China’s Discreet Hold on Pakistan’s Northern Borderlands

While the world focuses on the flood-ravaged Indus River valley, a quiet geopolitical crisis is unfolding in the Himalayan borderlands of northern Pakistan, where Islamabad is handing over de facto control of the strategic Gilgit-Baltistan region in the northwest corner of disputed Kashmir to China.

The entire Pakistan-occupied western portion of Kashmir stretching from Gilgit in the north to Azad (Free) Kashmir in the south is closed to the world, in contrast to the media access that India permits in the eastern part, where it is combating a Pakistan-backed insurgency. But reports from a variety of foreign intelligence sources, Pakistani journalists and Pakistani human rights workers reveal two important new developments in Gilgit-Baltistan: a simmering rebellion against Pakistani rule and the influx of an estimated 7,000 to 11,000 soldiers of the People’s Liberation Army.

China wants a grip on the region to assure unfettered road and rail access to the Gulf through Pakistan. It takes 16 to 25 days for Chinese oil tankers to reach the Gulf. When high-speed rail and road links through Gilgit and Baltistan are completed, China will be able to transport cargo from Eastern China to the new Chinese-built Pakistani naval bases at Gwadar, Pasni and Ormara, just east of the Gulf, within 48 hours.

Many of the P.L.A. soldiers entering Gilgit-Baltistan are expected to work on the railroad. Some are extending the Karakoram Highway, built to link China’s Sinkiang Province with Pakistan. Others are working on dams, expressways and other projects.

Mystery surrounds the construction of 22 tunnels in secret locations where Pakistanis are barred. Tunnels would be necessary for a projected gas pipeline from Iran to China that would cross the Himalayas through Gilgit. But they could also be used for missile storage sites.

Until recently, the P.L.A. construction crews lived in temporary encampments and went home after completing their assignments. Now they are building big residential enclaves clearly designed for a long-term presence.

What is happening in the region matters to Washington for two reasons. Coupled with its support for the Taliban, Islamabad’s collusion in facilitating China’s access to the Gulf makes clear that Pakistan is not a U.S. “ally.” Equally important, the nascent revolt in the Gilgit-Baltistan region is a reminder that Kashmiri demands for autonomy on both sides of the cease-fire line would have to be addressed in a settlement.

Media attention has exposed the repression of the insurgency in the Indian-ruled Kashmir Valley. But if reporters could get into the Gilgit-Baltistan region and Azad Kashmir, they would find widespread, brutally-suppressed local movements for democratic rights and regional autonomy.

When the British partitioned South Asia in 1947, the maharajah who ruled Kashmir, including Gilgit and Baltistan, acceded to India. This set off intermittent conflict that ended with Indian control of the Kashmir Valley, the establishment of Pakistan-sponsored Free Kashmir in western Kashmir, and Pakistan’s occupation of Gilgit and Baltistan, where Sunni jihadi groups allied with the Pakistan Army have systematically terrorized the local Shiite Muslims.

Gilgit and Baltistan are in effect under military rule. Democratic activists there want a legislature and other institutions without restrictions like the ones imposed on Free Kashmir, where the elected legislature controls only 4 out of 56 subjects covered in the state constitution. The rest are under the jurisdiction of a “Kashmir Council” appointed by the president of Pakistan.

India gives more power to the state government in Srinagar; elections there are widely regarded as fair, and open discussion of demands for autonomy is permitted. But the Pakistan-abetted insurgency in the Kashmir Valley has added to tensions between Indian occupation forces and an assertive population seeking greater of local autonomy.

The United States is uniquely situated to play a moderating role in Kashmir, given its growing economic and military ties with India and Pakistan’s aid dependence on Washington. Such a role should be limited to quiet diplomacy. Washington should press New Delhi to resume autonomy negotiations with Kashmiri separatists. Success would put pressure on Islamabad for comparable concessions in Free Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan. In Pakistan, Washington should focus on getting Islamabad to stop aiding the insurgency in the Kashmir Valley and to give New Delhi a formal commitment that it will not annex Gilgit and Baltistan.

