By: Ali (Islamabad)
In a communiqué by Nazir Sabir, the world renown mountaineer and once elected representative of Northern Areas Assembly (NALA) from 1998 to 2001, who made history by first ever defeating the Mir of Hunza in the election and ending the continuity of Ayashkuch, 900 years long rule over the state of Hunza said that, “While we rejoice our identity back, and only a tiny part of the well deserved political rights along with rest of the people of Gilgit – Baltisatn, yet again the people of Hunza, Ghizar and Shigar remain deprived of additional constituencies [...] so, We [people of Hunza, Ghizar and Shigar] strongly demand our right to two seats in the provincial assembly before the elections”.
The demand for two seats in the legislative assembly of Gilgit-Baltistan is a long standing demand which is lingering since last three elections and the authorities in Islamabad stonewalled against this highly justifiable demand is now touching its limits. If people in Hunza, Ghizer and Shigar boycott the elections it would be a high level challenge for the Government in Islamabad and it would further the causes of many opposing factors to Islamabad.
[News] Innocent students of G-B, beaten-up by workers of PSF at Govt Degree College Satellite Town, Rawalpindi.
By: Comerade Hyder Abbas (Gilgit)
Two innocent students of G-B were threatened and badly beaten-up by some ill-minded political workers of PSF here in Govt Degree College Satellite Town Rawalpindi. Students Masroor Ahmad and Maqsood Ahmad went to Degree College to submit the admission fee of Maqsood, the younger one and the applicant for the college. While they were sitting in the queue waiting for their turn to come, some students came to them and asked, ”Where from you”, the victims politely told them that they belong to Gilgit, as they offered these words one of them snatched the mobile from Maqsood’s hands and went towards Masroor and did the same, later they threatened them to leave the college as they have an old enmity with people of Gilgit.
when both students showed some resistance and asked for their mobiles and other stuff, including the amount of their fee, i-e, Rs. 20,000, the offenders of PSF, including the president Degree College Mawa, suddenly started to beat them, more then 30 boys took part in the play and at last when both the students went on senseless due to some severe hits on their head by a bricks, the culprits left them and ran away. The victims got some deep wounds and had blood vomiting. Both the students then managed to reach their flats where many students belonging to different parts of G-B gathered and condemned this act of cowardice and asked the Govt to take severe steps against those who’re involved in this shameful act. President of BNSO Rwp-Isb division, Zakir Hussain said, there are a lot of students belonging from other cities of Pakistan are studying in Gilgit, but we never showed this kind of behavior towards them, rather we pay them respect for being our guests. The high party profiles of PPP should take some serious steps to avoid these kind of events, which could harm the interests of people of G-B and PPP, as this is not the first case of humiliating the students and citizens of G-B.
The Gilgit-Baltistan Empowerment and Self Governance Order, 2009 approved by the federal cabinet on Saturday has received mixed initial reactions. At least one change has been universally applauded though: renaming the Northern Areas Gilgit-Baltistan has met a long-standing demand of the people of the area who chafed under an appellation that was simply the geographical expression of the area’s position vis-à-vis Jammu and Kashmir, i.e. the ‘northern areas’ of Jammu and Kashmir. But while the federal government and its allies have trumpeted the other changes to the administrative structure of Gilgit-Baltistan, the people of the area have been less than impressed.
What are we to make of the changes then? In fairness, the government deserves some credit for taking the step of recognising that there is such a thing as Gilgit-Baltistan and moving to redress at least some of the local grievances against the system of governance and the delivery of justice.Yet, we are also sympathetic to the local claim that they are denied any clear constitutional status and the rights that would flow from it and the fact that the absence of a high court in Gilgit-Baltistan means the locals have to go to Islamabad to seek justice.
The problem though has to be seen in the international context because of the Kashmir issue. Historically, Gilgit-Baltistan was not merged into Pakistan proper because the fear was that it could undermine our claim on Kashmir and it was not merged into AJK because it could complicate a settlement on the area. If, for example, Gilgit-Baltistan is made a full-fledged province within the constitutional framework of Pakistan, India could perhaps argue that the state it has carved out of the disputed area, Indian-held Jammu and Kashmir, is also a legitimate entity and that it is a settled issue.
This, then, is the government’s dilemma; acting on the desire to see to it that all the people who live in Pakistan have the same constitutional rights versus potentially further complicating an already intractable problem like the Kashmir issue. What the government appears to have done is to try and occupy the middle ground by moving towards replicating the AJK template of governance in Gilgit-Baltistan.
