After appearing as a dubious firm from nowhere aimed to exploit the mineral resources of Gilgit-Baltistan with active backing of and in connivance with the chief minister and a number of elites of Gilgit-Baltistan Mehdi Shah through the Kashmir Affairs and Gilgi-Baltistan Division, Mohsin Industries has done its secret mission and is now packing leaving behind an army of unemployed youth.
At the outset, people having sympathies with the region had pointed fingers at the company saying it was not sincere with the interest of the area people and its activities were highly suspicious. Now with its departure leaving behind so many people unemployed and more waiting for the axe to fall on them, it ahs become crystal clear that whatever the people were expressing doubts about the company were 100 per cent true and that it had been planed in the region by some elements in Pakistan through their cohorts in the region in order to achieve their own objectives.
From day one, Mohsin Industries wooed the educated people offering them lucrative salaries along with other perks and privileges and succeeded in drawing hundreds of youth who became almost blind in ascertaining the credibility of the company. In such a rush, the educated youth even forgot to apply for jobs in the government departments and concentrating on getting any posts in the foreign company.
On the other hand, the chief minister and his people tried to further strengthen the company by claiming that it was the proof of his government's successful economic policies that such companies were eager to invest in the region and cerate employment opportunities for the area people.
The company had also claimed that it would invest billions of rupees in the infrastructure development of the region, besides launching projects to exploit the untapped mineral and water resources as well as operating train and air services.
However, all these claims and the hopes of the youth were shattered when the country director's offices were shut down in the darkness of the night and over 80 employees were sent home without fulfilling the required legal formalities. The sub-offices of the company in various parts of the region are also being closed and have already been shut.
There are also reports that the company which was established in the region on June 9 trampling all rules and regulation had already shifted out a huge quantity of precious raw minerals including gold and uranium before closing its operation in another dubious manner.
The reports said that the company had already achieved its objectives for which it was brought to the region in violations of all rules. This was the only reason why the people of the region were so opposed to the dubious company. Even the legislative assembly had passed a unanimous resolution against the issuance of the mining license to the company in complete disregard to the laws and discriminating all the local companies who had been waiting for such license for years. But what added to the mysteries and suspicion among the people about the company was staunch support extended to the firm by no other person than the chief minister of the region who even damn cared about the resolution of the assembly and continued to speak in favor of the Mohsins. The chief minister even went to such an extent that he did not tolerate the news reports published in local newspapers against the mysterious activities of the company and said that the owners of the newspapers were not happy with the company because they were not getting their share from it.
It may be noted that soon after the issuance of the license to the Mohsin Industries, it was reported that though the company had recently been issued only a license it had started shifting out of the border sensitive mineral ores in large quantities. However, the federal agencies concerned even started harassing the newspapers that were publishing such stories let alone take any action against the company on the allegations. But today when the company is packing after failing to cover its secret agenda, the claims of those who had been opposing it in the region have been vindicated. Had the company been working in the interest of the locals and brought investment worth billions of rupees as it was being claimed, its opponents would by now have been silences. But now when it has been exposed and even unable to sustain its presence, there is no one who is coming up in support of the firm. What would happen to the hundreds of youth who have been rendered unemployed, who was responsible to bring the company to the region overnight by trampling all rules and regulations? Where is the chief minister who was out to patronage the company and why is he now not telling the nation about the unceremonious departure of the company?
It is now the responsibility of the government and the mineral department to freeze all the assets of the company in the region and initiate an investigation against it to ascertain why it was brought to the region, what was its mission, who were behind its launch and what it did during the period in the area.
In the past too it had been the tactic of the usurpers of people's rights to make tall claims in order to pave way for their coming into the region like the East India Company just to loot and plunder the resources of the region and hoodwink the locals. Why the rulers in Islamabad do not understand the fact that it is too much and they should learn a lesson and not create another Balochistan in the north of the country. What is the fact now is that those who always termed the true sons of the land as traitors and propagandists have now lost their own credibility and the people trust only those who have been saying the truth and fighting the usurpers.
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Saturday, 24 December 2011 07:56 Written by Bang e Sahar
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Friday, 23 December 2011 08:09 Written by Bang e Sahar
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Dreaming of trading on our destiny
Faced with massing of foreign troops on its western border with Afghanistan and frequent ingress into and violations of its territory by International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) stationed in Afghanistan, Pakistan's strategic think-tank after consultation with its Chinese counterpart has advised Islamabad to give the strategically vital region of Gilgit-Baltistan to China for at least 50 years of tutelage to avoid any eventuality in the region.