Precisely because the Gilgit-Baltistan region is so important to China, the United States, India and Pakistan should work together to make sure that it is not overwhelmed, like Tibet, by the Chinese behemoth.

Selig S. Harrison is director of the Asia Program at the Center for International Policy and a former South Asia bureau chief of The Washington Post.

Source: New York Times

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  1. It is ironic that NY times didn’t find enough political motivation to publish a single story on the plight of thousands of people affected by the lake and now finally all we read about our region in this article is a self-motivated conspiracy against our only sincere neighbour…Pamirtimes may want to be more selective and careful about what to post for the readers in the future as many readers with relatively less knowledge and insight may easily carried away by what has been said in this article.

  2. I personally think this person has published this article without any research work.

  3. Dear All readers
    you well know that a very big GREAT GAME had been played on our motherland by extrnal froces before as well. but the diffrence between that and current builted game is , In past the locals were uneducated , unaweared, and helpless. so now every single budy knows the trick , tools and techic of the game. In simple words we were apart of China and is better to be apart of them. its written in the agreement that there are certian reasons for affiliate with PAK. which is on the base of public wants.. signed by MIR of HUNZA. so anthing to worry China will not let us far from her. she always remained loyal.
    Navaid Veercan

  4. I agree with Sam, where was NY Times, when Gilgit-Baltistan was cut off from rest of the world?

    Good to know that the Pakistan Army and the Government has invited the PLA to help the people of Gilgit-Baltistan and to help in economic development.
    Seeing the enormous development taking place in Xinjiang, we hope the Chinese will help Pakistan in helping the local people here.
    As for the only super power and its interests are concerned, they should also cooperate and collaborate with the people of Gilgit-Baltistan and the government in bringing prosperity and improving the quality of life ofthe people.

  5. How easily he has annexed GB with the mainstream of Kashmir..! that’s Hilarious and every tom dick & harry know the reality. The misery which i felt from his apprehension regarding china’s engagement in north Pakistan and this is what he thinks from US point of view.

    “Selig S. Harrison is director of the Asia Program at the Center for International Policy and a former South Asia bureau chief of The Washington Post.”

    My Lord! what kind of policy can we expect from this feared man-nothing less than a panic. I am sure people sitting on such esteemed positions are devoid of the real knowledge. And Surely he admits that Srinagar is a fair story! This post is a good example why US is failed in executing the strategy devised by so called “Think Tanks” O the misery of Fat Tummies.!

  6. What the learned writer forgot to mention is that it is not for the first time the PLA is coming to Gilgit – Baltistan. Back in mid-sixties the ‘infiltration’ had taken place already and the ‘withdrawal’ followed, as planned. The result was Karakuram Highway, which proved to be not only an important supply line for the otherwise locked local population but also facilitated socio-economic development in the region.

    Remains of the residential enclaves built by the PLA, then, can still be seen at different places in Gilgit – Baltistan. Many farmers have used the buildings left behind intact on request of the local people for different purposes.

    Expansion of the Karakuram Highway is a mega project that was initially to be completed by 2013. However, due to the massive landslide at Attabad and the resultant inundation of around 20 kilometers of the KKH, it is most likely going to take many more years than initially planned.

    People of Gojal Valley have fond memories of the discipline exhibited by soldiers of the PLA during the construction of KKH. They surely expect the PLA to exhibit even more sophistication and care for the local communities during their second engagement in the region.

    Construction of the dreaded Tunnels, which the visibly fearful writer considers to be ‘missile vaults’, is important because many active landslide sites are present on the KKH which disrupt traffic every now and then, creating more trouble for the commuters and traders. These tunnels would ensure smooth traffic flow, facilitating the local people.

