Jackson death ruled homicide, focus on doctor

GBC Watch
By: Xavier Briand
Aug 27-Sep 02
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Pop star Michael Jackson's death was ruled a homicide from drug overdose on Friday, fueling speculation his personal physician, Dr. Conrad Murray, may soon be charged with manslaughter or another crime. The Los Angeles County Coroner said in its ruling that the powerful anesthetic propofol, which is used in surgery and has been dubbed "milk of amnesia" by some doctors, as well as the sedative lorazepam were the primary drugs responsible for Jackson's sudden death on June 25 at the age of 50. Other drugs found in the singer's body were midazolam, diazepam, lidocaine and ephedrine.Los Angeles police said they will refer the case to prosecutors for possible criminal charges when they have completed a probe into Jackson's death. In previous court filings, police have said Murray, who was with the singer the day he died, was being investigated for manslaughter. Jackson, whose "Thriller" CD is the best-selling album of all time, died suddenly in Los Angeles after suffering cardiac arrest only weeks before a series of comeback concerts.Murray, a heart specialist with offices in Houston and Las Vegas, was hired to care for the singer while he prepared for the concerts, and he was at Jackson's bedside the day he died. The doctor previously has admitted to police that he administered propofol, which has a milky appearance and is used to sedate patients, to help Jackson sleep.RUSH TO CHARGE?
Police have looked into the activities of other Jackson doctors including his dermatologist. On Friday the California Attorney General's office said it will begin an independent investigation of several physicians whose names have come up in the Los Angeles police probe. Murray's attorney cautioned that the probe is not complete, nor are all the details of Jackson's death known."We will not be responding until we get a full autopsy report, including the entire list of drugs found in Mr. Jackson, their quantities, and all other data that would allow independent medical experts to analyze and interpret," attorney Ed Chernoff said in a statement.The coroner said the complete toxicology report remained sealed at the request of Los Angeles police and prosecutors. The list of drugs in Jackson's system provided by the coroner on Friday reads like a cocktail of sedatives, painkillers and one stimulant. Midazolam, which is similar to propofol, is used to make patients drowsy during procedures such as colonoscopies.Diazepam, the generic version of Valium, is used to calm anxiety, while lidocaine is a painkiller and ephedrine is a stimulant. Defense attorney Steve Cron, a professor at Pepperdine University School of Law, said Murray could face up to four years in prison if convicted of involuntary manslaughter. Forensics expert Dr. Lawrence Kobilinsky, who chairs the Department of Science at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, said prosecutors would look at the amount of propofol and other drugs in Jackson's system, whether errors were made in administering drugs in combination, and whether Murray gave proper dosages or a lethal dosage.Jim Cohen, a professor of law at Fordham University, said Murray could put up a vigorous defense. "It's not an open and shut case," he said. "Everyone says (propofol) can only be administered in a hospital setting. I'm sure they'll find some expert who says that's preferred, but preferred doesn't mean it's required." Reuters

Cell phone users witness addition of 1.21 million

VOH Watch
Aug 19-25
KARACHI, Aug 24:The number of total mobile phone users across the country has swelled by 1.21 million during July 2009. The addition has pushed the number of total cell phone users in the country to 95.6 million. Mobilink stood on top with maximum increase in its subscribers, followed by Telenor and Warid as second and third most subscribed mobile phone connection service. The stocks of telecom companies also witnessed stability in the local capital market during the month of July. Geo News


Miss Venezuela Stefania Fernandez wins Miss Universe 2009 title
VOH Watch
Aug 19-25
BAHAMAS, Aug 24, 2009: Miss Venezuela was the fairest of them all, again. Venezuelan Stefania Fernandez won the 2009 Miss Univere pageant in the Bahamas on monday. Dressed in a flowing red gown, Fernandez embraced runner up Miss Dominican Republic as the announcement was made, and received the crown from last year’s winner, Dayana Mendoza, of Venezuela. The other top-five finalists were Miss Kosovo, Miss Australia and Miss Puerto Rico. Venezuela, a beauty-obsessed South American country, has won the Miss Universe pageant six times. “I think this is the most beautiful group of women I’ve ever seen,” pageant co-owner Donald Trump told reporters. The top 15 finalists appeared in bathing suits before the final 10 were chosen for the evening gown segment. The final five answered questions from the judges. The televised event includes musical performances by Flo Rida, Heidi Montag, David Guetta and Kelly Rowland. Montag gave her first live performance, singing Body Language from her debut album. The Nation


Use of force shouldn’t be sole way to fight terror saysDr. Michael Koch
German envoy supports negotiated solution to Afghan imbroglio, greater access for Pakistani goods to EU markets

