Another exercise in futility

By DJ Mathal

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s one-day visit to Gilgit-Baltistan on the heels of lots of hopes drew sharp criticism from opposition parties who termed it a bid to rig the forthcoming elections to the legislative assembly of the region. The prime minister during his sojourn in the Gilgit city presided over a meeting of the Gilgit-Baltistan Council which passed its annual budget. Later, the prime minister addressed a huge public meeting at the Lalek Jan Shaheed Stadium and announced a number of development projects for the region. He said that his government was making efforts to bring Gilgit-Baltistan at par with other developed areas of the country. He said that the government was also working to exploit the natural resources of the region so that the life standards of the people of the area could be improved. He added that the Pak-China economic corridor project would usher in a new era of progress and prosperity in the whole region. He also promised to provide funds for the development of the fruits trade in the region. The prime minister on the occasion also announced to create four more districts in Gilgit-Baltistan. He also announced to set up university campuses and increase the number of flights to the region to end the communication issues of the area people.

On the key issue of the constitutional status of Gilgit-Baltistan, Mr Nawaz Sharif said that a committee under his adviser on foreign affairs Sartaj Aziz had been formed and upon its recommendations the future of the area would be decided.

All these superficial promises and claims aside, we are of the view that the visit of Mr Sharif would not be any different from that of former PM Yousuf Raza Gilani to Gilgit-Baltistan before the 2009 elections and the sugar-coated promises also resemble that which were made by the former PPP prime minister. Mr Sharif has made many announcements like Mr Gilani but our experience shows that these promises are only aimed at winning votes and then to be forgotten. What is new in the prime minister’s promises now, is there anything that we can rejoin on. About the announcement of establishment of the four new districts, it may be pointed out that two of them, Hunza and Kharmang, had already been announced by the PPP government. The good news that Gilgit-Baltistan would see lots of development after the China corridor project is also an old one and would fail to win any sympathy for the federal government as far as the forthcoming polls are concerned. Saying that the Diamer dam would generate so many thousands megawatts of electricity and resolve the power crisis of Pakistan has also become a cliché now. We would have been impressed had the prime minister inaugurated the actual work at the site and ordered the payment of proper compensation to the displaced people of the area. These all claims are aimed at hoodwinking the people as none of these projects would bring any dividend for the people of Gilgit-Baltistan as they are being launched for the very survival of the people of Pakistan. Take the example of the Pak-China economic corridor project in which non a single representative of the people of Gilgit-Baltistan was taken on board. In the Diamer project, thousands of families and historical sights of the area are destined to be submerged by the water, rather the existence of the people of the area is at stake. When the construction of a dam in Pakistan is taken up such as the Kalabagh dam, the successive governments and the political parties of the country seem on the one page opposing it saying it would submerge lots or areas but when the establishment of a mega dam is proposed in Gilgit-Baltistan nobody bothers even to take the area people into confidence. To rub salt to the injury, a conspiracy is hatched to deprive the area people of the royalty by installing the plants of the water reservoir on the side of the KP province. The simple question here is will there be any difference in the life of the common people of Gilgit-Baltistan after the visit of the Pakistani prime minister. The premier chaired the meeting of the Gilgit-Baltistan Council which has been made to rule the area through the majority representatives of outsiders. The federal government formed the council only to take decisions on important issues by sidelining the representatives of the people of Gilgit-Baltistan. Three of the main cash earning departments of Gilgit-Baltistan including water and tourism have been given under the control of the council while the rest are with the powerless provincial government and due to the lack of funds their productivity and performance is deteriorating day by day.

The crux of the matter is that gradually and steadily we are losing rights on our own resources and Pakistan very cunningly making an encroachment on our resources as well as our basic rights. It is time that the people of Gilgit-Baltistan realized the gravity of the situation and launch a decisive struggle for the attainment of their basic rights that include the right to utilize their resources for their own good and have the decision making powers. The saga of the Pakistani rulers to come to the area before every sham elections and make announcements to rig the elections should go. The political parties of Pakistan should not be even allowed to play their dirty games in the land of Gilgit-Baltistan and the indigenous people should be free to elect their people as they wish so that they can make decisions based on their free will and betterment of the future generations. If the nation fails to realize the gravity of the situation, our next generations would continue facing the same ugly situation in which we and our forefathers have been for the last over six decades.

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  1. NS and his bro zar dari have been bad news for GB all along! Our salvation is free and fair elections under the supervision of the Army and international observers!

    1. It is not ppp or pml party at fault. it is your people who are elected.
      The new governor says last government did not implement any development projects.

      Untill you have capable leaders in gilgit. Nothing can save you from corruption.
      Third world countries have corruption in every stake.
      Maybe pti ppp and pml parties are here to save pakistan.
      This is the reason why we have three parties. Pakistan will usher in development on promises.

