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So Surprising, Really?

Haider Buluk

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Haider Ali Buluk - GBee Blogger

The very recent victory of Shah Salim Khan in Hunza by-election has obviously been a pleasant non-surprise for his supporters. There also is also a big section of Hunzokutz (people of Hunza) who are very disappointed by the result and some of them have described it as a tragic irony for the supposed largely literate chunk of Hunzokutz. Social media is full of such posts and they are most sincere reactions. However, there is a misunderstanding at the basis of it that takes literacy for enlightenment.

In a typically colonial statement, Major Brown of Gilgit Scouts once described the people of Gilgit-Baltistan as great warriors, more so, because of their lack of political awareness. One has to wonder whether that was true then and more importantly, if it continues to be true today.

Much more surprising then the Mir’s son being elected is the reaction of those who opposed him. They seem not to see the simple patterns going on the political scene of Hunza for more than 3 decades. That the Mir has been elected into power seven times before. The populace wasn’t totally illiterate whenever they did so. Admittedly, Nazir Sabir and Wazir Baig have served as a change once in a while. Yet, they came into power, only when it was PPP holding power in the Federal Government. You could hear people say that it is better to support the government’s candidate to ensure maximum cooperation and benefits from the center. I think this notion came along with the idea of linear liberal development narrative that still rules the minds of our leaders and has caused a lot of cultural damage. These values of compromise and obsolete libertarianism have taken deep roots in our cultures. The people of Hunza seem to have this linear view which needs to change or else they should stop looking so surprised.

GB was composed of a number of small kingdoms for centuries, before becoming a part of Pakistan. So, the introduction of modern political system must have been confusing or unintelligible to most people. Moreover, during the colonial period, the power structure was disrupted and a sort of vacuum came over. Familiarity with modern political methods and awareness of the system might have been more quickly attained if the democratic institutions of the state reached the region. However, both geographically and politically Gilgit-Baltistan stayed remote and isolated.

For over 65 years, Gilgit-Baltistan has remained a disputed territory lacking any say in political processes in the form of what we call a constitutional limbo. After unconditional hand-over of the then Gilgit Agency to Pakistan, the region did not get anything back. Not even as little as representation or basic human rights protection. The country has been benefiting a lot from this region’s strategic geographical location and the sacrifices of its people. But then, the list of suppressive acts by the Pakistani government and the numerous sufferings of the people of GB could go on a lot further. What matters most is how Gilgitis now react. What kind of ideas do they generate? Ideas of complacency or of taking a stand?

So, for those who voice their opinion on social media and at-least think about their issues, good going! The answer to the individuals, who are surprised at the result of the election in relation to the state of literacy in Hunza, is that there is no real correlation between literacy and political awareness. More important than literacy or education are the level of involvement and political awareness. Cognitive mobilization of a person towards political action and decision-making depends more heavily upon political experience than education. Therefore, our friends who keep complaining around on social media have taken the first step, but they need to go on and take part in the real world as well. It is now imperative for our youth to start organizing themselves politically and get more involved.

When it comes down to making real choices about rulers and taking real actions, there might be a variety of different ways at hand. The people of Hunza are not familiar with such methods. Apart from that, collective political action also requires a shared ideology and again the people are not really familiar with developing narratives. So, whatever the ends one might desire, improvement through the power of the people can only be achieved if political involvement and interaction becomes integral to social life.

Haider Ali is studying Sociology at F.C. College, Lahore. He is from Hunza Valley and is interested in studying and sharing his views about the affairs of Gilgit-Baltistan.

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Modi’s domineering bully scattered

Justice Retired Muzaffar Ali

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India, a regional power with a population of 1.3 billion, has always been an ambitious colossal poverty-stricken territory trying to dominate over smaller sovereign countries that share a boundary with the country. It has always wanted to be the godfather of the region and even violated settled formula agreed upon for partition of the subcontinent and occupied Jammu and Kashmir, against the will of majority Muslim population.