    Some of us are worried about the environmental aspect of the project because a major portion of the KKH passes through the Khunzhrav (misspelled as Khunjrab by non-local writers) National Park, home to some rare species of flora and fauna. The Chinese government and the government of Pakistan need to ensure that aspects of potential environmental degradation are taken care of.

    Coming towards the ‘simmering political rebellion’, i think that’s a gross exaggeration at this point in time. There is no doubt that thousands of people demand more autonomy and more control over the region’s resources, but there is nothing like a rebellion, let alone a ‘simmering’ one, going on in Gilgit – Baltistan at the moment. Those who have ‘informed’ the writer – because he confesses to have not traveled here himself, seem to be well meaning people, most probably Indians.

    I am bringing in Indians in the discourse because most of the ‘facts’ stated by the writer, in reality, are Indian diplomatic lines, including the one regarding Sunni – Shia tussles. No sane person can deny the need to bring culprits of the 1988 sectarian riots to the court of justice. The Supreme Court, under Justice Iftikhar Chaudhary, shall take Suo-Moto notice of the event and convene a high powered, independent, commission to find facts and single out the executioners, perpetrators and sponsors of that tragic incident. If reality is not brought out and if justice not done, the rumors will keep making rounds, one way or the other.

    If David Cameron can bad mouth Pakistan to get economic benefits from India, why can’t the NY Times publish an article to please the Indian government? Who does not know that UK and USA need Indian help to stay out of the looming recession? We all know that the state’s pumping in of money has ‘recovered’ the economy superficially but it is even more vulnerable to future shocks. India’s population bang offers the UK/USA a consumer market, a producers’ heaven 🙂

    Simple economics.

    China has been a trusted friend not only since 1949. Hunza has had a very cordial relationship with the state of China, as a neighbor. But let’s not also mistake China for an angel. Its economic interests are not hidden. We shall look at what we are able to get out of the changes.

    People of GB will, by and large, welcome the PLA. They have the machines and men to drain the dammed Hunza River. The devastation caused by recent floods has also left the region’s roads in shambles. The recovery has to be fast and in excellent quality. With PLA coming in the hopes are now high because people admire the Chinese way of infrastructure development.

    Nevertheless, our people shall not forget that our region is still deprived of all its legitimate rights. We have the constitutional right to criticize the government and raise voice against injustices. But we shall refuse to be part of international conspiracies that are ploying to annex us with Kashmir. This is a historical mistake because our ancestors won independence from the Kashmiri rulers on November 1. When wars are won, by spilling blood, the ink of treaties gets washed away, for good.

    So, No to Kashmir.

    @ Sam – I think it is not right to assume that our people are naive. You can see it from the comments posted above mine. I hope those who are reading this blog and the locals’ reaction to it will know where they have erred.

  7. Selig Harrison is a well-known award winning journalist who collaborated with UN diplomat Diego Cardovez to write an important book on the processes of Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan following Geneva accords in 1989. The book titled Out of Afghanistan and published by Oxford University Press is a groundbreaking informative account of great power politics in the region and it details the machinations of such intelligence agencies as the American CIA, Pakistani ISI, Indian RAW, and Afghan KHAD. So it is a bit disappointing to see such a level of misinformation and mix of facts and fiction in in the story.

    The opening paragraph that says that Islamabad has ‘handed over defacto control of Gilgit-Baltistan to China’ is simply untrue.
    While we are not any fans of Pakistan but we cannot tolerate disinformation, misrepresentation and propaganda, be it from Pakistan, China or India.

    Yet it is absolutely true that China is building, repairing, and widening KKH not out of love for the people of Chat or Jaglote, or Chilas or Ganish. They are doing it cargo and ship their stuff to the 180 million strong Pakistani market. They want to import oil from the Gulf via the Gawader port, and many other things.

