Gilgit Baltistan, the paradise on earth, the paragon of beauty and the source of inspiration for poets seems to be a helpless child in today’s realistic world. It goes without saying that it is the focal point of world powers nowadays. It is the only region of the world which can make kings and queens. It is the only region of the world which can connect the great powers of the world politically, socially, culturally and above all economically. In short, it’s the epicenter of international attention. Despite of having such an immense importance in the international scenario, this region is still in chaos, turmoil and is facing an acute identity crisis. Unfortunately, the so called legislators of Pakistan have plunged this region into such a nadir due to their lack of political acumen and dexterity. It is no more than a political game for the political tycoons who use different tactics to win the elections by false promising with the people of the region. All these Pakistani political demons have their puppets in the region who never hesitate to sell the conscientious of their people.
It has become order of the day that the incumbent government fans the flames by its negative tactics. The whirligig of time brings bitter experiences rather than bringing soothing compensations. There are no wheels with in wheels but the government tries to complicate the issue by following the policy which has been used by it in Kashmir. Wide of the mark, the negligence on the part of Federal government has further aggravated the situation. The rendezvous of the federal authorities is no more a picnic or an excursion. Every time, they make huge promises after feeling calm and cool in the pleasant ambiance of GB but after leaving the region, they forget all the sorrows and grievances of people and only remember the fresh breathes they had ever breathed in the region. In doing so, they are assisted by their ugly and voracious puppets in the region. Literary speaking, it reminds me the old nursery tale in which the phrase “Beauty and the Beast” is used to indicate a lovely woman with an ugly male companion. As ill luck would have it. The beautiful land is ruled by the ugly beasts. The sum and substance of this story is that both the federal and local (so called provincial) leadership is not interested in solving the riddle. Consequently, depravity among masses, identity crises and terror reigns in the region posing challenges to the whole region. It not only aggravates the situation for Pakistan but also paves the way for external elements like the notorious MODI to meddle in the affairs of the region for the sake of his own interest as well as to propagate the American interest in the region against a strong China. In short, the interest of all these states has made the region “an eternal triangle”.
No doubt, the region is a precious gift of God to Pakistan which is a land flowing with milk and honey. It is the fault on our part that this piece of land is still in limbo i.e without any proper identity of its own despite of being freed from Dogra Raaj in 1947. Since its inception, it has been ruled by bad eggs and disloyal people who tried to mask its identity by signing fake and baseless pacts and agreements like the so-called Karachi Agreement which was formulated just to make the land a controversial one by involving the people of Kashmir who have nothing to do with GB. No doubt, GB is a separate entity with its own culture and customs, norms and traditions, language and literature, history and calendar and folks and norms. Above all, the brave people of the region wrote their victory with their hands in their own blood. The people of the region are diametrically opposed to merge the region with any other piece of land in any corner of the world and they are always ready to fight like Kilkenny cats for their rights. Strictly speaking, it is the demand of time that the region should be given a concrete identity of its own.
A country which is under the perennial effects of economic degradation, inflation, energy crisis and terrorism like Pakistan is in dire need of a savior to get rid of all these problems. In this time of need, CPEC is the only ray of hope for Pakistan to transform its dreams into reality. The importance of this gigantic projected can be gauged after observing the interests of the Peoples Republic of China in the project. It gives an outlet to China for getting its products to the Middle East and onward to the rest of the world through a land route culminating at the Gwadar Port, which is already being managed by a Chinese company. China already has an access to alternate land routes through the Eurasian Land Bridge, also called the New Silk Road, and the Trans-Siberian Railway called the Northern East-West Corridor. Furthermore, China has some strategic interest in the region which can be only fulfilled after a successful CPEC. Likewise, Iran, too, is linked through railway to this communication network. However, the proposed route provides an economical road link, which allows time to be saved in the transportation of goods by providing a direct shorter road thereby ensuring significant economic advantage.
The importance of CPEC for the whole region in general and for Pakistan in particular cannot be summed up in a small article like this. Due to the paranoid politics and myopic policies of our policymakers, the people of GB fear that the fruit of this massive development economic corridor will be nothing beyond ribbon development on the existing Karakoram Highway (KKH), which will be the arterial transportation road. Nowadays, the corridor has become the centre of political debates inside and outside Pakistan which shows the sensitivity of the mega project particularly in GB where people have started to use it as a tool to achieve their constitutional demands. If the grievances and demands of the people will not be given importance, it will generate controversies, feelings of deprivation and neglect among the people who will surely cause the collapse of this spectacular opportunity to make Pakistan prosperous. In a nutshell, the success of CPEC depends on the goodwill of the people of GB through which this corridor passes and also certainty of the traffic flow without any disruption.
Concluding it all, in order to get rid of all perennial problems, Pakistan has to ensure the successful completion of Economic Corridor which in turn can be ensured after meeting the constitutional demands of the people. The people of the region ask the question that if K-2, Nanga Perbat and Rakaposhi belongs to Pakistan which are located in Gilgit Baltistan, if Lalik Jan can receive the Nishan-e-Haider after sacrificing his life for Pakistan and if Samina Baig can be the first Pakistani woman to surmount the Mount Everest then, why the land of Gilgit Baltistan cannot be a part of the constitutional premises of Pakistan. These questions of the people need to be understood in all their bearings otherwise, the foreign elements will play their role to destabilize the region as they have become successful in Baluchistan and FATA. In these crucial times, the local government can play a very important role provided that it should act honestly and sincerely in accordance with the demands of the people. There is no blinking the fact that the feelings of despondency and depravity in the region have led the region towards turmoil and chaos. Instead of killing this goose that lays the golden eggs, the government should pay heed towards its constitutional identity and recognition. Instead of utilizing the delaying tactics, the stakeholders should act in a jiffy to soothe the people by accepting their demands in real terms which is the only way towards a prosperous and united Pakistan which is the dream of all and sundry living in every nook and corner of the pure land. The people of GB will left no stone unturned to make Pakistan the land of pure people if their demands are fulfilled and their opinions are given respect.
The contributor is a “CSS aspirant” based in Lahore. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org