This would bring Pakistan many dividends foremost among them being marked changes in the socio-economic conditions of the backward but highly vital region as well as to quell any foreign aggression against Pakistan with the help of China which is a tested friend of Islamabad. It is said that the Chinese think-tank has also presented a similar suggestion to the government in Beijing.
The reports also indicated that the government of Pakistan has accepted the proposal of the think-tank in order to safeguard its western borders and lessen the rising anti-government sentiment in the country, especially in the tribal areas, due to the drone and other attacks being carried out by ISAF, American as well as Afghan forces under the guise of the ongoing war on terror. As a first step, China will be having its footholds in Gilgit-Baltistan by sending in its engineers and other civil workers ostensibly to work on various development and infrastructure projects. This will be followed by arrival of regular Chinese forces and military personnel to guard the Chinese engineers and vital installations in the region. It is also being said that the think-tank's proposal to bring in the Chinese to the region is aimed at forestalling any Indian misadventure against Pakistan on the prodding of the western countries, especially the US and NATO.
Historically and legally, the region of Gilgit-Baltistan has been a disputed agenda on the table of the United Nations for the last 64 years and despite promises through resolutions, the world body has still not been able to hold a plebiscite to ascertain the wishes of the local people to decide the political status of the region. The area of Kashmir considered as disputed on the UN agenda includes that of Gilgit-Baltistan too. It also includes those pockets of areas along the Chinese border which Pakistan has already handed over to China in order to further cement its relation with Beijing though Islamabad had no legal and moral authority to do so when the issue was pending in the world body. According to latest estimates, India controls 101,338 square kilometers (39,127 square miles) of the disputed territory, Pakistan 85,846, square km (33,146 sq km) and China the remaining 14,500 sq miles.
Gilgit-Baltistan, formerly called the Northern Areas, covers an area of 72,971 sq km (28,174 sq miles). It has an estimated population of one and half million. According to latest census, 95 per cent of the population in the Indian held Kashmir is Muslim, while the ratio of Muslims in Jammu is 30 per cent, Laddakh 46 per cent. In the Pakitani-controlled Kashmir, the percentage of Muslims is 100, in Gilgit-Baltistan it is 99 while the areas given to China are not populated.
It is also a fact that both India and Pakistan have been adopting all means to permanently make the areas of Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan in their occupation as parts of their territories, hampering the resolution of the issue for the last over six decades. Due to their intransigence, so far the two countries have fought five wars resulting in nothing except bloodsheds on both sides and rampant poverty and backwardness especially in Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Kashmir.
Notwithstanding the tug of war between the two countries over the issue of Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan, India is well aware of the fact that the western powers, especially the US and Europe, want its cooperation in order to check the rising influence of China in the new great game in the region. According to current world scenario, the western powers seem successful in tackling the Chinese influence in partnership with India. With the arrival of the coalition forces in Afghanistan after the 9/11, the western powers have launched different plans to get China engaged in different fronts. These western armies under the garb of ISAF can have easy access to China through the strategic Wakhan corridor of Afghanistan and Gilgit-Baltistan. Not only that but also the coalition forces have a foothold in the Central Asian republic of Tajikistan from where they can have access to China thorough Gilgit-Baltistan.
China, Pakistan and India have been playing the game for their interests over Gilgit-Baltistan and Kashmir. On the other hand, the identity of the people of Gilgit-Baltistan along with their centuries-old culture and traditions at the risk of being annihilated by the power hungry states who completely disregard the locals' rights to freedom. In all this game, the losers are the people of Gilgit-Baltistan who at the dawn of the 21st century remained the most backward even when we compare them to the people of Kashmir.
Despite passage of over six decades, the people of Gilgit-Baltistan have not been given their due rights.
Keeping in view the current regional and international geo-strategic situation, it is crucial that the people of the region get united to foil any conspiracy which may be detrimental to their very existence as a unique nation in the world. For the last over six decades, the masses of Gilgit-Baltistan have been treated by Pakistani rulers in accordance with their own interests and objectives violating all human, economic and constitutional rights. On the other hand, the so-called political leaders of the region have played at the hands of the Pakistani establishment just to get benefit for their own selves. And in all this scenarios, the people of the area remained as they had no issues at all and all was ok with them. Certainly it was and is not the case. We need collective efforts to get our rights and decide about our future on our own. Due to lack of political maturity and sagacity, even today we hear such stories like the latest one under which it is being claimed that our region will be handed over to some foreign power for the larger security interest of Pakistan. It is time our people awakened to the reality so that outsiders can never dream of trading on our future.
