Muhammad Irfan Chourbati
The development promises of the incumbent PPP govt in Gilgit Baltistan do not seem to be fulfilled, not least in the remote border area of Chourbat, located in the Ghanche district of Baltistan region. The people are disappointed. The Chief Minister, Syed Mehdi Shah, had promised to grant the status of Tehsil (magistracy) to the Chourbat valley to the status of Tehsil during his visit. However, he has not been able to keep his promise.
The Peoples Party government in Gilgit Baltistan despite of begin in majority in the legislative assembly has not been able to allocate funds for the development of infrastructure, which has increased administrative and logistical difficulties of the locals.
The only hospital in the valley, which once used to be highly functional under Pakistan Army’s control during war times in the early 2000, now looks like a dispensary in these days. The hospital lacks proper medical staff, equipment and medicine facilities, due to which the local population is suffering.
The number of causalities has been rising day by day and various epidemic diseases are not in control. The border valley also lacks the facilities to tackle any emergency situation. The only large medical facility is located at two hours drive away, in the Khaplu City. However, that large facility also lacks proper health services, leaving thousands of people at the mercy of diseases and accidents which are rampant in the valley.
There are about seven high school buildings in the valley, operating without Science labs and qualified teachers for science subjects. The only IT lab at the Siksa Boys High School lacks IT teacher for the last three years.
Two college buildings in the valley, Partuk College and Inter College Siksa, are also secluded because there has not been any academic activity in them since they had were constructed.
In such circumstances the parents are forced to send their children to the private institutions, while those who cannot afford due to weak economic status are left uneducated.
Roads of the valley are also in terrible condition with no proper maintenance. The representatives of the region in the Legislative assembly are not paying proper attention to these sectors.
The valley of Chourbat was badly affected during the Pak-India war of 1971. After the war, thousands of families went in to the occupation of India with the siege of several villages of Chourbat Valley. Thousands more migrated to different areas of Baltistan in 1971. Again in the Kargil war of 1999-2002 this valley gave a picture of battle field due to cross border shelling between Pakistan and Indian army and dozens of people were killed and thousands were forced to migrate to cities.
Even after the huge sacrifices by the people of the region the government doesn’t seem to be serious in resolving problems of the people. Despite the presence of huge army troops and importance of the region because of its border with Indian occupied Chourbat and Ladakh the federal and provincial governments had never paid attention to the development of the region.
The people of the valley at one side remain in the fear of war due to presence of army troops while at the other side they are being ignored by the government in matters related to health, education and other necessities of life.
The contributor is an undergraduate Student at Department of Politics & IR, International Islamic University Islamabad. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org