of Giant Business Crocs. we don’t have the guts to snatch our rights, which others do. There is no one who come forward and manage all the issues, guarantee our profit share or royalties, guide us way forward and nor even any Institution. Everyone has shown their limit of Intellect by choosing the back street exit.
    I been through some comments posted on Pamirtimes, (the Big picture) Mystified Justice n so some comments are admirably close to the realities and some commentators sitting in their Air-conditioned rooms suggested many visualized ideas and proved their self a true book warms sadly the ideas has no relation to the ground realities so far. I tried to convince myself to accept what they predicted the future of the lake and locals but couldn’t do so. The reason is that; many Question pinched in my mined are as follow:
    1) Will it be favorable for the locals of Gojal (especially for the coming generation) to loose everything either it is piece of land, a unique Culture (traits, norms, value, housing pattern and a beautiful social life) for the sake of economic gain??????
    2) Who will guarantee that the inhabitants will get their share or royalties if Govt. or any Private firm establishes their business in the area (if it is development of tourist spot, planting mineral water factory, or so)??????
    3) Where the effectees will go, who have nothing in hand except blind faith on our beauractically infected Jamati institutions, on our so called leaders, and professionals????
    4) These are the last options for the locals or the concerned to gain economic objective from the lake????
    There are many questions which is better to leave under the carpet. I am totally amazed why people of outside, the so-called leaders, and professionals are trying to get only economic advantages of this man made disaster and artificially formed lake. Why they don’t believe that this lake can become a death tool to the downstream anytime even though the seismic report is not in favor of??????????????????????????????? If we suffering today it’s better then to sell yourself, and your identity for better tomorrow.

  6. I am very sorry that all of the people there are having to go through this. The only for people to regain their lives back is by getting help from the government. To lose everything you have and then for the government to assume that people can rebuild or find a new life elsewhere is being very naive. When there is a big disaster here in USA the people that come running to our aid is the government. The reason for it is because when you lose EVERYTHING you have NOTHING! So what can one do with nothing? The only option is to be homeless and remain with nothing. That shouldn’t have to be an option for ANYONE! People are people and should be treated as humans and not as trash you throw away and ignore. I hope things improve over there for everyones sake!

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