It is certainly not ideal — there are real questions about whether the federally dominated council will overshadow the locally elected assembly — but it at least opens the door to further changes down the road once the new system is operational. The people of Gilgit-Baltistan deserve all their rights; however, realistically, that goal can only be achieved incrementally. Source
Prime Minister’s Secretariat
HIGHLIGTS OF PRIME MINISTER’S PRESS TALK ON “GILGIT-BALTISTAN EMPOWERMENT AND SELF GOVERNANCE ORDER -2009” AT PM’S SECRETARIAT ON AUGUST 29, 2009.
- I constituted a high powered Committee under the chairmanship of Minister for KANA to prepare a reforms package for the purpose.
- Here, I would like to mention that all major improvements were made during the period of PPP. The first noticeable administrative improvement came through the Northern Areas Council Legal Framework Order 1974-75 by Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, wherein major administrative, judicial and political reforms were introduced and Jagirdari Nazam and FCR were abolished.
- Further democratization was done through the Northern Areas Legal Framework Order, 1994 by Shaheed Mohtrama Benazir Bhutto so as to ensure more internal autonomy to the people of Northern Areas through their elected representatives.
- Now the KANA Division has prepared a draft “ GILGIT-BALTISTAN (Empowerment and Self-Governance) Order 2009.
- The draft was discussed with all the stake holders and their views were accordingly incorporated.
- Informal discussions were also held with members of the Northern Areas Legislative Assembly and leaders of public opinion of the area.
- I also took the leadership of the major political parties into confidence.
- The Gilgit-Baltistan Assembly will formulate its own Rules of Procedures while legislation on various subjects pertinent to governance will be done by the Council and Assembly in their respective jurisdiction.
- Special meeting of the Cabinet was convened today to discuss the New Northern Areas Governance Order named “Gilgit-Baltistan Empowerment and Self Governance Order -2009”.
- This will replace Northern Areas Governance Order, 1994.
- The new name of Northern Areas of Pakistan shall be Gilgit-Baltistan as proposed under Article-2(f).
- There shall be a Governor of Gilgit-Baltistan as proposed under Article-20. and shall be appointed by the President of Pakistan.
- Till the election of the new legislative Assembly, Federal Minister for KANA will act as Governor.
- There will be a Chief Minister of Gilgit-Baltistan who shall be elected by the Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly.
- The Chief Minister shall be assisted by six Ministers.
- There shall be a provision of two advisors to the Chief Minister.
- There shall be Legislative assembly having directly elected 24 members. In addition there shall be six women and three technocrats’ seats.
- Today’s decision will empower the Gilgit-Baltistan Council and Assembly to make laws. The subject under which the Assembly shall now have power to make law has increased from 49 to 61 while the Council shall have 55 subjects.
- In order to empower the Council and the Assembly on financial matters, there shall be a Council Consolidated Fund under article 54, and Gilgit-Baltistan Consolidated Fund under article 55.
- Regarding annual budget, a detailed item-wise budget shall be presented before the Gilgit-Baltistan Assembly as it is being practiced in Pakistan and shall be accordingly voted upon as suggested in article 56.
- The Chief Judge of Supreme Appellate Court shall be appointed by the Chairman of the Council on the Advice of the Governor and other Judges shall be appointed by the Chairman on the Advice of Governor after seeking views of the Chief Judge.
- The Chief Judge and Judges of the Chief Court shall be appointed by the Chairman of the Council on the advice of the Governor on the same pattern as it is being practiced in AJ&K.
- Auditor General Gilgit-Baltistan to be appointed by the Governor on the advice of Council as the case in AJ&K.
- There shall be a Chief Election Commissioner under article-82 as well as Auditor General besides emergency provisions under article-83 & 87 respectively.
