With reporting by Farman Karim
Gilgit, April 11: Gojal Valley, Upper Hunza, has been deprived of political representation for long. The young people are frustrated by the nonchalant attitude of the political leaders despite of all the economic, social, health and other troubles brewing in the region. Hunza should be made a separate district. If the Gojal region is not given an additional seat in the GBLA, we will boycott the upcoming elections.
These views were shared by Alwaiz Muhammad Aslam, Ali Qurban – renowned leftist figure, independent candidate for GBLA Abdul Aziz and Darwesh Ali of the recently formed Gojal –Hunza Bedari Tehreek (Awakening Movement) today at a press conference.
They further said that the Gojal Valley (Upper Hunza) shares borders with Afghanistan and China, while Tajikistan is also located within a very short-range of the region’s border. They said that Gojal Valley connects Pakistan with China through the Khuzhrav Pass. They said that during this long history, the people of Gojal valley have remained peaceful and they have guarded the borders in the absence of the troops. They said that the government earns billions from the Sost Port but not a single penny is being spent on the region’s development.
The speakers blamed the PPP and PMLN leaders of keeping the Gojal region deprived and backward. They said that during the last PPP government not a single project was completed in the region.
Alwaiz Aslam and others said that for the past forty years the Gojal region has been kept backward, but the locals have progressed in the field of education through their own efforts, by establishing community schools. They said that despite of the highest literacy rate, the people of Gojal are not represented in the legislative assembly or any other policy making body of the region.
The Bedari Tehreek leaders further said that influential groups and people have appointed their favorites in the Customs, Khunjerab Security Force, Khunjerab National Park administration and other key departments working in the region. This, they said, has resulted in frustration among the educated youth who are feeling economic crunch, especially in the wake of the Attabad landslide disaster, which has crippled the region’s economy.
They also said that the people of Gojal Valley have been kept deprived of the compensation amount for loss of land caused by the Karakuram Highway repair and expansion project. They said that the discriminatory attitude of the political and administrative authorities is pushing the region’s people to the wall and causing severe frustration among the youth.
The speakers also said that they demand bifurcation of the Hunza-Nagar district and creating two separate districts in the region, in line with the historical identities of both former states. They said that regions with smaller populations have been made into districts but the strategic areas are being kept deprived through political machinations and maneuverings.
The speakers demanded that a separate seat be given to the Gojal region within a separate Hunza district, to address the concerns and deprivations of the region’s populace. They said that if their demands were not met, then they will announce boycott of the upcoming elections and also campaign to convince others to boycott elections for, what they called, the ‘seat of exploitation’.