VOH Watch
By S. Malik
ISLAMABAD, Aug 24: German ambassador Dr Michael Koch opposes the use of term ‘war on terror’ and suggests cautious use of force only in unavoidable circumstances. “We do not talk about war on terror. We call it confrontation. We have to confront it (militancy), but force should be used only when necessary,” he said in an exclusive interview with Daily Times at the German embassy the other day. He said the ‘war on terror’ terminology had narrowed down the issue to deal it with force and insisted that force should not be the core factor to address terrorism. Dr Koch supported a negotiated solution to Afghan imbroglio. “We do believe in even talking to those we have serious disagreements with on issues,” the ambassador said, adding, “Issues like development of institutions and democracy could not be negotiated.” Dwelling on the Pak-German relations, Dr Koch said the two countries enjoyed excellent political, commercial, diplomatic and defence ties. However, he agreed that there was always room for improvement. “We have build up our relations over the years but still the two countries can do more to improve the mutual relations. This is a relation which allows for a lot of expansion and we are ready for it,” he said. He said the annual bilateral trade was over $2 billion and it could increase. He said Pakistan had huge potential for investment and hoped that German businessmen would utilize the opportunities offered by Pakistan. He committed to deepen the cultural relations between the two peoples and said that already 1,000 Pakistani students were studying in German universities. The ambassador said that Pakistan was the sixth biggest country whose economic potential had not been properly appreciated by various countries of the West. He asked the business community to pay more attention to Pakistan. To a question, he said Germany supported greater access of Pakistani goods to the EU markets. He said Pakistan deserved grater access due to its special security situation. He offered German expertise to Pakistan in exploring the alterative sources of energy to deal with the massive energy shortfall. He said German experience and Pakistani potential could pull the country out of the crisis. Dr Koch said that defence sector cooperation was also part of the bilateral discussions and a number of high-level visits had been made from the two sides to improve ties in this field. About cooperation at various international forums, he said the two countries differed over the issue of reform of the UN Security Council. Son of a German diplomat, Dr Koch was born in Kansas City, USA, on Sept 30, 1955 and attended school in Amsterdam, Bonn, Ottawa and Rabat. He joined German Foreign Service in April 1986. Later he did his PhD from the University of Bonn in 1990. He resumed his responsibilities as ambassador to Pakistan in Aug 2008. He also served as Head of the Political Department at the German Embassy, New Delhi, from 2001 to 2004, and as Head of the Special Task Force on Afghanistan at the Foreign Office, Berlin from 2004 to 2008. Praising Pakistani hospitality, Dr Koch said that the people of Pakistan generally had a lot of support for his country. He also appreciated Islamabad city for its proper planning . Dailytimes

Deepika have Akshay and crew to take care of her health.
VOH Watch
Aug 19-25
MUMBAI AUG 22:Bollywood doe-eyed beauty Deepika Padukone has been down with malaria in London; yet, thepretty actress has no time to take a break from her hectic work schedule! News says that Deepika is so committed that she rontinues to work inspite of her poor health and tooktime to fly own to Delhi for the release of her latest hit ‘Love Aaj Kal.’ Conversely, seeing a tired out Deepika, the entire crew of the film ‘Housefull’ including actor Akshay Kumar made the actress take a much-needed break. According to a source, “Since the cast involves many other permutations and combinations between Akshay and the rest of the cast they decided to let Deepika rest it out for a week and do scenes with the rest of the cast.” Buzz has it that an elated Deepika immediately called her family in the city where she was currently shooting. Deepika admitted that “My Dad, Mum and sister were here for a few days. I got to spend some much-needed time with them. I hardly get to visit them in India. They visit me in Mumbai more than I visit them in Bangalore. And they visit me when I’m abroad. They came to Bangkok during ‘Chandni Chowk To China.’ Now they were here in London. I don’t want them to come to boring places. They should’ve fun when they visit me.” Breaking News


Miss Universe 2009
VOH Watch
AUGUST 19-25

Nassau: ‘Miss Universe 2009’ contestants rehearse for the ‘Miss Universe 2009’ competition scheduled to air live on August 23. afp


New film of Michael Moore in Venice film festival lines-up
VOH Monitoring Report
AUGUST 19-25
Los Angeles August 01: Michael Moore’s film on the financial crisis and the directorial debut of US fashion designer Tom Ford will compete for the ‘Golden Lion’ award at this year’s Venice film festival, organisers said. “It’s one of the most surprising and strongest selections,” the event’s director Marco Muller told reporters in Rome. Twenty-four films will do battle for the festival’s top prize, including Moore’s ‘Capitalism: A Love Story’ and Ford’s ‘A Single Man’, based on Christopher Isherwood’s 1964 novel. The distributors of Moore’s film, Overture Films and Paramount Vantage, have said the movie will take “a comical look at the corporate and political shenanigans” that culminated in last year’s multi-billion-dollar Wall Street bailout. “The wealthy, at some point, decided they didn’t have enough wealth. They wanted more a lot more so they systematically set about to fleece the American people out of their hard-earned money,” Moore said in May. “Now, why would they do this? That is what I seek to discover in this movie,” added the oscar-winning director whose past targets have included President George W. Bush, the US healthcare system and the gun lobby. ‘A Single Man’, starring Colin Firth and Julianne Moore, is the first film by 48-year-old Ford, a former Gucci designer. In all more than 80 films will be presented at the festival. The jury for the 66th festival, which will run from September 2-12, will be chaired by Taiwanese film-maker Ang Lee, the Oscar-winning director of ‘Brokeback Mountain’. afp