Comrade Hyder Abbas
A great civilization is not destroyed “Without” until it has destroyed itself “Within”
There is no one in Gilgit who does not condemn the brutal acts of killing innocent people including fathers whose kids’ loss their only source of a dignified living in the world and those beautiful kids are forced to have lives of orphans and their kind mothers as widows. Nothing could be more brutal than killing a human being. Whenever I meet people in Gilgit they just curse those terrorists, who are deteriorating our homeland by creating a heinous environment around Gilgit. Everyone wants those terrorists to be hanged in the Chowk, but no on is ready to help security agencies. An important question arises here, if everyone wants peace, if no one is happy of being trapped in his/her home, if all the people like to live with harmony, if you want peace, if I refuse to spread violence, then who is behind all this, who is the culprit? Where does it come from? Where does it go? Well, my dear brothers and sisters that terrorist is nowhere but inside our own body, it’s me, you and all of us. This is our dilemma; we just put the whole blame on the shoulders of an unknown creature, which has nothing to do with it. We the Gilgities always like to blame agencies, tell me, and how can a person who works for an intelligence agency can reach up to our doorsteps and opens fire on us? Definitely a black sheep among us who is cowardice, greedy and brutal could only do these bloody acts of killing innocent people.
We the Baloristanis are still sleeping, we are not capable of thinking on all the aspects of any incident which takes place in Gilgit, we just can’t imagine how important it is to stay alert and fully prepared for any challenge that could come in our way in this dynamic and unpredictable world. If we continue to act carelessly and deal with challenges half heartedly which are emerging in our homeland, soon we are going to be wiped out of the map of the world and will be walking in the Kachi-Abadis of Islamabad, carrying our luggage on our shoulders. Because our alacrity towards devastation is far faster than the nations who are no more on the map of the world, as they’re destroyed by their own hands. It’s not just a battle we’re fighting; we are digging graves for our coming generations. They are going to loath words of curse on us, and there will be no salvation in the world after here, especially for the people like us. It’s very necessary to understand, that future of Gilgit-Baltistan depends a lot on our efforts and struggle for our nation. Our little deeds of negligence are going to cost very high for our up-coming generation, so are we going to think over it?
In my opinion, the responsibility is now on the shoulders of our well aware youth, especially the students enrolled in different institutions of Gilgit-Baltistan. Unfortunately due to the non serious behaviour of the dummy politicians of Gilgit-Baltistan, our youth has to indulge themselves in politics and other social matters. With the grace of Allah almighty, Gilgit-Baltistan’s youth are gifted with patriotism, virtuous nature, sincerity, loyalty, courage and unity and strength. No matter, what a person roaming on the streets of Gilgit is thinking, it’s students whose thinking matters a lot. Some nationalist organizations are performing a holly task of promoting peace and harmony amongst the students belonging to various cultural and religious groups. One of the their’s recent achievements is to avert a possible bloodshed over the issue of recent wall chalking in Degree College Jutial, this was a nationalist organization which came in between two rival groups and solved the issue peacefully, all the students regardless of their division, unanimously denied the damn act of cowardice, and termed those elements as the enemies of our motherland, who perform such acts. If a nationalist organization was not there! What would have had happened in Degree College Jutial!! Same is the case of Karakoram International University, where now there is no chance of any type of religious brawl, as it was happening every now and then in the past.
There are some forces who always wanted to spread hatred and revulsion amongst our youth, and want to break us into various devilish groups by promoting and supporting conflicting ideology among the youth. Nationalist organizations are struggling to organize Gilgit-Baltistan’s youth under one platform where they could have opportunities to know each other and learn how to recognize the combined enemy, and how to beat him by the weapon of knowledge and education. It’s my heartiest wish that everyone from our lands should join nationalists to gain a cause, to show the rest of the world that we are not sleeping, to tell them about our civilization. We people of Gilgit-Baltistan are a nation, we are like a family, we don’t fight for money, we know how to protect our lands, the legal proof of our being a modern nation state is well described in the copies of UNO’s charter for India-Pakistan 1948, we know SSR is still there, and we’ll not sit with comfort unless and until we change this cruel system and forced occupation. We we’ll no longer be the last colony of the world. These people who try to maintain colonial rule have seeded the curse of sectarianism completely strange for the people of Gilgit-Baltistan till 1980s, our forefathers didn’t even think that, belonging to a different sects or school of thoughts could be an issue of fighting and manslaughter. We have a 4000 years old history, we are a civilized nation, we were a civilized nation, we never fought over casts or sects, we respected gender differences and honoured our women in all walks of life, Dadi Jawari a women has ruled over Gilgit, we made our cities, we cultivated our lands, when the nations around us were living in dark ages, our forefathers built a great civilization among the nations across the world, so there is no reason to keep us deprived of our Legal Rights today. Think my brothers and sisters; this is the right moment for thinking and awakening to get the rights which we the great people of Gilgit-Baltistan deserve.
