By Irfan Ali
Democracies well operate and function in educated and conscious societies. Otherwise, mere imitations of other always lead towards destructions and supremacy of ignorant autocrats. Same logic applies to the legislature of Gilgit-Baltistan (GB), where, private and government bills and resolution are moved in and passed without in-depth analysis and extensive deliberations.
Recently, GB Assembly unanimously passed a resolution demanding to bifurcate GB’s job quota from FATA which is jointly advertised for both regions in the Federal services.
According to 1988 census, GB and FATA’s population were 0.8 million and 3.2 million respectively. This means the difference in population ratio is 1:5. By putting the figures into perspective, out of 5 people, 4 belong to FATA and only one dwell in GB. The projected population figures too portray almost similar picture of GB -FATA population ratio.
The combined quota for GB-FATA in Federal Services is 4%. If quota is separated in light of the resolution approved and population distribution, GB will get 0.8% and FATA will receive 3.2% out of the combined quota of 4%.
To understand the figure in a simple language, if 120 vacant posts are advertised by the Federal services, only 1 post will go to GB. Now the problem with such a division is that, no federal organization except for the central superior services (CSS) and few others advertise 120 posts at a time. In other words, we will have to wait for 5 to 6 years to fill just 1 post of our quota in the federal services if posts are advertised on regular basis each year. Just to mention the example of AJ& K, it has a population of 4.7 Million and has 1% quota in the federal services, which means both GB and FATA combined together are much better off compared to AJ&K.
If GB-FATA is jointly advertised, at least, there is a chance for GB occupying 50% posts out of 4% combined quota; 2 posts out of 100. The last 4 to 5 years results bear out this logic, which can be verified from the previous results.
The current quota distribution to all administrative units are according to the census of 1972, same ratio exist till date. From 1972 to 2001, GB was getting a smaller share and FATA was eating up major portion of the quota because of larger population, better education, sectarian unrest in Northern Areas (now GB), GB’s un-connectedness to capital and rest of the main land Pakistan for advertisement information and test/interviews.
But after 2001 Pakistan’s entry into war against terror in Afghanistan and elsewhere created disturbance in FATA and thus provided edge to GB inevitably. On the other hand, Karakorum International University (KIU), services provided by Agha Khan Education Services (AKES), proliferation of quality private schools and colleges, Army Schools and Colleges and 2 cadet colleges all pulled together for a better and quality literacy rate in Gilgit-Bultistan. Current statistics asserts that literacy rate of GB is higher and better than the national average of the country. According to a report published in daily dawn in 2014 “the top scoring areas in terms of middle school performance were nearly all districts from Gilgit-Baltistan” (Daily Dawn).
So, in the light of the mention facts and figures coupled with the prevailing ground realities, the resolution passed by the legislative assembly to bifurcate quota of GB from FATA has played with the future of our young generation.
At this juncture, when GB has had to benefit from the conflict in FATA and not to mention the galloping quality and mounting literacy rate of GB; our legislators have stroke out a demand in favor of FATA.
Frankly speaking, most of the legislators in GB assembly are either low-literate or unaware about issues and politics beyond their own constituencies. Issues like the current one (quota division) demand input from technocrats, experts, bureaucracy, relevant departments, educationist and general populace before going for a decision.
Regarding the employment situation, unlike rest of the country, private sector is almost nonexistent in GB. Due to which, youth mostly depend on the public sector for employments. But in contrast, the nascent province of GB is not in a position to provide jobs opportunities for every young boy and girl. In such a griming condition, the only option left with the youth is to look towards the federal jobs or federal prescribed quota for GB-FATA.
Stupid and humbug resolution like the one mentioned are only insulting the wounds of youth and further exacerbating the already strained job market in the region.
In this connection, youth ought to deliberate on the issue objectively through every platform available and must build pressure on the government to do way with such an imprudent demand/resolution.
You can email the contributor at Irfanali14@gmail.com