Britney ‘Is Not Engaged
VOH Watch
Los Angeles July 31: Despite being snapped sporting a huge diamond ring last week, Britney Spears’ camp is insisting that she is not engaged to her agent Jason Trawick. Although the pair haven’t even confirmed they are dating, several outlets have reported that Trawick proposed to the singer during a recent holiday in the Bahamas. ‘He didn’t exactly get down on one knee but she said yes,’ said a one source.
‘They talked about their future for hours.’
All of which sounds awesomely romantic – if it had actually happened. It didn’t. ‘This is absolutely not true,’ says Spears’ camp. They are not engaged.' WeeklyMag

Preity Speaks Out!
VOH Watch
DELHI July 30: Even though Preity Zinta is believed to be at loggerheads with Shiney Ahuja over professional reasons, she has still come out in his full support negating the rape charges (Ahuja is charged with the rape of his 18-year-old maid). Speaking to a newspaper, the dimpled beauty said: “It’s very easy to slam someone when they are down. I think whatever’s happened is really unfortunate. I do have enormous faith in the judiciary and I’m sure they will do justice. The person also has parents and a family. One must think about what’s going on in their hearts and minds.” As for her reports that she is down and out after her much publicised break-up with the Wadia scion, the actress has snubbed them all as mere fabrications. " I’m single now and I would like to respect the relationship I had. I wouldn’t be with someone if I haven’t had an amazing time or for that matter if both of us haven’t had a great time. It’s over now and we both have moved on and I have a lot of respect for that person, so I would not like to dissect anything," she said.And as for the question whether they’ll continue to jointly own their IPL team, Preity said: “Of course we are still friends”.Weeklymag

Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty launches a spa in Mumbai
Bolly wood actress Shilpa Shetty (L) and her sister and co-star Shamita Shetty pose after the launch of a spa in Mumbai July 26, 2009. Picture taken July 26, 2009.

World War 1 Trenches Harry Patch Dies In 111 Age
VOH Watch
London July 26: The last British survivor of the World War I trenches, Mr Patch , has died at the age of 111. Mr Patch was Harry Patch Dies In 111 Aged conscripted into the Army aged 18 and fought in the Battle of Passchendaele at Ypres in 1917 in which more than 70,000 British soldiers died. He was raised in Combe Down, near Bath, and had been living at a care home in Wells, Somerset. The sole British survivor of World War I is now seaman Claude Choules who is aged 108 and lives in Australia. ‘Great man’ Henry Allingham, who served in the Royal Navy and the RAF in WWI, died at the age of 113 a week ago. Mr Patch’s biographer Richard Emden said he passed away at 0850 BST on Saturday morning. Mr Patch was conscripted into the Army aged 18 Prime Minister Gordon Brown said: “I had the honour of meeting Harry, and I share his family’s grief at the passing of a great man. “I know that the whole nation will unite today to honour the memory, and to take pride in the generation that fought the Great War.“The noblest of all the generations has left us, but they will never be forgotten. We say today with still greater force – ‘We will remember them’.” ‘True gentleman’ Mr Patch served as a private at the Third Battle of Ypres – known as Passchendaele – from June to September 1917 when he was seriously injured by a shell explosion which killed three of his friends. His friend Lesley Ross said she felt great affection towards him. “Extremely modest, dignified gentleman, with a slightly wicked sense of humour and considerate to everybody he met. Very polite and I would sum him up as a true gentleman,” she said. The Fletcher House care home said in a statement it extended its deepest sympathies to Mr Patch’s family and friends. Andrew Larpent, chief executive of Somerset Care, said Mr Patch died peacefully in his bed having been unwell for some time. “His friends and his family have been here. He just quietly slipped away at 9am this morning,” he said.“It was how he would have wanted it, without having to be moved to hospitals but here, peacefully with his friends and carers.”

The successors of George Washington
Till Obama

Question 1: In the morning of January 20, 2009 Barack Obama raises his right hand and placed his left hand on Abraham Lincoln’s inaugural Bible, as he takes the traditional oath. How many presidents preceded Obama?

