Gilgit-Baltistan: A Paradise in the Grip of Sectarian Violence

Ajmal Hussain

This is not yet been highlighted by the scholars, rather they did not pay attention to the sectarian crimes which have become main focus of allegation by non Muslims, reducing the potency of Islam across the globe.

The ongoing massacre killing of innocent people who hailed from Gilgit-Baltistan has actually accelerated the increasing uncertainty and animosity in one of the most geographically strategic areas of our country. A country that has been jeopardized by internal and external hegemonies for ages has now turned into a very harmless substance. In fact if we don’t take an initiative now, the current situation will get worse and the consequences will be out of our control. Without forgetting National-issues such as that of Baluchistan, other concerns like the Pak- Afghan border clashes, increasing American pressure, Tension over Iranian energy supply, country’s energy crisis, and terrorism and so on must be tackled by the rulers, legislators, politicians, policymakers and other concerned regulators of the country.

The region of G-B has already remained neglected and people have been disenfranchised from the political process which includes their right to cast vote in both the National Assembly as well as the Senate. More general Gilgit-Baltistan legislative assembly has been working like “a ship without a rudder”, be a place where hopes are already marginalized, and region has now turned into a catastrophic struck state, with only celebratory voting rights. G-B Legislative Assembly was supposed to be a “real” representative body with powers on decision and law making, and not a mere nominal one, however, hopes from this very body still continue to emanate.

When behavioral or psychological conflicts occur between communities of varying   demographics and geographies, consensus and mutual understandings are hard to be worked out. That  is why  the region, so called a paradise for  local and foreign tourists,  is being humiliated by the suspended intellect of decision makers of the country, manifesting it into the lack of concrete actions, which far from implementation, and not even been verbalized.  The question is not limited to the creation of proactive measures; rather it extends to the achievement of its solutions vested in honesty, faith, integrity, and rationality. Help and guidance from senior citizens of the region can indeed play a positive role, having said that consistency in peace would not be possible without taking the young people into account, as they are more influential in and committed to this fatal crime of sectarianism

Ajmal Hussain

which Islam does not allow us. These young people, aging between 18 to 40   communities of both the major sects, namely Sunni and Shia, especially those who are familiar with the fundamentals of the segments they belong to, mainly from the main City, must be included in the peace process.  Monthly meetings with positive publicity around the city through local newspapers, TV and radio channels, posters and flyers, must aware the people of all age groups about the fundamental issues to be highlighted in the peace talks. Awareness is ought to be the main focus of the peace program to tackle the existing widespread hatred, resulting into the idealized fruitful outcomes which suit a civilized society. Peace, harmony, brotherhood, tranquility, as well as the hitherto neglected role of women, teachers, elders and institutions, can play a significantly empirical role in overcoming this vulnerable issue.

Implication of peace process into its physical structure cannot be formulated unless support of ministers, bureaucrats, religious scholars, old citizen and all other influential bodies, who then can further nominate different group of young men and women from both sides. This selected group of people must be counseling  and supervised by another body regulated by the same chain of peaceful command.

Is it anything less than an abysmal shame for the region, where its very own people do not deem it worthy to sit, walk, or talk with the fellow citizens of their “mother-land”?  Since, sectarianism has not only penetrated the G-B region, but has also deepened its roots in other parts of the country too. G-B should thud, stand out and become an example for other regions to follow by initiating this peace process.

The contributor is an assistant professor at Jinnah Institute of Informatics & Commerce- Punjab University. He can be reached through ajm_huss@yahoo.com 

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