Archive for June, 2009

[Campaign] Air-Link between Kashgar and Gilgit-Baltistan

June 27, 2009 2 comments

Air-Link between Kashgar and Gilgit-Baltistan

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World Bank (WB) refuses to finance Basha dam

June 25, 2009 4 comments


Site of Diamer-Bhasha Dam

Site of Diamer-Bhasha Dam

“ISLAMABAD: The World Bank has refused to finance the Diamer-Basha dam project worth $11.8 billion while saying the site of the dam is controversial between India and Pakistan. However, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) is ready to fund the mega project but has linked the credit supply with a consensus resolution from the Parliament in favour of the project to ensure that the project is not disputed.”

Basha Dam is in fact situated in Gilgit-Baltistan in the Diamer District, however, only turbines are situated in the area of Basha, which is part of Pakistan and comes under the province of NWFP but the people of the area are Shina Speaking Kohistanis. Initially Govt. of Pakistan named it only Basha Dam but under heavy pressure from the people of Gilgit-Baltistan the said dame was renamed as Diamer-Basha dam. 

Exclusive of Indian claims of the Gilgit-Baltistan being its part, people of Gilgit-Baltistan were also had sever objection and reservations over the construction of the dam unless the rights of people of Gilgit-Baltistan were not ensured. Under the constitution of Govt. of Pakistan the royalty of the dame goes to the province where turbines are located and in the case of Diamer-Basha Dame miles of precious and scarce land of the people of Gilgit-Baltistan would be swallowed by the water reservoir of the dame and only the turbines will be located in the Pakistan’s province of NWFP so the royalty will be given to that province, depriving the people of Gilgit-Baltistan of their rights. It was a conspiracy against the people of Gilgit-Baltistan on which they have observed strong actions and opposed the construction of the Dam.

“In an exclusive talk with The News, Secretary Water and Power Shahid Rafi said the WB has refused to fund the project saying the site of the project is controversial and India claims the area where the dam proposed is a disputed territory”. source

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[News]One More Seat in Northern Areas Legislative Assembly (NALA) for Hunza

June 24, 2009 1 comment

It appeared in the daily Dawn, 23 June 2009, that Syed Mehdi Shah, president Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Gilgit-Baltistan said that “additional Northern Areas Legislative Council Assembly (NALA) seat for Hunza would be part of a new package for the region.”

Currently Hunza has only one seat in the NALA, whereas Nagar with approximately same status of population and numbers have two seats, which adversely affect distribution of development funds for Hunza and remains disadvantaged. It is a long standing demand of the people to Hunza to allocate two seats in the NALA for over a decade but always it has been put under carpet with false promises by the successive rulers in Islamabad.

It was expected and several times in the media it was stated that before upcoming elections of 2009 of NALA, Hunza will be given its long deserved one more seat. However, the representative of PPP the current ruling party has indicated that Hunza will be once more deprived of its rights for funds and representation of its people in NALA for another four years. Who knows till what time the status quo will remain as more often this kind of political promises such as the said ‘New Package’ remained unfulfilled.

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[NEWS] Hunza-Nagar district to come into being next month

June 24, 2009 2 comments

 According to The Daily Dawn, 23 June 2009, Syed Mehdi Shah, President, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Gilgit-Baltistan stated that ” A new District (Hunza-Nagar district)  in Gilgit-Baltistan would start functioning officially from next month”.

The proposed district of Hunza-Nagar was approved and orders for its operations were issued at the time of President General Pervez Musharaf, however, with the change in Govt. at Islamabad and PPP coming into power the said district was put into cold storage. Several times the regional leadership of PPP has announced immediate functioning of the said district in the past but without results.


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[News] Noor Muhammad decided to contest NALA Election 2009

June 21, 2009 9 comments

Sources closer to Noor Muhammad from Hunza have declared his decisions to contest upcoming elections of Northern Areas Legislative Assembly (NALA). NALA is the Assembly of elected representatives of Gilgit-Baltistan but in its current positions it is nothing more than an advisory board for a non-elected chairman who is a Member of National Assembly of Pakistan the real ruler of the Gilgit-Baltistan.

Noor Muhammad is a self made personality well known in Gilgit-Baltistan for his services in the areas of social and community work, his role as a development professional with AKRSP and HOP Foundation, and his services at senior level government positions.  Noor Muhammad is considered to be one of the most popular candidates and various pools have shown him as one of the top three choices of the people for representing Hunza in NALA. We wish him best of luck for his political endeavours.