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Saturday, 17 December 2011 10:15 Written by Bang e Sahar
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Action highly unbecoming
In civilized societies, all the citizens, irrespective of their political and socio-economic status and standing, are considered equal under the eyes of the law and anyone breaking the law never goes scot-free and unpunished. But, unfortunately, the case has been just the opposite in Gilgit-Baltistan where people having connections with corridors of powers consider themselves as above the law and trampling of rules and regulations as a status symbol. They even consider stopping at the red light as against their dignity and status. With this mindset among our elites, how can one expect that the common man should also abide by the law?
Though there have been recurrent incidents in which political activists or cohorts of our so-called political leaders were seen showing their teeth even at the police to get their work done without going through the normal process of law, GB Minister for Zakat and Ushr Mohammad Nasir Khan and his colleagues crossed all limits of decency and fair play recently when they raided the offices of the ministry of education and thrashed director education and planning Mohammad Abidin and director academics Raja Nasir, leaving them injured.
The attackers, who according to media reports were activists of the ruling PPP and close relatives of minister Nasir, justified their illegal action by saying that the recent appointment of grade-14 teachers was not transparent and the posts had been sold out. They said candidates with high qualifications and meeting the merit criteria were not accommodated only because they had no money to pay to the education department officials nor had any backing from the authorities concerned. But observers say if there was anything wrong with the recruitment process, was attacking the officials in such a brutal way justified. Do two wrongs make one right?
On the other hand, the education department officials, including some trade union leaders, claimed that for the first time the teachers' appointments were made on merit and in a transparent manner and this did not go well with the minister who wanted to induct his own men. However, the latest incident has showed that there was something fishy in the appointment process.
As a reaction to the attack on the officials, the employees of the education department along with the teachers association gathered at the Ittehad Chowk and held a protest demonstration against the minister for zakat and Ushr and chanted slogans against them for attacking the officials. They warned that if the minister did not tender an apology and stop such illegal practice, the education department employees would launch an indefinite strike. They were of the view that when a government minister was free to attack its own department along with his supporters what else would be safe in the region.
It is regrettable that influential people from the political parties, government departments and even sectarian outfits in the region have been adopting illegal tactics and even sheer force to pressure government departments in order to get their works done or appoint their near and dear ones on vacant posts without merit. This is one of the reasons why the whole region is infested with law and order problem and corruption and bad-governance. Today we can see that all government departments are facing the issue of corruption, misrule and irregularities and there is no accountability of the corrupt officials. The main reason why all the government machinery has lost public confidence is that most of the officials have been inducted into the departments in complete violation of rules and regulations through the backdoor by political leaders and others using their influence instead of merit. When the hand-picked elements come to the position of decision making, they damn care about transparency and fair play rather continue the foul play and corruption at the whim of their masters.
If an officer has no fear of being held accountable for their misdoings at the end of the day, why he should care about fair play and meritocracy? This is the reason the government apparatus has been performing in complete disregard to the public interest.
The latest incident of the attack on the education officials by the minister and his thugs is a dangerous phenomenon when we see it in the backdrop of the so-called democratic dispensation in the region. If political leaders and elected representatives continue taking the law into their own hands for fixing the state matters, what trend we expect in society to grow. Might is right. Those who have the power get the course of things changed in their favour at any time and those who have no resources or say in the decision-making process will perpetually remain at the receiving end.
This has been the case right from the top to the bottom. Today when a common man goes to any government office to resolve his petty issue, he has to look for connection to get the work done without any fuss or without greasing the palms of the officials concerned otherwise he has to run from pillar to post in search of justice.
In a democratic dispensation, people who have sent their representatives to the corridors of powers expect that their issues and petty problems should be resolved without much ado. In this regard, heavy responsibility lies on the shoulders of the political leaders. They should set examples by their deeds and become role models for others so that their subordinates and government officials never dare to do any wrong in discharging their responsibilities as servant, not masters, of the masses.
If people at the helms of affairs and political leaders demonstrate such a brinkmanship and highhandedness even if there are some irregularities instead of taking the legal course, what we can expect from a common man. The government of the region should take strong action against such elements so that others never dared to take any such steps in future and there is rule of law in dealing with all affairs of people's political, social and religious status.
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Friday, 02 December 2011 06:43 Written by Bang e Sahar
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Et tu Brute?