Question 2: Joe Biden was sworn in as vice president by Supreme Court Justice J.Paul Stevens, while John Roberts the chief justice of the apex court took the oath from Obama. Justice Stevens thus became the 14th chief justice to take oath from president. Now the question: who was sworn in first whether the president or the vice president?

Question 3: In the US there is the tradition of referring to a former president as president. For instance, anyone making a speech will address Bill Clinton as President Clinton. By the way, perhaps the most revered American president in history remains Abraham Lincoln, who abolished slavery by issuing the Emancipation Proclamation. Which year was that?

Question 4: Abraham Lincoln was assassinated on April 14, 1865. Ninety-eight years later, another popular US president John F Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas. Two other presidents met the same fate. Can you name them?

Question 5: Operation Desert Storm, also called the first Iraq War in common parlance, was launched by George Bush senior and the full scale invasion of the oil rich country was engineered by his son, much to the condemnation of many countries in the world. Name the president whose government backed a coup against the government of Iraq, headed by Gen Abdel Karim Kassem?

Question 6: The two Bushes (if one may use the word) were not the only father and son to hold the Presidential position in the US; there was one more such instance, when John Adams and his son John Quincy Adams became presidents of the country. The son was the sixth president of the country, while the father was the second. What post did John Adams hold during the reign of George Washington, the first President of the US?

Question 7: The need for steady leadership during World War II (1939 to 1945) made it possible for the man in White House to break the tradition of holding the position for not more than two terms. He contested and won four successive elections between 1932 and 1944. Name the president.

Question 8: Bill Clinton was the third youngest to hold the office for two terms. Roosevelt was the first and John F Kennedy was the second. What important position did Clinton hold before contesting for the position of the president?

Question 9: President Nixon, whose contribution towards world peace included establishing detente with the USSR, initiating rapprochement with China, and bringing the Vietnam War to its conclusion, met an ignominious end, when he resigned for fear of being impeached. His crime was the attempt to cover up the Watergate Scandal. Name the President under whom Richard Nixon served as Vice President from 1953 to 1961.

Question 10: Back to Obama, which three former presidents attended the new president’s oath taking ceremony, apart from George W Bush?

(1) 43 (2) Vice president (3) 1863 (4) James Garfield and William McKinley (5) John F. Kennedy (6) He was the vice president (7) F.D. Roosevelt (8) Governor of Arkansas (9) Dwight D Eisenhower (10) President Carter, President George H W Bush and President Clinton.

Ten Most Expressive Words
There are many words to express some one's emotions but some of the most well known expressive words are as follow

1. The most bitter word is Alone

2. The most reverend, Mother

3. The most final, Death

4. The most beautiful. Love

5. The most cruel, Revenge

6.The most peaceful, Tranquil

7.The saddest, Forgotten

8.The warmest, Friendship

9. The coldest, No

10. The most comforting, Faith

Katrina Criticises Kareena

VOH Watch
Delhi July 26|:There’s no doubt that Bollywood actress Katrina Kaif has worked incredibly hard to bring her career to the profound level it is at today. Especially with her latest release ‘New York’, the actress was able to take the attention away from her beauty and draw it to her talent.
Well, now it seems like she’s on to criticising actresses who would use skin and good looks to draw an audience. Apparently Katrina Kaif said in an interview that Kareena Kapoor doesn’t need to wear short skirts or show off skin to get people to love her or her films. Apparently this was her way of saying that Kareena Kapoor’s draw was her body. Unfortunately for Katrina Kaif, her do-good attitude has probably drawn an enemy in Kareena Kapoor.

Paltrow’s mom did not want her daughter to become an actress

VOH Watch
Holywood July 26,:

Gwyneth Paltrow’s mother Blythe Danner has revealed that she had not wanted her daughter to follow in hers and late husband Bruce Paltrow’s footsteps.Danner, 66, who is an award winning actress, while her husband had been a director, had wanted her daughter to do something along the lines of saving the world.“We were pretty firm about her finishing her education but when we saw how talented she was we finally said okay,” she said.

List of CSS candidates selected for appointment

VOH Special Report:
ISLAMABAD: Consequent upon qualifying the Competitive Examination, 2008 conducted by the Federal Public Service Commission (FPSC), 357 candidates have been selected for appointment in the Occupational Groups/Services. Following is the detail of the groups/services allocated to the candidates:
Merit Vacancies: 24
Pakistan audit and accounts service - 04 vacancies
S.No Merit No Roll No Name of the candidate
1 71 6429 Saifullah Khan
2 82 3348 Muhammad Asif Raza
3 84 6119 Farooq Ahmed
4 89 4828 Waqar Paris Shah
Commerce and trade group- 03 vacancies
1 102 2519 Ali Sufian
2 103 0900 Aemen Javairia
3 117 4657 Muhammad Hasnain Haider Khan Langah

Customs and excise group: 02 vacancies
1 37 6065 Zainab Noman
2 44 0178 Junaid Mahmood