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June 21, 2009 Leave a comment
[Travelogue] Gilgit-bound
By: Chris Cork

One-thirty in the morning and a few kilometres north of Komilla and we explored the Seven-nut Option. We had set off in fine style more or less on time from Pir Wadahi bus stand and purred up the motorway in the direction of Peshawar until we turned off onto the Karakoram Highway. The first time I travelled this road was by bicycle in October 1993, when the GTR was a simple double-lane (not a dual-carriageway) road, and there was none of the rush and bustle of today. My old blue rucksack, with some warm clothes and a few books, was on top of the bus and my laptop on my knees. The familiar landscape scrolled past — this was the 79th time I had travelled the Karakoram Highway by road — but the first time I had been “up north” for four years. Post-quake reconstruction continues everywhere along the stretch below Battagram, and the road itself is rutted and difficult, battered by years of wear far beyond what it was designed for, and now about to undergo a major upgrade.

Through Kohistan in the thick darkness, shops shuttered as we rolled north; an ever-present precipitous drop to the side, and then the sudden stop after we had crossed the river at Komilla. The clanking of metal soon afterwards signalled ‘puncture’ as the tools were unloaded and it was all pile out, fire-up the mobile-phone torches to give the driver a bit of light and, as the tyre-change neared completion, the Seven-nut Option came into view. The tyre which had gone on to replace that which was punctured was as bald as a baby’s bottom, as were all the others on the vehicle. The vehicle manufacturer had built eight studs into the wheel-hub to hold on the twin rear wheels. But we only had seven. I pointed this out to the driver. He agreed with my count and said that there were six on the other side and seven on one of the front hubs. One of the vehicle’s six wheels had the requisite number of nuts holding them on. Hardly confidence-inspiring. I suggested that this might be a teensy little lapse in the safety department. He politely disagreed, tightened what were left of the wheel nuts and we were on our way. (Travel advisory… Count the wheel-nuts on NATCO buses before departure.)

Dawn, and Chilas, and then the last 90-odd kilometers into Gilgit. There is still a mystique about this little town nestled in a bowl in the mountains. It was a rough and bustling place on my first visit, packed with tourists of every nationality and heaving with tour-jeeps and cheap backpacker hotels that catered to the ever-questing youthful tourist of 15 years ago. Today it is altogether more sophisticated as the huge signboards advertising mobile phone companies on the outskirts indicated. It was also more orderly, about 500-perecent cleaner and the roving packs of killer dogs had disappeared. There were fewer backpacker hotels and the tourism business in general has suffered post-9/11 and suffered further with the disturbances of 2005. But things are picking up this year and I took my breakfast coffee in one of those places that has a well-earned place in the mythology of Pakistan travel – the Madina Hotel, next to NLI bazaar.

Five-star it ain’t, but friendly and welcoming it is. This has been my unofficial “home” in Gilgit for as long as I have been in Pakistan. It has survived where others have not, and now stands almost alone at the budget end of the market. Basic accommodation and terrific food at budget prices; with quite possibly the best pancakes in the world. Yacoub, the Hon. Prop., welcomed me like a long-lost brother and we were deep in family gossip and chit-chat in moments. Gilgit is fine, notwithstanding a recent unpleasantness that saw the murder of a prominent local politician, but what started as sectarian has turned “family” and seems unlikely to grow beyond that. The government has started a little tentative tourist promotion, and local businesses are again advertising in international travel magazines again. Hopes are high that there will be a recovery this year. The trade that would have gone to Swat isn’t going, and Gilgit-Baltistan is very much open for business.

There is a sense of resolution in this remote place, a sense that the predations of the Taliban in other places is unlikely ever to take root here – and if they ever did try their tricks in this part of the world then woe betide them. There is already a sprinkling of foreigners – and a lone cyclist – and incoming phone-calls from far and wide indicate that that there are still those who would consider Pakistan as a destination. Tomorrow, I head up into the mountains. It’s good to be home.

The writer is a British social worker settled in Pakistan. Email: manticore73


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Deoband ulema term all Taliban actions un-Islamic

June 20, 2009 Leave a comment

Pakistan Violence[NEWS] Senior clerics of India’s top seminary whose version of Islam the Taliban claim to follow have denounced the actions of the hardline militia, saying the group does not qualify to enjoy affiliations with the historic madressah.

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