The Gilgit city has been mired in terror activities and target killings for the last many years but those supposed to protect its inhabitants from the terror and anti-social elements have miserably failed to fulfill their obligations and meet the expectations of the masses. Unfortunately, no day passes when there is no target killing or an innocent person feels secure. The police and other law enforcement agencies are there and they draw huge salaries from the public exchequer but their performance has been almost zero. If there are suspicions that police itself is involved in the terror incidents or is hand in glove with the perpetrators, can there will be an iota of hope or confidence among the masses regarding professionalism and trustworthiness of the department? Now even the chief minister has started saying that despite getting handsome salary the police had done nothing to maintain peace in the city and disappointed the people as well as the government.
As a result, the chief minister wants to turn Gilgit into a police state in order to cleanse the city of all the terror elements and target killers. Once again the chief minister has also started making tall claims that the interior division and all other government departments will not allow the police and any other law enforcement agencies to play with the destiny of the residents and spoil the peace of the city. (It clearly shows that what the so-called the chief executive of the region thinks about his law enforcers and custodians of the law.) The media cell of the government issued a statement saying that the chief minister has vowed to utilize all available resources to eliminate the elements who were trying to create law and order situation. Such elements will be dealt with an iron hand; the statement quoted the chief minister as saying.
On the other hand, the chief organizer of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Gilgit-Baltistan, Hafiz Hafizur Rehman has once again said the Gilgit city remains flooded with all types of illegal sophisticated weapons and ammunition. It is intriguing that from where and who is bringing these weapons into the city despite the fact that hordes of law enforcement personnel are manning all the entry points of the city. The presence of weapons in the city in such a big quantity has always been the main factor for the deteriorating law and order situation in the area and it is also a fact that whenever anyone is caught with illegal arms or ammunition, he turns out to be belonging to the security agencies. If the government takes stringent steps to clear the city of all terror elements and give guarantee for security of life and property, the residents would voluntarily surrender their arms and ammunition. To substantiate his claim, the PML-N leader Hafiz Hafizur Rehman has said that a specific lobby had got disappeared the list containing the names of the target killers and other criminals from the custody of the government and the rulers had so far failed to trace the list or catch the responsible persons. He was of the view that the first priority of the government should be to put in place a government free from corruption and misdeeds and by acting upon the recommendations put forward by an all parties conference the government can achieve the objectives easily. This APC was convened by the chief minister himself and its recommendations were a key in fulfilling the desired results in the region.
Mr Rehman alleged that the police were directly involved in disappearing the list of criminals and absconders, demanding that a probe should be conducted into the issue. Secondly, the police should be provided with modern and sophisticated weapons to enable it to fight the criminals and anti-social elements in a better way. It is need of the hour to overhaul the police in order to ensure sustainable peace in the region. As a first step, the police department should be purged of all those who were or had been working on the line of sectarianism. Those who are working with sectarian mindset in the police should be sidelined and punished and professional officers should be brought to the fore to lead the force against the criminals and terrorists with the sole objective of promoting peace and harmony in the region.
When one enters the city of Gilgit, he sees deployment of police and other law enforcement agencies in every nook and corner of the city. Being a small city in size as well as in population, it seems bizarre that anyone can be able to smuggle weapons or any other contraband into the city or leave the city after committing a crime. But when you see inside the city, there are reports about presence of all kinds of arms and ammunition in the city where there is no arms manufacturing factory. Another intriguing factor is that so far no one has been caught or brought to the book for the series of killings and bomb blasts and target killings continuing for the last many years in the city. In such a scenario, doubts are taking roots in the minds of the common man that someone up there in the corridors of powers or the security establishment is backing the terrorist and target killers otherwise how they can carry out their activities and get away with it so easily.
The police is considered to be the main department in controlling the law and order situation in any city. If it is allowed to work on sectarian or any other lines, there cannot be peace and harmony among different sections of society.
Therefore, it is need of the hour for the government led by Mr Mehdi Shah to bring needed reforms in the ;police and make it a professional and fighting force to cope with the elements who have been out to sabotage all efforts to bring peace to the city. Without peace, no nation can even dream of prosperity and progress and for durable peace we should have a professional and unbiased police who people can trust and who can ensure security of life and property in society.
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Sunday, 27 November 2011 07:04 Written by Bang e Sahar
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Saturday, 26 November 2011 08:18 Written by Bang e Sahar
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Thursday, 24 November 2011 08:26 Written by Bang e Sahar
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