District management group: 03 vacancies
1 1 3790 Noor ul Ain Fatima
2 4 2441 Adnan Mahmood Awan
3 5 4669 Muhammad Khizer Afzaal
Foreign Service of Pakistan: 02 vacancies
1 2 0278 Huzefa Khanum
2 13 1574 Shahras Asim
Income tax group: 02 vacancies
1 81 4596 Hassan Mabroor
2 83 1616 Sonia Anwar Rana
Information group: 02 vacancies
1 171 1571 Shahid Rafiq
2 188 0530 Omar Liaqat
Office management group:03 vacancies
1 96 5087 Gulzaman
2 128 4067 Saqib Ali Khan
3 131 3163 Mansoor Ali Masood
Police Service of Pakistan:02 vacancies
1 3 3582 Muhammad Sohaib Ashraf
2 9 1153 Kamran Mumtaz
Postal Group: 01 vacancy
1 176 1675 Touqeer Ahmed Khan
Punjab vacancies:179 [merit: 160] [women:19]

NOTE: For more information please visit www.fpsc.org

165 million additional US aid announced for IDPs
US, Pakistan and India should jointly face terrorism-Holbrooke

Special Monitoring Report
July 20-27
ISLAMABAD: The United States on yesterday announced approximately $165 million additional aid for humanitarian relief, early recovery and long-term reconstruction efforts for internally displaced persons (IDPs) from Swat and neighbouring districts. At a joint press conference with Minister of State for Finance and Revenue Hina Rabbani Khar, US special envoy Richard Holbrooke hoped the pledged funds would help meet the changing needs of the displaced families in the country. US assistant secretary Eric Schwartz, who was also present, explained the utilisation of funds and said $45 million would be used to support the locally-driven rehabilitation of basic infrastructure, including the water system, health cilities, schools and roads. He said $30 million would be utilised for the development of small-scale infrastructure and community development grants for the IDPs in NWFP, adding that $25 million would be used togive the IDPs resources needed to rebuild houses. This would be facilitated through community-driven, quick-impact cash-for-work programmes. This also includes programmes for rebuilding public buildings to facilitate the return of civil servants. He said $23 million would be contributed to the UNHCR for humanitarian relief and $20 million for rebuilding education infrastructure across Dir, Swat, and Buner. $12 million will be contributed to the ICRC for its operations, especially for those who need to trace their family members, he said, adding that $10 million would be used for immediate livelihood and agriculture programmes for the IDPs. Terrorism: The US special envoy also proposed trilateral cooperation between the US, Pakistan and India to fight terrorism. Holbrooke said cooperation in the war on terror did not mean undoing the historical background of the Pak-India tension, but coming together as “US, Pakistan and India face a common enemy and task”. “In the western part of this country [Pakistan], there are people who attack the US, Pakistan and India, who killed Benazir Bhutto and who say they would continue doing so,” Holbrooke claimed.
He said the Taliban moved freely across the Pak-Afghan border, saying that Taliban on the Pakistani side were different from those on the other side, but the two sides still cooperated with each other.
Holbrooke expressed full US support for Pakistan, saying President Barack Obama’s administration was committed to support Pakistan and its people during “this complicated time”. “We are using every resource available with the support of the congress to help Pakistan,” he said. Holbrook said the Kerry-Lugar Bill would ensure $1.5 billion annual assistance for Pakistan over the next five years, adding that the US had pledged $330 million for the people displaced from Swat and announced an additional $165 million for rehabilitation of those people. The special envoy said the US completely supported the country’s democratic government. “US support democracy in Pakistan without reservations, Pakistan deserves it, though it [democracy] may be mess at times,” he said. Holbrooke said Pakistan had moved forward and its situation was much better than a few months ago. He also appreciated the recent meeting between Nawaz Sharif and Asif Ali Zardari for promoting political reconciliation.


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Discerning social Change in Gilgit-Baltistan

Discerning social Change in Gilgit-Baltistan
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Mission Statement & Weekly VoH Publishing team