    Among many things this article is a foretaste of the kind of politics that will be played out in our region in the future when scramble for mid-eastern oil and other resources will intensify in the future. We in GB need to keep alert to these strategic challenges of the future and position our politics, economy and society in a way that these foreign powers should be forced to negotiate partnerships with us rather than impose war and violence to exact what they want. We can hope to become good partners and strategic players if we strongly defend our traditions and cultural vales against the temptations of the superficiality and perhaps brutality of Pakistani culture- the recent Sialkot case in point. Furthermore our community leadership should design programes to upgrade our human resource capacities in the region and the local government should invest heavily in enhancing quality education of our people. With education, and right skills we will be able to fight off all kinds of exploiters and all varieties of imperialisms : Pakistani, Indian, Chinese or American.

  8. All the above mentioned comments are excellent and they have covered all aspects correctly. To my mind, the article by Selig Harrision is amalgamation of figments of his imagination, hatred towards China, Indian diplomatic exaggerations, RAW’s feast and above all general American paranoid and nightmare about China and its access to Gulf. There is nothing true in the article. But at the same time it reflects the thinking of American Imperialism’s think tanks. China is a true friend of the people of G-B and the monuments of its friendship in the form of KKH is before us. China’s system is not based on exploitation of other people like the Americans. It helps other countries on the basis of equality and mutual benefit. G_B is in dire need of renovation of its infrastructure, expansion of KKH and improvement of environmental dgradation. What is wrong if our area becomes a trading hub and China gets access to Gulf thereby promoting international trade.

  9. This article is not only lacking correct information or ground realities but is with an agenda to expose the American/Indian Game against the upcoming Economic Power (Peoples Republic of China). Selig Harrrison is part of the indian lobbies working to hide the indian ill deeds in Kashmir, and protect the interests of this so called big democracy of the world.

    Pak – China mutually beneficial friendship will always prosper. This article shows the frustration of US think tanks and their failure to succeed in their GAME to isolate/stop the Chinese growth.

  10. There are 99% fiction and 1% fact in Mr Harrison’s statement.
    Americans need not to be worried about our region, rather, they should focus on packing up their back-packs (economically and militarilly). The world is rapidly shrinking for them because of their draconian foreign policies.
    America has always proved itself as a complicator not a mediator particularly in Indo-Pak relations. Similar provocative tactics are being used against China so as to create a cold war situation between Indo-China which will benefit the west in terms of economic gains through the arms sales (pushing southasia further into poverty). All the game they want to play is to save their crippling economies that are under threat of constantly increasing foreign debt and inflation while decreasing GDP growth.

    The western conspiracy towards China, Pakistan and Iran is frofound whereas India and Middle east is pro American and are being exploited (Middle east) or lobbied (India) to become anti China for their long term economic benefits. America and it’s western allies can’t afford to see a strong economic block in Asia and therefore they try to do their best to fuel misunderstanding through different tactics like exploiting border issues e.g
    Kashmir between (India-Pakistan), Himachal Pradesh (Indo-China), Perso-Arabic ideological issues as well as fueling nationalist movements like in Taiwan, Tibet, Xinjiang in (China), Balochistan and Talibanization in Pakistan and vice versa.

    As far as the Gilgit Baltistan is concerned, our future is with China and hence we should keep our eyes open against any western hypocracy.

  11. keep it up. Guys always work for the betterment of our Regions.Dont let the big games play with the lifes of our Future Generations.i have already mentioned.its indian propaganda Against Pakistan.They cant face Pakistanies but Indians will always try using their pen Against our Mother Land,In UAE Gulf Times You will see the Top Level Managements are all Indians so they always play their roles and publish such kind of bullshits Against Pakistan and highlite all the dirty things on the front Page about Pakistan and Pakistanies.The bad luck is Arabs dont know how to read English and we Pakistannis are put down becouse of the high level management working in diffrent English news papers using their best tools Agaisnt Pakistanies for your informations the literacy rate in Arabs is very low……i can say comparing to non of them are Educated…..Arabs are Illeterate..So What more can we expect from an Indian Journalist using their ink agains our Gilgit -Baltistan to Please Washington D.c. its Asahme for NYT Times in Publishing these kind of Propagandas without any Proper base.. God only Can help our region ,We are going through what phase of life and what difficulty and What the Great game is going on Against our PEACE Ful people and our Peace ful REgion.

