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27-Year Old Italian Alpinist Leonardo Comelli Dies While Skiing at Laila Peak

On 9 June 2016, Leonardo Comelli lost his life while attempting the first ever ski decent from Laila Peak in the lap of Karakoram mountains in Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan. He was accompanied by expedition members Carlo Cosi, Zeno Cecon and Enrico Mosetti who had reached to Pakistan in late May to accomplish an achievement only experienced adventures seekers could attempt.

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Leonardo Comelli death

When Leonardo Comelli, a 27-year old Italian alpinist, left for Pakistan to accomplish a dream that no one has succeeded in achieving so far, he had a clear idea of what he was getting into. Some extreme adventures come at a cost. At times, that cost is of life itself but adventure seekers like Leonardo Comelli would rather risk it all to make their dreams come true.

On 9 June 2016, Leonardo Comelli lost his life while attempting the first ever ski descent from Laila Peak in the lap of Karakoram mountains in Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan. He was accompanied by expedition members Carlo Cosi, Zeno Cecon and Enrico Mosetti who had reached to Pakistan in late May to accomplish an achievement only experienced adventures seekers could attempt.

Laila Peak 6,096 metres

Laila Peak (6,096 meters)

Confirming the news, Karrar Haideri, spokesman of the Alpine Club of Pakistan has told AFP.“Leonardo Comelli, 27, an Italian alpinist lost his life on Thursday while making a ski descent from the 6,096-metres high Laila Peak,”

“The four members of this small but experienced Italian expedition reached Pakistan’s Karakoram range in late May in order to attempt the first ski descent of the NW Face of Laila Peak, a stunning 1500m ramp previously attempted, unsuccessfully, by other expeditions. After setting up their advanced base camp at 5350m the four made their push towards the 6096m high summit, but turned back circa 150m below the top as snow conditions at altitude weren’t ideal.” reported PlanetMountain.

Telling more about the incident they added:

“According to preliminary reports, during a traverse Comelli crossed his skis, lost his balance and fell circa 400m down steep mixed terrain. The other members of the expedition could do nothing more than retrieve the body, transport it to a safer place and raise the alarm.

Before leaving for Gilgit-Baltistan, Leonardo Comelli had made a post on his Instagram account that says “See you in a month”.

 

Ciao a tutti, ci vediamo fra un mese. #inshallah #caviastyle 😂😂😂😂😂

A photo posted by Leo_com (@romboss) on May 25, 2016 at 3:27am PDT

Laila Peak (6,096 meters) is situated in Hushe Valley near Gondogoro Glacier in the Karakoram range. It’s considered one of the toughest mountains to decent while skiing. This was the first ever such attempt that proved out to be fatal for one of the expedition members.

Leonardo Comelli

Leonardo Comelli

Leonardo Comelli had started rock climbing at the age of 16. Later, he became fond of mountaineering and eventually, he moved to steep mountain skiing and ice climbing.

Astore

Young Soldier from Gilgit-Baltistan Embraces Martyrdom at Siachen

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Lieutenant Azhar Abbas from Astore district of Gilgit-Baltistan has embraced martyrdom in Siachin

A Pakistan Army soldier recognized as Lieutenant Azhar Abbas from Astore district of Gilgit-Baltistan has embraced martyrdom in Siachin at around 2:00 PM on Thursday.

Lieutenant Azhar Abbas was son of former SSP Yousuf Ali.

He was inducted into Pakistan Army through The Pakistan Military Academy’s PMA 135 Long Course (135 L/C) and was deployed at the World Highest Battlefield of Siachen.

Friends, family and social media users have been showing their grief after the news of his martyrdom was posted on Facebook.

According to some sources, Lt. Azhar Abbas passed away due to high altitude sickness. His body could not yet be sent to Astore due to bad weather.

There has been no word from ISPR so far about the martyrdom of
 Lieutenant Azhar Abbas .

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Kashmiris and The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Justice Retired Muzaffar Ali

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Kashmiris and The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

“The Universal Declaration of Human Rights” remains as relevant today as it was on the day in 1948, when it was proclaimed and adopted by the United Nations’ general assembly. A document that, for the first time, articulated the rights and the freedom for which every human being is equally and inalienably entitled. Its global nature is a yardstick by which we measure right and wrong.

The members of the United Nations are signatories to this document, which has an extraordinary vision to safeguard all human beings in this universe from discriminatory treatment by the states or otherwise. Either kingdoms or democracies but unfortunately, despite having such a golden document, there are dire illustrations that, even in most of the member states of united nations, the human beings are being subjugated to, against their will and wishes by the states but UNO discriminatorily ignores rather strengthens such violations of mighty states against the oppressed people within their domination. Kashmir and Palestine are the chronic and popular instances in this regard.