Muslims in the Indian Occupied Kashmir launched a Jihad since the day one of Indian aggression. Jawaharlal Nehru turned the early failures on India in Kashmir into a diplomatic play card and invoked UN interference with the following policy statement before the UN Security Council on 15 January 1948.

“Only to see peace restored in Kashmir and to ensure that the people of Kashmir are left free to decide in an orderly and peaceful manner the future of their State. We have no further interest, and we have agreed that a plebiscite in Kashmir might take place under international auspices after peace and order have been established.”

India, in fact, played a dirty trick even before UNO just to ease jihad in Kashmir and to gain time to strengthen her occupation over Kashmir and succeeded, because of the dubious character of permanent members of security council despite, India slapped them by denial of resolutions passed by the UN Security Council. The resolutions are consigned to rubbish heap in UNO.

India deceived UNO but failed to remove zeal of kashmiris till today to liberate their motherland. Kashmiris turned their struggle into protest to jolt international conscience, at least to play their role to force India to act upon UN resolutions.

Unfortunately, India facing no such force from outside world, as such
strengthening her forces in Kashmir, extending black laws. Indian army has been given free hand to curb peaceful protest of people. Atrocities of the Indian army are the order of the day in Kashmir instead of complying her pledge of the Kashmir plebiscite.

Pulwama: an unfortunate suicidal attack on Indian army happened in preceding month. One local desperate young man, who was subjugated to torture by Indian army in past, detonated himself to army vehicles, caused casualties. Modi did not waste even a moment to gather proofs but intoxicatingly blamed Pakistan and warned dire consequences, gave free hand to his army to retaliate.

In response, Imran Khan, the Prime Minister of Pakistan, showed a statesman spirit, offered India peace to prevail and asked to provide proofs of Modi’s blame to take action against any terrorist conspired by any nonstate actor in Pakistan. Khan cleared his policy against terrorism but at the same time, he voiced loudly to retaliate any armed adventure against Pakistan. On the next day, DG ISPR made a press conference.

He also reacted but in a sober manner as a supporter of peace, rebutted any involvement of Pakistan. Categorically, offered dialogue with India and also warned a surprising response if India launched any sort of military attack across.

Modi listened, peace offer and also any armed adventure from Pakistan side, with half an ear. Missed a chance of complete peace as he went into a frenzy of rage. He, in fact, wanted to turn the situation in his favor for coming elections by creating a war like situation with Pakistan. Indian army was also eager to show its unchallengeable force, therefore, Indian army also chose war instead of peace and army dashed an air attack crossing the international border.

Their aircrafts dropped payloads in a thick forest and ran in dark of night. The response by Pakistan was a nightmare for India. The brave air force of Pakistan not only achieved their targets inside India but also, bombed down two Indian aircrafts; one in Pakistan side and another in Indian side.

Arrested Indian pilot ejected from crashing aircraft after saving his life from angered mob of civilian gathered on the spot. The retaliation from Pakistan was a surprise for Modi and Indian army. They are still taken aback and have failed to come out of aftershock of the attack yet. Modi’s
fool’s paradise turned into doom his future.

Indian army also could not digest the adverse effects sustained in front of the world at large. World opinion turned against Modi’s policy of bringing the region and the world endanger of atomic war. While Mr. Khan appeared in the canvas of world as peace loving statesman, particularly, his act of releasing Indian arrested pilot without terms and conditions, proved him a sober statesman and friend of humanity.

Pakistan army also proved to be a professional army in the true sense as even being a fully capable army to response Indian threads, it, again and again, offered India to prevail peace in the region. Modi’s warmongering attitude again made Kashmir issue flashpoint before the international community, which has been forgotten by superpowers.