  12. Due to Top level Mamagement,We the Gilgit-Balstistan are not given Aid for building the Basha Dam and its been Rejected by United Nations to Pakistan all becouse ,India claims Gilgit-Baltistan is part of India Where is still now on the Map of India we are shown Gilgit-Baltistan, part of India Hence fore we are holding Pakistani National id card and our Pakistani passports.its not right for People to play with our lives.
    Now to come to the point .on indian kashmir side Balgraham dam has been built by indian and the water coming to Pakistan has been stoped and diverted to Pakistan to put Pakistani farmers into more economical crisis.Where as we being a citizen of Pakistan and we the help of our Great neighbour China is Offering to build numerous kind of vast projects for Gilgit-Baltistan People Including Roads and The Basha dam for Mega Power Projects,This articles is only a Sign of Indian Propaganda Against our Mother land. (I request everyone of our national to be United, Indian Jealousy and Propagandas wont work,After all Now china is the Super Power and we are proud that We have great friend to help us @ all difficult Times, God bless PAK-CHINA FRIENDSHIP, REMAIN STRONG AS STRONG AS THE MOUTAINS OF KARKURAMS) KEEP YOUR EYES ALWAYS OPEN.Thanks for all our brothers who shared their thought on PT

  13. Present times are very strange in the sense that truth or falsehood is exposed so quickly – thanks to the online media. The article written by the so called renowned journalist in NYT about the Gilgit Baltistan is a case in focus. The tone of article was biased and devoid of any real substance as other commentators have already mentioned. Actually after these kinds of writings, the credibility of Mr. Selig Harrison should be challenged and ripped him away of any professional dignity.

    The well articulated comments by the above commentators have shed light on all the aspects of the issue in a very conclusive way. Just wanted to add that India is dreaming of becoming the major power in the region along with the pat on back by US but China is the major hurdle in its way.

    With more than half a billion of its population living below the poverty line, India has much to do with its internal conditions of apathy before even dreaming of any superiority over its neighbors while US is doomed to be the antithesis of its own self.

    History is witness to the fact that China was the worlds’ sole super power for many millennia even before the time of Alexander and reign of Roman Empire. During the last two millennia only, we see the rise and fall of the so called Muslim civilization and then the ascent of western hegemony. After two thousand years, the dragon wants to reclaim its well deserved supremacy and two millennia of Chinese perseverance cannot be under estimated. We must not forget that two thousand years is not a very long time for Chinese psyche.

    Gilgit Baltistan is at the crossroad; at the confluence of interests of all the super powers including China and US. It is indeed the most strategically situated geography of the world. Let this be an opportunity for the people of Gilgit Baltistan who won their own independence from British India months after the independence of Pakistan (the land of pure or Puristan). Therefore, as my friends have already mentioned, let the people of GB make its own friends or foes. The historically constructive role of China in the region has always been welcomed by the people of GB.

    Those who talk about the annexation of GB with Kashmir should know the fact that the freedom fighters of GB were involved in kicking the Indian armies out of the various parts of Kashmir. Why not then the people of GB should demand from India and Pakistan that those areas of Kashmir now must be the part of Giglit Baltistan?

  14. Selig Harrrison , has no idea of the realty on ground, he is just a part of disinformation being transmitted in the world.

    1. Mr. Harrison no doubt is an award winning writer, but this particular piece of …. was written by his intern who is an Indian graduate student. Like the bollywood films he is trying to bring more twist in already twisted stories…. I have written an email to both Mr. Harrison and his aid couppled with Nur’s response. Furthermore I am trying to meet them personally as their office is closer to our’s… I will keep you all posted about the meeting…. Your comments will back me during this meeting…Wish me all the best….