Voice of Voiceless

The blog aims to disseminate the accurate regional information without consideration of race, color, ethnicity, religion and ideology to the valuable readers across the globe. We promise to abide with the moral and professional ethics of citizen journalism through this medium of communication. The voiceless masses of this one of the most beautiful places on earth, situated in Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan experience hard times due to continuous natural and man made disasters which have left them at surviving stage. Shortly speaking, in a short span of time, Hunza valley has embraces a steady socio-economic and ecological development making it self an authentic book to read about or take a model for rest of far flung valleys bordering Chines Sinkiang province in the extreme north of the country. The haphazard material development in this comparatively small area has also served to create various socio-economic and ethical problems which ultimately served to shake the fabrics of very roots and foundations of culture and civility among dwellers. On geo-political front, analysts find a very little say of a common man in the major decisions related to regional socio-economic development, violation of meritocracy by mafias in political parties, pressure groups which safe guard their own interests, a unbridled bureaucracy, corrupt regimes that patronizing nepotism or favoritism and who wield powers in Gilgit, the main hub and capital of Gilgit-Baltistan. Rapid increase in expenditures ranging from general commodity price hikes to transportation has left no option or time for people to think on other issues.
The so called Economic-Recession, unequal distribution of wealth, concentration of opportunities towards certain beings, lack of social responsiveness and transparency in government sector and no check and balance on private sector has brought its ugly implication in terms of high unemployment, depression among the youngsters, anxiety and hatred towards system of governance.
We vow to bring fore the issues of common man at grass root level, strive to highlight irregularities in government sector and flaws in public policy and finance in a democratic way. We shall continue to give our opinion on issues of importance and determine to prove a viable platform to have a positive role for public welfare, inter-communal harmony, integrity and social justice.
Amid such a situation when even the survival of country is on stake and is defamed due to continual terrorist incidents throughout the our county, we may pray for a peaceful and prosperous future of the nation. May Lord save the peaceful Gilgit-Baltistan region from the evil designs of devils in human form.

The blog has been developed and upgrading by the efforts of the following dedicated volunteers.

Board of Editors
Editor: Shamsuddin Muhammad

Co-editor: Inam Karim
Email: inamkarim02@gmail.com

Reporting Team
Karachi: Sartaj Karim
Email: sartaj_compaq@hotmail.com

Hunza: Naeem Hamoon
Email: naeemhmn@hotmail.com

Gilgit: Aslam Shah

Email: hunzaishah@gmail.com

Islamabad: Ikramullah Baig
Email: hunza_havenonearth@yahoo.com

Voice of the voiceless!

The blog is a venture with exclusive news updates, unbiased analysis and opinion on historical, cultural, ecological, socio-economic, geopolitical and administrative issues and events occurring in country in general and the region particular. It would serve as a portfolio of credible information retained first hand from own and secondary reliable electronic and print media sources and aspire to become a powerful voice for a common man. We are committed to adhere with the professional ethics of citizen journalism, a new trend to shackle the chains of excessive curb over dissemination of reality either for any cause in the name of so-called sensor, with maximum possible accuracy and least deviation while delivering information to show the real side of picture of events so that our valuable readers will have an alternative portal to know what developments are going on various levels, particularly backward areas like that of Gilgit-Baltistan, Balochistan, Azad Jamu and Kahsmir, Tribal areas etc., across the country. One can easily discern a great social change in terms of attitudes, perceptions both in individual and society; values and reaction to the variables in daily life patterns among the dwellers of the comparatively backwards areas like Gilgit-Baltistan, a deprived region of its fundamental rights for more than six decades of its liberation from colonial yolk. In a quest to voice over issues of vital importance, keeping closer to circle of concern, Hunza, a name famous for its beauty and rich cultural heritage has been selected to represent as a case to further the cause and issues of the rest of the region. Virtually, the region especially Hunza-Nagar retained a rapid development with a short span of time after remaining isolated for centuries to out side world. The blog also aims focus largely to identify core areas from on bottom or grass root level to the top. Keeping due consideration of inter-religious harmony, tolerance, respecting pluralism, diversity, mutual respect, democracy, equal opportunity and other aspects of human rights and professional values of journalism, the blog will serve as a binding force and medium of voice of the voiceless people of the area with reference to Gilgit-Baltistan region.

