Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Of ‘traitors’ and turncoats in GB

Noor Muhammad 

The disaster-hit people of Hunza Valley have been deeply hurt for being called “anti-state elements”, “agents of the enemies of Pakistan” and “traitors” by some government officials and public representatives to describe the peaceful protesters of Gojal and Hunza who have been raising their voice to seek the attention of the authorities to their ordeal for the last six months.

The protesters have not broken a single windowpane anywhere though they have been coming out on the roads in large numbers in Gulmit, Aliabad, Gilgit, Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi. The peaceful protesters have used all civil and democratically admired methods for expressing public opinion allowed by the constitution of Pakistan, including protest demonstrations, advocacy conferences, media advocacy and token hunger strikes.The police, on the other hand, has baton- charged the peaceful demonstrators thrice in Gilgit, once in Aliabad Hunza and once in Gulmit, Gojal.

When the tactics of using violence failed to sabotage the rightful, logical, public display of civil rights, the bureaucracy started using the traditional mud-slinging tactics. First, there was the statement of the Gilgit-Baltistan Chief Minister, who called the people of Hunza ‘thankless’. He later started using the term “anti-state” for the peaceful agitators. Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly Speaker Wazir Baig, the elected representative of Hunza, joined the chorus and used the term “antistate” for his political opponents during a press conference in Gilgit.

A resolution was later tabled in the legislative assembly demanding action against the “anti-state elements” but it could not be passed because some members said that it was being presented on behalf of secret agencies to malign a particular community.

Latest in the charade of irresponsible and unnecessary statements are the allegations and threats hurled by Asif Bilal Lodhi, Home Secretary of GilgitBaltistan, at a press conference. Responding to the token spillway expansion activity – which seemed more to be an advocacy tactic undertaken by affected community members, he blamed them of being enemies of the state.

“Those widening the spillway are agents of the enemies of Pakistan”, the home secretary said, vowing to send the ‘state enemies’ behind the bar and persecute them for attempting to widen the spillway. He did not bother to explain the term, though, to elaborate what exactly he meant by that. Is attempting to save one’s home and region from destruction an act of sedition? Is protesting in a novel, effec tive, and very peaceful manner traitorous? The bureaucracy and the politicians need to be reminded, unfortunately, that hundreds of Pakistani flags are hoisted at graves of martyrs in Hunza, Gojal, Nagar and Ghizer Valley.

Those doubting the loyalty of the people of Hunza are ignorant of the region’s history. Hunza was the first princely states of the “Gilgit Wazarat” to voluntarily request accession to the state of Pakistan in 1947.
The nationalist surge in GilgitBaltistan, which seems to have dazzled the bureaucracy, is not confined to a particular region.

It is the right time for policy makers and the federal government to look into the matter and use their power to stop the dangerous practice of alienating the youth of Hunza, Gojal and Ghizer, as well as other districts of Gilgit-Baltistan, by pushing them to the wall, and not giving them legitimate political space.

Let us not forget that similar tactics used in Balochistan have led the youth astray and turned them into insurgents that government is trying to grapple nowadays.

The writer is an Islamabad based freelance contributor belonging to GilgitBaltistan. He can be reached at: nurmomad@gmail.com

Source: DAWN


اگر ممکن ہے تو اپنا تبصرہ تحریر کریں

اہم اطلاع :- غیر متعلق,غیر اخلاقی اور ذاتیات پر مبنی تبصرہ سے پرہیز کیجئے, مصنف ایسا تبصرہ حذف کرنے کا حق رکھتا ہے نیز مصنف کا مبصر کی رائے سے متفق ہونا ضروری نہیں۔

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