By Amjad Ali
When it comes to demonstrations in Pakistan, protesters typically smash and break properties, block the roads and halt the traffic. And then there are the authorities that rarely come for a peaceful and productive dialogue with the demonstrators.Typically, police arrives and beats the mob to disperse them, and then the issue that triggered the protest remains unresolved, awaiting another protest. What was the reason of the protest? A few hours of electricity load shedding?
Well, now lets talk about a protest held on Sunday in Lahore and Islamabad subsequently by the civil society members and activists of Gilgit-Baltistan, including young men and women,students and people from different walks of life. The demonstrators were protesting for the rights of Gilgit-Baltistan, demanding withdrawal of taxes from the region until its status is elevated to that of a full fledged province of Pakistan.
The protest remained very peaceful; protesters were not chanting slogans that may offend any state, institution or person. They were holding placards inscribed with slogans, demanding the fundamental rights of Gilgit-Baltistan. Everything went on smoothly and the protest ended in a peaceful manner after protesters recorded their demands and spoke to the media people.
The two stories narrated above are absolutely contrasting, with very different dimensions. On one hand how people all over Pakistan protest for minor issues, how they break the laws when they are deprived of easily accessible rights like electricity gas etc. for some hours. On the other hand there are the people of Gilgit Baltistan, who, despite of the deprivation of the basic rights for last sixty-eight years are holding a very peaceful protest in different cities of the country including Lahore.
This is the simplicity, loving nature and softness of the people that they are calm even while holding protests, it is their clean heart, which makes them go simple. It has been observed that this simplicity and kindness has been considered as the weakness or weak point of the people of Gilgit Baltistan. It is a misconception, whoever thinks and considers it so, should clarify himself that these people when mistreated and tested for a long time can show their strengths as they are snow leopards.
In fact there is a strong movement within every person belonging from Gilgit Baltistan regardless of where he lives on this earth, what language he speaks and what religion or sect he belongs to. The movement is for the struggle of the rights of Gilgit Baltistan.
What the rights are? Give GB its identity according to the will of the local people. Don’t impose taxes until you do not provide the rights; provide the subsidy on wheat which has been pledged of. Make GB a beneficent part of CPEC and so on. There is a long list of demands and rights. What is important is making it clear to all stake holders that people of GB have now raised for their rights and they are not going to step backward unless they achieve their targets and goals, so take them serious, listen to them and address the issues. This is the best solution for each of us. They are demanding their rights in a right way, listen them in the right way and give them the rights in the right way.