Kashmir is under the forceful occupation of India since 1947 but people in occupied Kashmir never ever surrendered to the atrocities of Indian governments from day 1 of their occupation. The Indian government, once in history, scared and could not control the struggle of people of Kashmir and to rescue herself went to UN, seeking its help in resolving the issue. The UN passed various resolutions, calling for holding a plebiscite in the state. The resolutions were accepted by India.

Prominent leaders of India also repeatedly promised to hold a plebiscite. However, they resiled from their promises with the passage of time, strengthening India’s control through atrocities extended by the Indian army, imposing black laws and their implementation. At this juncture, I really emotionally want to appreciate the tolerance and persistent struggle of Kashmiris in held Kashmir. They really do not bow their heads; India failed to overcome the indigenous struggle and protest of Kashmiris against the pandemonium and forceful occupation of their motherland. They are sacrificing their lives; they are standing in front of Indian army to face their bullet.

Kashmiris always launch their protest and invite the attention of international community, particularly, those powers who are signatories to UDHR, to take notice of violations and cruelties extended by the Indian army against the armless Kashmiris. The stunning, international community, UNO and international powerful states have forgotten the golden document of the universal declaration of human rights and have turned deaf and dumb towards severe human issues in occupied Kashmir, but the Kashmiris never abandoned and their struggle is in progress day by day.

They didn’t lose their hearts that is why they have fixed 5th February a day of their solidarity all over the world to jolt the international community’s conscience to rise against Indian atrocities.

Worth mentioning here that, the Kashmir issue is not only the oldest issue on the agenda of United Nations but is also an unfinished agenda of the partition of the subcontinent. As per the partition plan, it was up to the will of the population of princely states to preferably join either India or Pakistan but in case of Kashmir, Indian army, in violation of agenda, intruded into Kashmir against the will of Kashmiris therefore, they stood up against Indian army, took up arms, liberated some areas of the state and established an “Azad government of Jammu and Kashmir”.

The Azad government has its interim constitution and enjoys a system of their own, joining the struggle for the liberation of their motherland remaining in forceful occupation of India joining hand with the indigenous struggle of people in occupied Kashmir through peaceful struggle and agitations for awakening the conscience of international community.

Gilgit-Baltistan, a region surrounded by lofty mountains, having big deposits of glaciers, bonded to China from one side touching middle south states crossing a small strip of Afghanistan, adjacent with occupied Kashmir from another side. The region remained aloof from the outside world, having its own small states headed by local chieftains up to the last decade of the 18th century. The region was invaded by Maharaja Forces.

There were 2 or 3 mighty wars between local forces and Maharaja Troops but lastly, the year 1 st November 1948. It was the time of partition of United India; the people took arms, liberated their motherland from the occupation of Maharaja government with the zeal to merge the region with Pakistan and acceded to newly born state. Pakistan took the sovereign authority of the region but attached the area with Kashmir issue as per prevailing situation of that time.

The overwhelming native population living there in Gilgit-Baltistan is not Kashmiri by caste. Despite, the region is 3 rd part of Kashmir issue as such the people therein are deprived of their constitutional status in Pakistan since their independence while the people of Gilgit-Baltistan are emotionally Pakistanis and persistently demand their constitutional status. The educated youth of the region is deeply frustrated
about their fundamental rights. The government needs to solve this issue too.

However, the people of Gilgit-Baltistan are with the people of held Kashmir from the core of their heart. They support Kashmiri struggle for their liberation from Indian occupation, even, in this regard the people of Gilgit-Baltistan have sacrificed their lives all wars dragged Pakistan by India,
particularly, their sacrifices in Kargil war and Siachin aggression by India are unforgettable and part of history.

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Ups and Downs of Supreme Court’s Decision about Gilgit-Baltistan

Justice Retired Muzaffar Ali

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Supreme Court's Decision about Gilgit-Baltistan

The Supreme Court of Pakistan’s judgment about the constitutional rights of Gilgit-Baltistan was enthusiastically awaited by its people, the Federal Government, the people of Azad Kashmir and even the people of Jammu & Kashmir. Obviously, the people of Gilgit-Baltistan were considering the Supreme Court of Pakistan as their last hope to determine their constitutional status which was pending for more than seven decades on the pretext of Kashmir issue. The judgment by the Supreme Court of Pakistan finally came on 17th January 2009 which is now publicly available.

