Raja Mushtaq Ahmed
“My son will have to learn I know, that all men are not just, all men are not true. But teach him also that for every villain there is a hero, that for every selfish politician, there is a dedicated leader. Teach him that for every enemy there is a friend”.
Excerpt from Abraham Lincoln’s letter to his son
A nation does not live by its big factories, dams or buildings. It can live only by the character of its people. And that process of character building starts at an early age, at school, college and university. It is sacred duty of the students of Gilgit – Baltistan to build their character in such a way that from the very beginning they are able to learn the lessons of self-help, self-reliance and sacrifice. These are the essential qualities of character which they must acquire. They should learn to co-operate with each other in their class-rooms, on playgrounds and in other activities of School, College and University life. For them no duty is of greater importance than the development of character.
Contemporary political situation in Gilgit-Baltistan threatens to further fragment the society. As can be seen, religion is being used by most of the politicians to secure votes. In this scenario, it is duty of a sensible student to not follow such kind of politics. It is the duty of students to see that religion and politics are two different phenomena. And it is duty of our leaders to ensure that religion is not misused for political purposes.
Further, students must shun violence because violence leads to terrorism. Every effort must be made to do away with it. Students as citizens of Gilgit-Baltistan and change agents of this area can play an active part in putting down such evils. Students participate in the political life of the region, but not at the cost of their studies. No doubt, the voting age has now been lowered to 18 years, but this does not mean that they should neglect their studies. Seasoned and experienced leaders are there to shape the destiny of the nation. Students will be required to take their place when they retire. They are the future builders of the nation. Their duty in the present is to prepare for the future. Dear students you should be well equipped morally, emotionally, mentally and physically.
The most progressive, inspired and dynamic segment of the country’s population is the student’s community. Students who join politics are good speakers. They become self-confident by shedding their timidness and shyness. Tackling problems and solving disputes and handling crisis situations however small or big they may be, infuses confidence in them. It helps in developing skills to deal with people from all backgrounds and of all shades of opinion.
It is true that even with the latest reform package, the people of Gilgit-Baltistan have not yet received the same constitutional rights as their counterparts in Pakistan’s other four provinces do. They will still not be able to elect their representatives for the National Assembly or the Senate. Having the right to elect their representatives for the Assembly, whose name is also not limited to merely a geographical expression, is an important initiative.
The democratic aspirations of the people of Gilgit-Baltistan cannot remain hostage to the Kashmir dispute, which may take some more years or even decades to resolve. Just because it is not being resolved does not mean that that the political status of the Gilgit-Baltistan region, which historically, geographically and ethnically is distinct from the disputed Kashmir area, should remain uncertain and its people continue to suffer due to this uncertainty. The Gilgit-Baltistan Empowerment and Self Governance Order 2009 is a bold attempt to let the people of the region feel that the country they acceded to voluntarily 64 years ago owns them and their future.
“The historic journey that we began over 64 years ago is now coming to a happy opinion.” In reality, forming a new Plan is only the beginning of another long road which the region will need to travel.
In this way and especially to focus on the “Gilgit-Baltistan Empowerment and Self-Governance Order 2009” I am telling you students of Gilgit-Baltistan. Our comming generation, our future builders, you people have a great responsibility to understand and identified for a better future political development of Gilgit-Baltistan. Because you people are the change agent of our area.
The present scenario in Gilgit-Baltistan is thus a keen struggle of political parties engaged in enlisting support of students. This obviously results in the students getting sharply divided as if they were of this political party or that so much so, even the campus elections become tainted with a touch of politics.
Students are the backbone to any economy. They are the future of every nation. It is their responsibility to apply everything they learn, practically and thus contribute to the development of the country. Politics is the best way to accomplish this. You cannot build an apartment just because you have bricks and labor. There should be someone, in this context, an engineer, who guides them in building it. Similarly, an efficient leader only can take a nation forward. That is the reason why we conduct elections to choose our representative. Students have a burning zeal to excel. The power of the youth is a mighty river, waiting to be channelized. If it is utilized in a constructive manner, progress can be made.
Politics encourages students to take initiative. Politics make students good organizers. Today we see a large number of youth contesting in their college or university elections. This is a very good phenomenon. If students are using their efforts on constructive way.
But, there is also a negative side to it. Wrong politics gives negative influences early in one’s career. Some students join politics just to boast among their peers. Their studies get affected making them indiscipline. Students can also become victims to private leaders. They mislead them by offering high position in their party but asking them to represent on behalf of them in the colleges and University .All these factors are making parents worry about their kids. As a result very few are even considering politics as their career.
Students’ involvement in politics, as all other social phenomena, has positive and negative dimensions. Iserious disadvantages and may be few advantages too of students being on the center stage of politics. Disadvantages outnumber the advantages. Firstly, while the students, have primarily entered colleges and universities for studies they get distracted from their prime objective and become entangled in the politics. The energy and time they use or waster in masterminding political moves could well be used to study. This entry of politics in the premises of educational institutions has caused many a damage to several students. Students have got rusticated owing to their active participation in politics, thus losing their hold on studies. Politics teaches students to put an end to all rules and regulations and become rowdy and violent. This leads to closure of institutions which again take a toll of students’ study time. The very innocent and loving appearance of children gets lost and they become rude, arrogant and disobedient. When there is too much of hooliganism entering into educational institutions, even police is to be called sometimes and there is utter disorder in the campus and even bullets find their way among the students. The disadvantages of students entering politics are numerous and destructive.
When we study the advantages of this system, they do exist but, are very few and hardly significant. Children entering the arena of politics learn the art of public speaking. They learn to be assertive and impressive. This medium is a good stepping stone to the art of leadership. The important and real advantage is that students in these prime years of life gain a lot of knowledge of politics which gives them training to enter the arena as trained politicians.
After studying the pros and cons of students’ participation in politics, the disadvantages are more damaging than the gains acquired in the sequence. For, all the advantages students gain, can as well be achieved so in other ways also and there is no need for their entry into politics.