While speaking to an interactive session on ‘Participatory Federalism and Citizens Empowerment’ organized by Pakistan Study Group on Federalism at National Institute of Historical and Cultural Studies Qaud- e – Azam University, Islamabad, former member of Gilgit Baltistan (GB) Council Dr Amjad Hussain Advocate said that people of Gilgit and Baltistan must be given equal legal rights as citizens of Pakistan because depriving people of GB of their fundamental rights is worst kind of discrimination which must be redressed.
In order to highlight the plight of people of Gilgit and Baltistan, he drew a comparison with people of occupied Kashmir who in spite of political oppression enjoy equal rights of representation in the legal system of India.
He further elaborated the fact that GB people could be employed in armed forces but they have no representation in National Assembly of Pakistan.
Answering a question, he emphasized citizen participation in a democratic process to ensure the development, welfare and social progress of the country. According to him, currently there isn’t a single project reserved for GB out of 51 China Pak Economic Corridor.
He expressed his views that lack of citizen participation and absence of protection of human rights poisons the relations of various communities which cause troubles and turmoil in the life of every citizen.
Rauf Klausra a prominent journalist said that provincial autonomy must not be used as excuse for not devolving power to local level. He also expressed that Pakistan should invest in capacity building of its citizens as it is impossible to achieve the grandeur Pakistan aspires for without enlightened and educated citizens.
Moreover, he said using politics as personal business is the heart of all the woes and suffering Pakistan public goes through, currently.
Answering a question, he expressed his doubts about Pakistani politicians and Public capabilities to devolve powers to ensure citizen empowerment in the country. In addition, he focused on the need of coming out of tragic strategic web our establishment has lead us into as soon as possible if we as a nation want to develop and progress.
At the end of session Dr Sajid Awan Head Steering Committee opined that democracy, participatory federalism and citizen empowerment is the only solution for problems of Pakistan. He reiterated `it is only public and politicians who could put Pakistan on the way to progress and prosperity’.