The people of Gilgit-Baltistan, since their independence, are ruled by the Federal Government either by imposing Frontier Crimes Regulation – FCR or through “administrative orders”. Persistent denial of granting fundamental rights and constitutional status to the people of Gilgit-Baltistan, in fact, tantamounts to denial of aspirations of people towards Pakistan. The prejudicial attitude of Federal governments compelled people to invoke the constitutional jurisdiction of Supreme Court as last resort to address their basic grievances.

Eventually, they knocked the doors of Supreme Court and the Supreme Court, for the first time, delivered a judgment in this regard in the year 1999. Whereby, the august Supreme Court recognized the fundamental rights of GB as citizens of Pakistan and directed the federation to initiate appropriate administrative/legislative measures, even federation was directed to make necessary constitutional enactments.

Eventually, they knocked the doors of Supreme Court and the Supreme Court, for the first time, delivered a judgment in this regard in the year 1999. Whereby, the august Supreme Court recognized the fundamental rights of GB as citizens of Pakistan and directed the federation to initiate appropriate administrative/legislative measures, even federation was directed to make necessary constitutional enactments.

Also on GBee: Watch Justice (R) Muzaffar Ali’s take on Supreme of Court Pakistan’s verdict on the Constitutional Rights of Gilgit-Baltistan

The Federal Government ignored the above cited judgment and continued “administrative orders” time and again. This worse situation was enough to awake Gbians to protest against. People raised strong protest resultantly, Nawaz government constituted a facts finding committee headed by Mr. Sartaj Aziz, the former foreign minister, to submit its recommendations about constitutional status of GB. The recommendations were submitted to the government but all in vein. The government instead again framed an executive order called The Government of Gilgit Baltistan Order 2018. The people lodged a strong protest against but it was imposed anyway.

When Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf established Federal Government after the General Elections of 2018, the hopes of the people of Gilgit Baltistan were extended with an express impression, to table the point of “provisional provincial status” before the cabinet meeting in pursuance of recommendations made by Sartaj Aziz Committee.

The point was tabled twice before the cabinet meeting but turned down. Khan’s cabinet apparently surrendered before an effective protest launched by the AJK leaders and to cover this U-turn, the government introduced a new “Executive Order”. The Supreme Court attached the new order with the instant judgment calling it as “Proposed Order”.

Read: Interview with Afzal Shigri – Why do the people of Gilgit-Baltistan oppose GB Order 2018?

The “Proposed Order” attached with the instant judgment seems far better than that of previous orders, for its salient features i.e. (a) its preamble speaks about intention of federal government to make GB a “provisional province” till pending disposal of Kashmir issue. (b) It admits the new “order” to be a temporary arrangement till the time constitutional amendments are sought. Despite of above narrated good features in the order, it is again an executive one having discriminatory provisions contradictory to full fundamental rights which can be provided to the people of Gigit Baltistan under the constitution.

The petitioners almost in all petitions have assailed the vires of executive orders including the “Proposed Order” attached with judgment, with the plea that, the executive authorities including the president having no sanction of constitution to frame such orders as no article including article 157 of the constitution empowers them to frame and approve such orders in respect of Gilgit-Baltistan.

The bench while framing questions for their answer in the judgment, totally ignored this crucial issue to frame and to answer. Instead, the honorable bench went to rationalize the “Proposed Order” without going into its vires and constitutional sanction behind it. In my opinion, the honorable bench has exercised dictum of necessity once again to meet the prevailing situation rather go into the issue of vires of the order under articles of the constitution.  The honorable bench provided its auspices to it and bestowed with judicial imprimatur and permanence. The verdict in favor of “Proposed Order” would encourage the executive authorities to resile from their promise to bring a bill before the parliament in respect of a provisional province for Gilgit-Baltistan.

The advantageous aspect of the instant verdict is that, the Supreme Court categorically rejected the propaganda raised by the AJK political leadership holding that, quoted; “that is why we hold that the committee’s recommendations relating to the provision and enforcement of fundamental rights provided by the constitution must be implemented immediately and with full force and effect. As a matter of law as well as morality”. Unquoted, the supreme court is in full agreement with the recommendations made by the Sartaj Aziz committee and it transpires from the judgment, while reading paras 21, 22 and 23 that, a status of provisional province of GB pending disposal of the Kashmir issue is not fatal and injurious to the Kashmir issue, even after introducing amendments into the constitution.

Last but not least, the Supreme Court of Pakistan’s verdict has thrown the ball into the court of leadership in Gilgit-Baltistan who belong to national parties i.e. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf, Pakistan Peoples Party and Pakistan Muslim League. It is of their task, how they play their influence before their central leadership to motivate them to table a bill before the parliament and to seek amendments in the constitution to award a provisional provincial status to Gilgit-Baltistan.  

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