The idea of creation of this blog came into my mind during a visit after spending few years of career at Karachi, capital of Southern province to the region. While traveling from south pole of the country to north, I experienced many new changes nearly in all aspects of life explicit in urban areas and implicit in rural belts: people have opted to modern technology, availed faster means of communication; task centered behavior, selfishness, following short-cuts, chase of wealth and more opportunities in their career and many more that made their lives much more easier but crazier than before. Nevertheless, the scene suddenly turned bit dim when I entered the region of Gilgit-Baltistan. I could not believe my eyes that this was the Gilgit I saw four years ago. Many things, except the faces were utterly unchanged formats primitive outlook. The Chinese bridge that linked Danyore and Gilgit and a main source of transportation was no more. Few people told me that few journalists have lost their lives in lethal road accident due to lack of arrangements on part of concerned authority to avoid the incident. Karakorum High Way (KKH), one of the highest truck able route and so-called eighth wonder in the world is under construction and many places portray nothing but a passage through a rough stony pasture. It took nearly twenty four hours from Rawalpindi to reach after an exhaustive journey to Hunza, my home town, compared to nineteen hours in past. The scenario seemed worse in Hunza, my home town which remained unchanged for last four years except a drastic decline in standard of living of more than fifty percent of the population. One may think that people have replaced muddy homes with cement ones but that are not the real yardstick of measurement of both mental and material development. Infrastructure, fixtures, telecommunication systems were largely depreciated to their estimated life coupled with inappropriate number of personnel required in educational, administrative and health institutions. The so-called economic meltdown that started from American giant Leman soon took the world into its tyrant claws, shaking many stable economies of the world including the rural areas of developing states- a big example of negligence and subjugation by the rulers of respective countries where people live not above the level of animals. Apart from the allegations on policy makers of industrialized nations having economic interest only, the poor, irrational, incompetent, self-centered and corrupt leadership in Pakistan like other third world countries where immature economies spends it larger portion of budget expenditure on defense could not resist the negative consequences of economic crisis in terms of high rate of unemployment, recession, right or down sizing, price hikes, violation of consumer rights and so on. Hunza-Nagar, like other parts of Gilgit-Baltistan was no exception. The smiling faces that greeted us once warmly few years ago turned unhappy for the crisis brought its ugly implication on the daily life pattern of an individual thus sucking down the unique attributes of population: courtesy, generosity and hospitality. Having a so-called high rate of literacy in the country unfortunately, the region is facing many problems ranging from health to drinking water and energy sector. To many, it was because of lack of geo-political awareness and excessive tendency towards NGO culture where people little bother to beg their rights from the states besides emphasis on duties. Historical chronicles vindicate that the region remained in isolation for many centuries due to a specific location and lack of access to out side world. Many dynasties ruled the area that hardly accepted change in a traditionally sophisticated feudal based society. The wheel of transition continued to move and finally the area got librated through a mutiny with the help of indigenous population from the clutches of Dogra subjugation. Later, the area was affiliated with Pakistan vide a secret treaty called Karachi Treatise as defacto part, unconditionally. Gilgit-Baltistan region got on real terms an impetus to grow from zero level with the visit of three icons of development: Aga Khan, President Ayub Khan and Z.A.Bhutto- a historic event of its nature with long standing implications on live of the people of the region.The area could hardly observed any impulse for more than half dozen years of affiliation with Pakistan when Sir Sultan Muhammad Shah, Aga Khan (3rd) first time introduced Diamond Jubilee Schools network during mid fifties in the region. A real phase of development gain impetus when Shah Karim Alhusaini, Aga Khan (fourth) stepped in the region, a population with miserable conditions in 1960. He initiated many new projects in different aspect of life, strengthening the existing educational network under the umbrella of Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) for the betterment and uplift standard of living of masses lived under poverty line. Aga Khan Development Network in collaboration with donor agencies, with a view to bring social change from grass roots level, initiated rural support programme and other services for less-privileged societies in the region. In simple words, initial projects were stretched to new areas under AKDN umbrella ranging from self-entrepreneurship to planning and building services. These development programmes served a catalyst for a common man who, earlier was confine to a certain limit where facilities and perks were confined to a specific creed, definitely a big change in society led to process of decline of so-called nobility. By, 1974, Z.A.Bhutto, chief of Pakistan Peoples Party and his cabinet undertook a disintegrated country following the fall of Dhaka, albeit eliminating princely status of numerous states gave them democratic structures, initiated socio-economic, political and administrative reforms in civil services cadres under 1973 constitution of Pakistan. These reforms opened a path for further reforms in tribal and affiliated princely states, mostly in mountain regions. Elders assert, by 1976, when Bhutto abolished the princely status of the units and replaced the princely flag with that of the country declared region formally its de-fecto part. The new development allowed for the first time a limited right of franchise and representation in a parallel council governed from capital. He in collaboration with international donor agencies like UNICEF and World Food Programme helped ensure provision of basic necessities like food to indigenous population still in poor conditions. He gave word to poor and enables to build his destiny. The facility fell a prey of Zia-ul-Haq who abolished the programme to benefit his favorite breed. He altered such programmes to facilitate Mujahideen busy fighting Afghan war against Soviet invasion on behalf of American assistance. By, 1988, before the withdrawal of USSR, Zia regime played a dirty game: as an integral strategy to get parallel success, he supported a breed of militants to eliminate all those against his faith in Gilgit-Baltistan. Unfortunately, the indigenous people could not understand his nefarious designs under the veil of religion that had to sustain his regime using divide and rule tactic and nothing to do with public welfare fell a prey of communal discord. Thousands of innocent people were brutally killed without a reason from both sides and this in turn sowed the seeds of sectarianism thus introducing a Kalashnikov culture in this region. On country’s political front, frequent interventions of military in politics in the wake of undemocratic moves of leadership, double standard attitude of bureaucracy and excessive influence of establishment forces harmed political evolution during last sixty two years of country's history. A finest dictatorship is considered worse than a worse democracy for it largely overlook the opinion of masses. The undemocratic regimes since 1952 onwards in general and during dictators’ regimes left people with no option but to support immature, corrupt and unable leadership confined to their self interests coupled with narrow vision. On global front, with the withdrawal of USSR from Afghanistan, American administration started to shift its strategy of dependency and support for Pakistan especially that to check movement and expansion of communist philosophy, an anxiety among the then US policy planners. Political front once again passed through a new change in 1999 when military took over in October 1999. Numerous Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), both national and international rapport delivered remarkable work since 1990s to 2004 in many sectors like education, health, cultural preservation, design and building.