  15. To begin with the article by Selig Harrison is unbelievably ill-informed. Someone who made his name by publishing books and articles based on the reports international agencies such as the UN, government sources and analysis of intelligence agencies in the region, it is utterly surprising to note untruths and propaganda brimming in this opinion piece about Gilgit-Baltistan. Aejaz has now reminded us that this cannot be the work of the ‘great man’ himself but that of his Indian intern. Whatever is the case our voice, the voices of the people of Gilgit-Baltistan cannot be muted by propagation of falsehoods. If we want to clear the fog created by imperial forces outside us we need to engage and respond in a manner that is free of prejudice but based on facts and objective analysis.

    While most of the comments above are well-argued and powerfully articulated but it is sad to note that some of us have equated an individual opinion with that of the US policy. Selig Harrison may say whatever he wants but we need to analyse what is the US long-range foreign policy in the region, assuming that US may want to come to our area at one point, so as to create local conditions that favor peace, security and development in Gilgit-Baltistan rather than a brutal repetition of violence and bloodshed that has become so much characteristic of US interventions in various part of the world.

    We know that America is a global hegemon which spends as much on defense as the next twelve countries put together, making it a great power in contemporary world history. In pursuit of its economic objectives, for geopolitical reasons to achieve its foreign policy goals this Great Power is sitting in Afghanistan just next door. America’s Afghan policy is driven by various interest groups and the billions of dollars that are spent in Afghanistan have gone to players who have nothing to do with the plight of Afghan people but to safeguard their own interests. Most of these players in Afghanistan are outsiders, in various guises as contractors, as aid-workers, as development practitioner, as political allies and son on and son forth. The result: Afghan children are suffering, security has deteriorated, national cohesion has become ever elusive, economic opportunities are vanishing in short the fragmentation of the country. You might wonder now as to why spend this much space on analyzing Afghanistan, the answer is simple and that is that GB has got not only the same topographical characteristics but also the same cultural and social mix. If we understand US-Afghan problem than we can devise better policies for ourselves in the region to play the global power politics game of engaging China, India, Pakistan and USA. If we don’t create capable leadership who understand global realities, and local sensibilities than we expose ourselves for foreign exploitation who will feed our tribal differences, sectarian attitudes and thus divide us to rule over us.

    ali al-Hakim,

  16. We all know the agenda of the americans and her aids, the indians and some selfish arabs who have sold their souls for a few buck. This article is a clear creation of an indian mind. Its shows the confusion of the american people who are struck by the current economic crunch which is still growing. Their frustration is also mounting as the Chinese economy is growing and has already advancing at a fast pace leaving behind, Japanese and Germans.

    As we all know Americans are masters of conspiracies and their think tanks are may be very much busy to counter the Chinese economic advancements and trying hard to create confusions. The writer of this article has been doing the same but his information about the area and its people is really very poor and based on indian propaganda.

  17. Does it make a difference if Chinese built permanent settlements in GB. I am proud to be a Gilgit-Baltistani but make me ashamed to hold the Pakistani passport. We, Gilgit-Baltistani people have a unique culture that in no way matches with rest of the Pakistan.

    If we are part of Pakistan, then why we are not given our rights – that is on par with any other Pakistani citizen or at least the kind of a status that Azad Kashmir enjoys.

    Most Pakistanis are proud of NOTHING – 90 percent are not civilized – they wake-up in the morning and think what bad should I do today. Because they are not civilized, they choose or elect their leaders as themselves. Corrupt and thieves govern the country. Pakistanis also consider themselves as real Muslims but in fact their actions are such that even Kuffars in stone age would hesitate to do. Look at the way two brothers being killed in front of police, that also during Ramadan (one of the brother was a Hafiz) an act even Taliban wont do.

    When one lives outside of Pakistan, then only we realize what it is mean to be a Pakistani. Look at what Pakistanis are doing all over the world – famous for destructions. Without using brain, they say “America Murdabad”, why not we should say our own dhako leaders Murdabad.