We want to convey a message of feeling fear in their hearts, and caution in their mind, trepidation in their souls and fever in their bodies those who want create chaos and divide us because, “This Time a Generation is Awaken”
The writer is a student of Karakorum International University, Gilgit-Baltistan and a socio-political activist.
Sher Babu: Karakoram National Movement (KNM) Sindh plans to organize a protest demonstration at Karachi Press Club on Sunday 30th August, 2009 at 3 pm, against the recent ghost package (so-called autonomy) and illegal construction of Bhasha Dam by the Government of Pakistan. They have appealed to all the political workers, students, journalists, nationalists and ordinary citizens of deprived land of Karakuram (Gilgit-Baltistan) to actively participate in this demonstration to highlight the issue.
ISLAMABAD: The Northern areas will be renamed to ‘Gilgit Baltistan’ and will have a province like status, Prime Minister Gilani announced on Saturday.
In a special cabinet meeting, the government approved reforms package for the Northern Areas during which the PM stated that the area will be given full autonomy.
Gilgit Baltistan will also have its own assembly council with a total of 15 members. There will be a governor, chief minsiter and six other ministers of Gilgit.
Pakistan Muslim League – N (PML-N) has welcomed the approval of self-governance for the Northern Areas, saying PML-N would support every step which aimed to bring people of these areas into the mainstream.
Talking to a private TV channel, Information Secretary Ahsan Iqbal said that PML-N Chief Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif has been a great supporter of giving the same rights to people of Gilgit-Baltistan Region like other areas of the country have.
He said that the people of these areas should be given resources to improve infrastructure, social sector and a university should be setup for students to get higher education.
The PML-N leader urged an improvement in the judicial system as well as effective implementation of law and order as there was sectarian violence in the areas.
He said that both PML-N and PPP are committed to the Charter of Democracy (CoD). -source
ISLAMABAD: Minister for Overseas Pakistanis and Parliamentary leader of the MQM Dr Farooq Sattar said the elections in Gilgit-Baltistan would be held in next three months to install Asad-Kashmir like government there.
Addressing a news conference, he said a cabinet committee would be constituted to remove hurdles for merging Gilgit-Baltistan in Pakistan in accordance with the resolutions of United Nations. source
[New] Federal Cabinet of Pakistan discussed the options for Northern Areas (Gilgit-Baltistan) Reform Package
Islamabad: (Ali) The proposed Northern Areas of Pakistan (Gilgit-Baltistan) reforms package has been discussed by the Pakistan’s cabinet members and it has been reviled that the following options are in a process of finalization:
a) The current NALA would be promoted to that of a provincial assembly where Chief Minister would be an elected representative and governor would be an MNA of Pakistan’s National assembly.
b) Both governor and Chief Minister would be from Gilgit-Baltistan; however the Prime Minister of Pakistan would serve as a chair of the assembly.
c) The current Minister of Kashmir and Northern Areas Affairs would remain intact and only a chief minister would be an elected representative but there would be no governor in this option.
Photo: Courtesy pbase.com
Does this news report of Nove 28, 2007 has made any impact to save the said lone girls school in Skardu, Baltistan????
SKARDU, Nov 28: The only girls school here is facing host of problems and is literally on the verge of collapse. Due to negligence of the government and public representatives the Government Girls High School at Quaidabad is lacking basic facilities and it has become difficult for the students to continue education there.
During a visit, this scribe witnessed that the school building was not sufficient for a high school. Each class accommodates 80 students and there is no space in a classrooms to put a chair for the teacher. In some classrooms two girls were sharing one seat.
Although, it is practically a high school but officially it is still mentioned as a primary school.
Talking to Dawn, headmistress Mehreen Tahir said it was basically a primary school but in collaboration with a local NGO, Taskeen, matriculation classes were also going on for the last several years.
“The education department Baltistan has provided only eight teachers but we need more teachers, classrooms and other basic facilities including potable water,” she said, adding that the students were fetching drinking water from remote places.
Ms Tahir said over 400 girls were getting education in the school.
Describing history of the school, Prof Ghulam Hussain, chief pattern Taskeen, said that the school was established 30 years ago as a primary institution to promote women’s education in the remote area.
“In 1992, after construction of the current school building, we handed over the institution to the education department, which provided staff and accepted it as a government primary school,” he said.
He said 20 kanal lands had been donated to the school by the local people to upgrade the school but the dream could not come true. With the increasing number of girl students and insisting parents, the school administration started middle and matriculation classes at the school. Source