History repeated itself, but in a new form under different circumstances after cold war, when terrorists attacked twin towers of World Trade Centre, an icon of prestige and glory of America killing thousands of innocent people as a response to US policies inviting a fresh hostility between US and Islamist groups or in other words initiated an open conflict between two countering forces. To some, hidden forces worked behind the incident: Muslims thought it was a Judaist elements while to Europe and US a strike of Islamist elements; even the then Bush administration alleged Islamist groups behind this nefarious act to initiate an open armed struggle to defy its policies and interests. The September 11 incident served a cause to create sufferings for the Muslim communities residing in America and Europe. Being a sponsoring source of Jihadist elements, Pakistan was in real trouble as it was asked either ally the US or ready to go into stone age. Consequently, Pervez Musharraf took U-turn in state policy against billions of dollars as assistance. Once again, US dependency on Pakistan after Afghan war, in an endless war against an invisible enemy in terms of Osama started, leading farmer to think to gain control over natural resources in Afghanistan and Central Asian states. As a state, Pakistan endured many hardships, mostly from inside elements, Majority of our political leadership, for instance is largely nurtured under the aegis of military establishments and always ready to achieve their own interest lest it comes to compromise on national matters, evident from the successive overthrowing of representative regimes. They could not deliver any remarkable to uplift the standard of living of a common man except false promises. It was the Musharraf regime which can be given credit for many reasons: allowed a national government to complete its five year tenure, introduced local government systems for dicentralization of power though a move to by pass the then political and administrative forces like his predecessors military dictators to bolster one man show. Apart from few of blunders in terms of killing of Akbar Bugti, subjugation of judiciary, appointment of army on service and retired personnel in institutions offering higher education, other key positions in major public organiztions and using force as a decisive force instead of dialogue his regime can be recalled for many things during last eight years. He was the first who put hand on non-state actors, brought changes in status of deprived regions like Gilgit-Baltistan bringing reforms and took initiatives to improve education and health facilities. He gave us an International University, increased woman representation, empowered Northern Light Infantry, established N.A scouts and notified Hunza-Nagar district and many more. Yet, at the same time on mass level, despite many accomplishments, it failed to address the real issues of poor. Giant fishes got most and poor further got depressed as the regime greatly revolved around the interests of Chaurdhries and lords. December 2007, shall be remembered a black day when Benazir Bhutto, a female leader of international repute was assassinated at the same place where one of the most famous Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan as killed. Country fell into chaos and observed an extreme internal and internal threat to her existence second time after 1971. Good heaven, the situation soon normalized. With the dawn of democracy, based on Benazir Bhutto's sacrifice has brought a hope of change of image of the country in global economy. PPP led contemporary government has given a new Self Governance Reforms Package 2009 ahead of poles to empower the assembly to legislate on various subjects not allowed in past and choose their own Chief Minister unanimously with the consent of Prime Minister, the head of set up-a good initiative after Z.A Bhutto's compassions for the region. The package has opened a door for more autonomy resembles to that of Azad Kashmir. Though, there are many flaws in the package yet, it will serve to reduce feeling of deprivation among the masses.

There is another side of the picture that the poor performance in many of the departments in government sector during last two years has raised many questions in our mind regarding its capability to cope the challenges that the country faces internally and externally. Public welfare, security from internal and external aggressions and provision of basic necessities to the citizens is the fundamental responsibilities of modern states. Yet, more focus on external threats under security syndrome has left the country nothing but to expend on defense-thus neglecting other sectors like education, strategic personnel planning, health, trade and industry and exploitation of natural resources to strengthen our economy. As for as the private sector especially the NGOs are concerned, the are now confine to reporting to get funds, roam and measure the length of roads in their luxury vehicles. Now it depends on flow of events that will decide the future course of history.

Shamsuddin Muhammad,

Author and Editor,



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About Me

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Hyderabad,, IslamicRepublic of Pakistan, Pakistan
I am social person with a tendency towards learning knowledge that will balance the material world and the hereafter, a legacy obtained from the family. I earned my MA (General History with specialization in Modern History) and M.A.S (Master of Administrative siences with speciliazation in HRM) both from University of Karachi in 2005 and 2007 respectively, am fond of social work and public welfare. The blog focuses on social change caused by socio- economic and geo-political impulse in the country in general and the region particular.