    America is giving billions of dollars to Pakistan but if our so called leaders are transferring that money to their offshore bank accounts, what America could do.

    What is happening in Pakistan right now is a AZAB from Allah. It is a message to get their acts together.

    God bless people of GB.

  18. This is really very important for us to know, Pakistan was greatly needed during the Russain – Afghan / American war, now they are simply trying to create an another complication. We have no objection for PLA’s possible friendly involvement on development projects like in the past. Because to have a business peaceful with any other nation our country is the sovereign right of every country. Lets hope that the Karakorum High Way is developed further more. It is really wise to be friends and peaceful with your neighbors.

  19. I just stumbled upon this website and I am pleasantly surprised to note the quality of dialogue that is going on in relation to US foreign policy and other global issues here. I notice that Hunza is such a small place merged beneath high mountains and I was wondering if all commentators above are from Hunza? Can someone let me know.

    It is great to notice that there is so much interest in international political events and issues in such a far flung area. Can someone also explain why is that the case.

  20. For Veronica Lokhart,
    Q.1. Yes, all of the commentators belong to GB and prticularly from Hunza. Majority is the ‘diaspora’ living outside their region.
    2. Our ‘political saga’ dates back to the british rule. Although, they were out in 1947 but left us forever in. Our interest in international politics is largely linked to our own regional issue. When we drive our intellect through the ‘regional route’, we quickly arrive at a junction of vested national and international interests. It is here we differ by unabling to decide the right route that could lead us to our destiny….? We need the ‘GPS’ that hasn’t yet been manufactured…and possibly never.

  21. Prior to advocating American Aid, can someone tells me why the hell America is spending hundreds of billions in the war fare developement when more than a billion hungry stomachs crumbling to death around the world??
    2. Why does America give Aid in the form of ‘cash’ instead of technological transfer even knowing that the given money will serve only the corrupt elite??? because they know that the money given will soon or later be back into their banks (either through corruption or arms sale) whereas technology will pull their dollars out of their pockets. This is what has been happening with Pakistan and many other countries. When a leader in the third world tries to avert this pace, is eliminated or the whole country is isolated. Having all these ground realities yet we hear lot of advocatic bla bla bla about the ‘democracy’ and ‘human right issues’ in the western media.
    3. Is not America spending to create ‘anti-americanism’ to justify its presence in Iraq, Afghanistan or elsewhere?

    1. Haqiqat, I am not an American and not a political fan either but I do admire their strategic policies of national interest. This is what we want from the custodians of our so called country (assuming we fully belong to Pakistan) to develop our country like US or any other developed country. If America gives technology to Pakistan, you know they would either sell or spoil it.

      Why care if America is spending billions of dollars on defense when a poor country like Pakistan is not behind in spending. You care about Palestine… wish you had lived with Palestinians – I do have the experience of working with them for many years in the Middle East. They are worst than Pakistanis and have no respect to Pakistan despite insane people in Karachi and other cities are busy demonstrating in favor of them.

      Leave the popular sentiments like they are our Muslim brothers and so on, consider humanity first to make this world a better place. The reality is if Palestinians would come and live with our Pakistani brothers in Pakistan, they both would kill each other. It is happening currently. Many Arab and other Muslim fighters (Mujahideen) are blowing up mosques in Pakistan today.

      Pakistani media is still immature. When Pakistan had its first real and sincere leader Musharaf who was trying to fix this broken country, media played a good opposition role crying democracy. Again, democracy is good in a civilized society – in Pakistan we should better use word lootou instead of democracy. For media’s role in Mushraf rule, they are getting punishment from so called democratic government these days as the offices of Jhang Group have been burned by the PPP workers.

      Pakistani land is amazingly beautiful but inhibited by the wrong lot.

  22. @ Veronica: Most of the comments are from people belonging to Hunza and other parts of Gilgit-Baltistan living in GB or elsewhere in the world.

    Most of the youth and educated people in Hunza and Gilgit-Baltistan are forward looking and are open to engage in positive discussion pertaining to politics, culture or any other issue of the time.