      All three parties are fighting for pakistan.
      I understand pakistan and bharat also don’t want development in disputed state.
      this is the main cause of friction that UN should come and take action for the people.

  2. We are receiving in our rights in peace meals. We are the people who stands in first row in defence of the country and implementation of provisions of law in Pakistan.

  3. We all GBIANS are extremely grateful to PM sab and his team for visiting GB and making historical announcements as well. At the same time we expect that his committed team and administration of GB would make it possible to materialize these announcements to reduce misunderstandings and allegations.

    Often we have expressed in social media that the people of GB believe in service delivery and practical actions not on merely announcements and news papers headings.

    Many opponents are writing and commenting that these announcements link to forthcoming election as well. As social analyst of GB and impartial social reformer my response is that in 2009 -2010 Mian Nawaz Sharif had taken the following steps for GB People.

    1. Allocation of professional seats for GB students in Punjab: so far more than 400 doctors & Engineers had been produced through this facility and announcement.
    2. Fee was also remitted for GB students as Punjab and our students also avail this opportunity.
    3. Lap tops were also given to GB competent students like Punjab students.

    All this shows his great devotion and affection with GB people.

    Compare to this former PM announced many things but not single project was materialized. Former GB CM who had their own Govt in centre could not deliver single pen to GB students as well. He and his team discouraged the deserving students through deteriorating merit and defame the GB as well.

    All we need to be realistic without affiliation of cast, colour and party as well. It is hoped PM sab and his team would find the durable solution of constitutional right.

    Regarding the former Governments and PMs we have often expressed in social media that is also shared here for the interest of readers and GB well wishers.

    First Text:

    Often we have said that the GBIANS respect and appreciate those leaders and parties that are working for welfare of GB people. Only news papers headlines are not merely rely on.

    • People of GB respect and recall the Mian brotherans( Present PM sab And CM Sab Punjab) for their devotion with GB people where they always stood in turbulence of GB whether it is Giyari sector or Atta abad disaster. Apart from this the allocation of professional seats for GB students in Punjab and free education as well as considering the GB students equally with Punjab students in giving the lap tops, are their noblest and unforgettable good deeds. It is hoped this relation and devotion would not only be continued but it will be further strengthened through granting The GB constitutional right in national assembly and senate as well.

    • If any party or leadership looses its reliability and credibility it is worse and more dangerous than physical death. Such situation was witnessed at country level and in GB during the last four years.

    • The Gb people had great expectations with self governance but it distorted the image of GB through bad governance. All this was result of some incompetent and dishonest political leadership. Instead of mentoring and monitoring the professionals they forced and compelled to destroy the systems. To some extent professionals are also equally accountable and responsible as they were needed to oppose the illegal things. The new generation Of Gb would never spare these corrupt leaders and officers who distorted the image of GB and recorded a dark history of corruption in GB history. All such officers and leaders should apologize with GB nation on such misdeeds and hurting them.

    Second Text:

    Imtiaz sab ! The GBIANS appreciates and respect to all those parties and individuals who are/ were practically keen in development of GB and Keen in service delivery.
    Actually honest speaking these are parties that create hate ness and gaps amongst people and even in families as well.
    As GBIAN I appreciate and respect the truthfulness and honesty of these leaders ( Political / Social )belonging from three different parties in GB for example.

    1. Wazir baig PPP
    2. Hafizur Rehman PMLN
    3. Nawaz Khan Naji BNF

    I have never heard about them to encouraging corruption or disintegration. Always they would talk about merit and good governance and welfare of GB. It is another thing that these are not heard more or regarded by their counterparts or colleagues.

    Like wise many individuals have also recorded their names in GB history through their utmost service delivery.

    • Shaheed zulfiqar ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto are always remembered as they demolished FCR. But their successors spoiled their image through bad governance.
    • Pervaz Musharaf spread the net work of development in Gb and established KIU.
    • Mian Nawaz sharif and shehbaz sharif always presented themselves in the place of trouble and always stood by GBIANS whether it is Giyari sector or Atta Abad Lake disaster. Apart from this they helped fully the students of GB in providing educational equipments like lap tops etc. They doubled the professional seats in Punjab and thus more than 80 professional human resources has been started to enhance annually for last four years. These are the practical examples of service delivery. It is also hoped they would also grant constitutional right to GB as well.

    As far as Imran Khan and PTI is concern we respect and regard him on his envisioning and aiming at making KPK corruption free province and emphasizing streamline the systems in country and within party.

    The GBIANS hate and condemn corrupt parties and leaders who deteriorate the principles of Islamic values and good governance and appreciate and honour the corruption free leaders and parties whichever that may be.

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