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A letter to the Chief Minister of Gilgit-Baltistan

Dear CM,

Gilgit Baltistan,

We hope our letter finds you in a good health.  We have dared and gathered the courage to write to you to share some concerns and expectations which have remained unexpressed for a long time. There are many reasons and factors that couldn’t make us express our concerns and grieve, one of the major reasons is the attitude of the public representatives which makes our voices unheard. Still we have gathered our courage to make some demands; we hope they would go practical through your visionary and strong leadership and loyalty. We also hope that they would not clash some ones interest.

GB, a land covered with natural beauty and people with loving hearts attract and welcome people from all over the world, until now have remained unsuccessful in catching the eyes and attracting the hearts of the authorities and policy makers towards their much-awaited issues.

You are well informed about the fact, people of GB are much aware about their democratic rights in this digital world. The more the awareness, the more is the curiosity to struggle and avail the fundamental rights. No doubt, GB government is delivering its best for the development and progress of the area, still there is a long way to go. There is still a lot to do and it is expected from your visionary and effective leadership.

There are some general but important points which are needs to be implemented informally in GB. We are not going to demand anything which would cost you a lot. Our demands are simple and quite applicable. This would be more worth of buildings, roads, bridges and other infrastructure. Not a single paisa is required to invest; the investment would be of your kindness and loyalty to the people of GB which would be remembered by the coming generations. With a wish of the implement in true spirits and a hope that the ideas and suggestion may not clash any one’s interest here are some points to highlights.

1: We have an identity, that identity must be respected. It is must to inform and train the ruling class/band including public representatives and bureaucrats about the norms and values of Gilgit Baltistan and the people owning it. They can be ruled by only the democratic, fair and just mechanism. Trying to rule this area with the techniques used in interior Punjab, Sindh and a big part of Baluchistan and KPK to keep away people from their basic concerns for last many decades will bring chaos and clash in the area. It is true that people are sometimes rigid on some issues, it might create pain, and even this must be sorted out with soft hands, without giving an impression that they are inferior.

2: The  language and actions should prove that those who have steering of GB in their hands are sincere and loyal. Fake promises should be discouraged, so that the happiness of people must not turn into anger when they realize they are made fools as usual.

3: Acknowledge the services of the people of GB rendering at all levels in all fields.  There are not only the rivers which flow downstream from GB,  we have love, respect and harmony too.  We have much bigger hearts to sacrifice our beloved sons for our country than others. So we need the dignity and respect which we deserve. A cloud of realization and feeling of being inferior is being tried to fill instead of the breezes in the atmosphere, it has to stop.

4: Create and make a fair practice of accountability, the last government in GB has committed many sins affecting lives of common man. People are expecting from you to bring facts to public, and expect that such malpractices will be nailed to halt forever.  The report on the killing of a father and son in Aliabad Hunza, affected by Attabad disaster, asking for their deserving rights never came to public nor any action was witnessed. If our representatives are reluctant in delivering, they have no rights to snatch as well. They are not supposed to create chaos to please their bosses who are less concerned with real prosperity of GB.

  1. All the provinces are indulged in the tag of war of rights and benefits from CPEC and we the residents of GB are curious to know a clear stance of our Government on the matter. It worries us more when we see people from Gojal wandering at different offices for their land compensations and the way they are dealt by government officials.
  2. It shocked us to see girls in Darel Valley of Diamer District protest against ‘closure of their schools’. GBians have always felt privileged to be a high literacy society but such incidents shows a different dimension within our self. Dilapidated school and hospital buildings at various districts poses critical risk to innocent lives. The bureaucrats especially secretaries deputed from other provinces never come out of Gilgit city to pay visit to rural areas and might never know the actual situations ever. It infuriates us when we see they entertaining guests on government expenses and using government vehicles pitifully.
  3. Its saddening for all of us as suicide tendency is uprising in Gilgit-Baltisan especially in Ghizar and Gojal Valley where young men and women are ending their lives and yet Government hasn’t taken any step to probe the reasons nor any research has been conducted. We request you to constitute and team to look at the matter seriously.
  4. We want Gilgit Baltisan to be like a real paradise as people perceive it. The human rights violations are showing deep concerns in the recent years, majorly women rights and children rights have been reported very concerning by civil society organizations. The GB government doesn’t show seriousness at implementing pro women laws. It is encouraging the way sexual harassment bill has been passed by GB assembly but we want a safe environment for women where they can file reports without any hesitation and go out for work without any fear.

We have put forward our concerns; they might be an ordinary but we need them in real practice. We hope you will give the people of GB a gift of happiness and prosperity at least by these simple acts.

Sincerely,

People of Gilgit Baltistan.

 

The writer Amjad Ali is blogger at Mountain Tv and writes about social issues and youth empowerment.

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