  23. @Jaik Hall,
    I simply attempted to elaboarate the US foreign policies. But at the same time we need to learn a lot from them. Particularly, the ‘Rule of Law’ and I am sure the rest will follow.
    Abstaining from the ‘Rule of Law’ have led the Pakistani society to the present day situations where tolerance and respect has simply replaced by ‘junoon’. We’ll have to address the causes while facing the effects. I personally devote more time thinking and analyzing the causes rather than effects.
    What you’re observing in Palestine or Pakistan are the effects caused not only by the outsiders but largely by the insiders as well.
    I am not a fan of any dictator but also a critic of the current system in the country. Let’s hope that things will be changed rapidly.

  24. It is fact that the nuclear powers in the West as well in the East holds strategic interests in Gilgit-Baltistan because of its strategic location. China in the past as well as in present use it economic diplomacy for achieving these strategic interests, today China is doing the same in Africa and has achieved a huge influence over there.
    Whatever Chinese thinks about the area but so far this ‘ economic diplomacy’ has helped the inhabitants of GB. It is due to the Chinese effort that the area got access to the world market and now fostering the local economy.
    What bother the writer is that the US holds a meager influence over the area and trying to retaliate the Chinese interests, which I think is the crux of the above written piece.

  25. The building of KKH open up Gilgit Baltistan which otherwise is almost unreachable from the outside world. The widening of KKH (and construction of rail-line and pipe-line, if true) would provide China another access to her economic life-line. Lest one may say anything of exploitation, it may ended up as the modern version of the ancient Silk Route and benefited the whole community within the route.

  26. Navigating from one website to another I came to Pamir times and pleased to see a healthy discourse on an important but elusive issue of international politics. I could go through some of the responses as the frequent failure of electricity gives little time in Central Hunza to hang on with online community, yet, I could not restrict myself to have a bit say in the response to the piece of writing published in the US newspaper. I agree to an extent to Sam that very few of the global media sources, New York Times, for instance, did not bother to publish even a single lead story to portray plights of the people in Gojal, Upper Hunza particularly after Attaabad land slide that besieged the largest tehsil in the region are trying to manage to bring the life to normal level as in the past. I should agree completely with Kako Ameen Baig’s opinion that Chinese expertise should be welcome in GB in order to get sustainable economic developments on the pattern used in Xinjiang on one hand and doors should remain open for any other including Super power US to have a role in this back ward region on the other. Thanks Nur, for a detailed and comprehensive response wherein he, vindicated already that people of GB are more now mature and able to understand global conspiracies being waved by imperialists like US via different pockets namely Indian lobbies at various levels in the case. Moreover, the learned writer has mistakenly merged the cause and future of GB with that of disputed Kashmir, a blunder that international organizations like UN did in past, thus keeping the destiny of future in balance. As far as our affiliation with Pakistan is concerned, that was done according to only needs of those times, not necessarily justifies the contemporary ones. Haqiqat in through solid arguments have elaborated our dissimilarities with Pakistani culture, norms and attitudes. Yet I should one thing more that is US has nothing to do with the poverty reduction, women empowerment, equal opportunity and other issues of Human rights domain, rather it seems some of the instrumental in disguise of humanitarian assistance to paw the way to gain and retain public support in third world countries like in Pakistan, apparently. Various colleagues abroad have had narrated about their identity as Pakistani, well known for wrong doings; Jack Hall, truly disclosed the reality that people of Gilgit-Baltistan feel ashamed in real sense for holding a Pakistani passport that has a totally different culture and attitudes towards life.On global front, I agree with Khajon that out of the four world players emerging gradually, US and India is trying to detract Pakistan from the emerging main player China through infusing misunderstanding between the both. And to reinforce the comment by GB post, it comes to our regional leadership both in private and government sector that experiences hibernation, to work on capacity building of the coming generation in order to enable them play their role to cope challenges impending in future.

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