US to shift its focus to Eastern border
GBC Report
Sep 10-16
WASHINGTON, Sep 14: (Shamsuddin Muhammad) According to a news bulletin of ARY television network, America is going to shift its focus to the Eastern border as a final strategy in war against terrorism. The report says that US is planning to increase its focus on border between Afghanistan and Pakistan to counger insurgency. According to Dr. Hasan Askari, a defence analyst, it is had to predict that how far US will succeed in this regard;the time will itself determine the situation. "America is not facing the same pressure like that was on on USSR by international community to oust from Aghanistan. Yet, it seems indispensible to plan withdrawl next year," he added. While many experts terms it can be a US excuse to take both a gradual control on atomic assets and check developments in China and Russia.
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Free flour distribution: death toll reaches 18 in stampede
GBC Monitor
Sep 10-16
KARACHI, Sep. 14: (Geo News) Eighteen both women and children died due to stampede and suffocation during free distribution of ration in Khori Garden area here on Monday. Like previous years, the flour was distributed free this year too by a trader Chaudhry Iftikhar in a very populous area of Khori Garden in Jodia Bazar where the stampede took place due to huge gathering and 18 people including women and children died of uffocation and slipping from stairs of the building. Those dies and injured in this sad incident were taken to the Civil Hospital. According to CCPO Karachi Waseem Ahmed, the medico legal officer of the Civil Hospital confirmed 18 deaths. The CCPO said that adequate arrangements were not made at the place where free atta was being distributed while the police was also not informed of this distribution. The Karachi police chief told that trader Chaudhry Iftikhar has been arrested and liability in the incident would be determined after the investigation, Geo news reported.

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Pakistan can gain from Chinese experiences; President Zardari
GBC  Watch
September 10-16 ISLAMABAD, Sep 13 (APP): President Asif Ali Zardari Saturday said Pakistan can gain a lot from the Chinese experiences, and these can be emulated in Pakistan for achieving greater development. He was talking to Chinese ambassador in Pakistan Luo Zhaohui, who called on him here at the Presidency and exchanged views on bilateral relations. The President while talking to the ambassador, said that Pakistan attaches high value to its relations with china and takes pride in the success story of China. He said that Pakistan was keen to further strengthen existing bilateral relations and enhance the strategic economic cooperation between the two countries. The President recalled his recent visit to Hangzhou and Guangzhou provinces of China, and said that his quarterly visits to China would enhance the strategic economic cooperation between the two countries. He said, the visits were also aimed at learning from the Chinese development model that can be applied in Pakistan. The Chinese ambassador said that China and Pakistan enjoy an exemplary relationship with a high degree of mutual trust, understanding and convergence of views on bilateral, regional and international issues The ambassador said that the President visits to China had been instrumental in further boosting Sino- Pak bilateral relations in all fields.Later a Chinese delegation led by Jiang Liaxiang of Poly Technologies Inc. a leading state- owned enterprise of China, called on President Asif Ali Zardari. Chinese ambassador in Islamabad Luo Zhaohui was also present during the meeting. The Meeting was attended by secretary General to the President M. Salman Faruqui, Secretary Defence, Secretary Defence Production and other high officials.The President said, the deep rooted political ties between China and Pakistan needed to be translated into strong economic ties. Jiang Liaxiang briefed the President about the working of the company, and said that Poly Technologies could assist Pakistan in strengthening its civilian security forces. Assiciated Press of Pakistan

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Harassing Americans will hurt Pakistan: Haqqani
GBC  Watch Dog
Sep 10-16
LAHORE, Sep 13: Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US Husain Haqqani has written to the foreign secretary and chief of the ISI, warning them that harassing Americans or denying them visas hurts the country’s image and can have severe consequences, CNN-IBN reported on Saturday. According to the channel, Haqqani’s letter, dated July 28, 2009, reveals that Pakistan has a blacklist of US journalists and non-government organisations (NGO) that are critical of Islamabad. The ambassador has warned that Pakistan risked hearings in the US Congress and potential restrictions on aid and military sales if US citizens were harassed or intimidated. The letter mentioned instances where US institutions or journalists were denied visas, harassed or put under surveillance. Haqqani has demanded explanations for these actions and a copy of the blacklist. Seperately, a spokesman for the Pakistan embassy in the US has refused to comment on Haqqani’s letter, cal ling it a ‘national secret’. Dailytimes