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Crown on the Head of Pakistan

Justice Retired Muzaffar Ali

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Force Commander FCNA Major General Ehsan Mehmood

Recently, Force Commander FCNA Major General Ehsan Mehmood addressed a public gathering in Skardu on the eve of solidarity with people of Occupied Kashmir, illustrated Gilgit-Baltistan as “Head of Pakistan”, and hailed the people living therein with the title “Crown on the Head” of Pakistan.

The signification of the people of Gilgit-Baltistan with the words that, none other anywhere in Pakistan, is more loyal and patriotic to Pakistan than that of the people of Gilgit-Baltistan. He uttered these words with a commanding and responsible impression on his face. I borrowed the words of the general for the title of this article.

Indeed, the golden words vocalized from the mouth of the Force Commander Federal Constabulary Northern Areas are recognition and admiration of the people of Gilgit-Baltistan by Pakistan Army, of their allegiance to Pakistan. The able military general, from the day first of his
posting, has shown his love and affection to the people of Gilgit-Baltistan.

He is known to be in reach, to help and to meet grievances of needy people, when, and where his help is requested. The instant example I read in social media and in newspapers, seems great to help a convicted person Baba Jan who is suffering from heart disease in jail. The person was met and shifted CMH Gilgit for his treatment properly on the orders of the Force Commander FCNA himself.

The commander hugs underprivileged and poor in the streets and gives them a sense of protection. The general, in fact, act on the principle that, no army, how much strong it may be, cannot defeat the enemy unless the civil population joins in hand with the army. The positive attitude extended by the force commander is exemplary to other high ups serving in Gilgit-Baltistan. They should also behave alike and avoid a colonial mentality.

Irrebuttable, the other aspect of positive behavior of this man shines and transpires his clear concept of understanding the geopolitical importance of the region. Geopolitical location of the region makes it a gateway to the regional powers, having approaches with each other.

Gilgit-Baltistan is bounded with China, Occupied Kashmir and Afghanistan. A little strip of Pamir prevents to bound this region to south Asian states. Geopolitical importance of the region remains as important today as it was important for the British Government in India because of USSR. The Russian government might penetrate into British India through this region with the intention to spread communist ideology at that time.

Today the superpowers like the USA are worried about China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) between China and Pakistan. The burning of the Indian government and her cries are witnessed from media.

Besides all the above geopolitical importance, if the only issue of water shortage is discussed then too this region having not any less importance for Pakistan. The experts have given their opinion on the subjects that; Pakistan fastly travels towards dryness in the country. Prime minister of
Pakistan also has warned the nation in this regard. Pakistan has the only region, to which nature has bestowed with abundant water reservoirs. Lofty snow clad mountains and huge range glaciers therein are the only hope for Pakistan to meet the severe situation of a shortfall of water in future.

This region is called Gilgit-Baltistan which has been kept disputed by relating the same to Kashmir issue. The present status of GB needs to be reconsidered by the responsible quarters and think tanks in Pakistan, even if, they could not traverse from their previous stance, then; they should realize the ambition of people of Gilgit Baltistan as their fed up to the teeth with the present colonial setup. people of Gilgit-Baltistan want a constitutional status in Pakistan. At least, add power to the status
to occupied Kashmir by enemy country India or the status given to Azad Jammu and Kashmir by Pakistan.

The recent verdict given by the Supreme Court of Pakistan can be cited in this regard wherein a safe way out has been directed to follow the recommendations given by the Sartaj Aziz Committee. The federation can
make a provisional province of Gilgit-Baltistan pending disposal of Kashmir issue by amending the constitution as the Supreme Court has categorically held in his verdict that, a provisional province pending disposal of the Kashmir issue is not fatal to the Kashmir issue.

Before departing, I invite the attention of the commander FCNA and 10 core commander to use their good offices to convince federation of Pakistan and the opposition to solve this problem of Gilgit-Baltistan which is in fact the Pakistan’s own problem if deeply understood the issue, keeping in view the importance of the region in present scenario stated above.

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