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Nawaz calls on King Abdullah
GBC Monitoring
Sep10-16
MAKKAH MUKARRAMAH, Sep 13: Quaid Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) and former Prime Minister of Pakistan Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif has called on Saudi King Shah Abdullah Abdul Aziz here early on Sunday morning which was also attended by PML-N leader Ishaq Dar and Nawaz’s son Hussain Nawaz, Geo news reported.Nawaz Sharif, on the occasion, extended congratulation on the eve of sacred lunar month of Ramazan-ul-Mubark besides, two leaders exchanged views over the issues of mutual interests including national, regional and international situations.The meeting was held here at Al-Suffa Palace in Makkah Mukkarama, whereat every year, Khadim-e-Haramain Sharifain King Shah Abdullah Abdul Aziz stays on the occasion on Ramazan-ul-Mubarak. Two leaders met in a very pleasant atmosphere, which lasted for over an hour, sources said.Geo News

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Two key Militant commanders arressted: ISPR
GBC Watch
Sep 10-16

PESHAWAR, Sep 12: (By Muhammad Ali) According to a press release Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), two of the highest ranking Taliban leaders, Muslim Khan and Mehmood Khan have been arrested in a military operation on Friday. The detained including three other Taliban sub-comanders who were active in thier respective areas. Both Muslim Khan and Mehmood Khan carried head money of Rs 10 milion each were among the most-wanted persons behind Fazlullah. While the other detainees include: Fazle Ghaffar, Abdul Rehman and Sartaj, a military statement said.

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Terrorists on run as majority of them captured, eliminated: Qamar Zaman Kaira
GBC Watch
Sep 10-16
ISLAMABAD, Sep 12 (APP): Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Qamar Zaman Kaira Saturday said terrorists are on the run as majority of their leaders have either been captured or eliminated.“After successful military operation in Swat our forces are now taking action against extremists hiding in other areas to completely eradicate this menace from Pakistan,” he said while talking to US Ambassador to Pakistan, Ms. Anne W. Patterson, who called on the Minister here. “Our actions have yielded successful results because the whole nation stands united behind the democratic government and armed forces in the country’s war against terrorism,” Kaira said. Informing Ms. Patterson about his Ministry’s ongoing counter-terrorism communications, media and public outreach initiatives, the Minister said the government was fighting a war against terrorism operationally as well as ideologically. “This is not only a battle of bullets but also a war of ideas,” he said, adding “we are fighting the extremist mindset to make our country a tolerant and peaceful place. Pakistan has a rich legacy of a pluralist and tolerant culture, which needs to be revived as the best social response against forces of intolerance and violent extremism.” Appreciating Pakistan’s efforts, Ambassador Patterson reiterated the US support for the democratic government and its fight against terror. Associated Press of Pak
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Stop blame game, come to table, Malik tells India
By Tahir Niaz
Monitoring desk
September 10-16
ISLAMABAD, Sep 12:Interior Minister Rehman Malik urged India on Friday to stop “the blame” over the Mumbai terror attacks, and called on New Delhi to sit down to the negotiating table to resolve outstanding issues.Addressing journalists at PIMS Hospital after calling on the ailing father of federal Environment Minister Hameedullah Jan Afridi, Malik said Pakistan had been successful in arresting two more “culprits” involved in the Mumbai attacks.He said Pakistan had always been sincere with New Delhi in sorting out issues, and urged New Delhi to refrain from levelling allegations against Islamabad. He said India should give Pakistan a chance to investigate the attacks.“Negotiations held while sitting across the table from each other are the only solution to problems,” said Malik, inviting the New Delhi to hold .talks with Islamabad either in India or in Pakistan instead of other countries.He said the trial of those involved in the Mumbai attacks was in progress, and hoped that day-to-day proceedings would begin after Eid and the trial completed within two to three months.Commenting on the release of Jamaatud Dawa (JD) chief Hafiz Saeed, Malik said he was released by a Pakistani court, and called on India to respect the country’s courts and wait until the trial is over. Dailytimes

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Zardari hosts Iftar-dinner for editors, anchorpersons
GBC Watch
Sep10-16 ISLAMABAD, Sep 12 (APP): President Asif Ali Zardari on Friday hosted an Iftar-dinner for private television channels’ anchorpersons, owners, editors and newspapers columnists.The President mixed up with them, and informally discussed matters of national importance.The Iftar-dinner was also attended by Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira, Secretary Information Ashfaq Gondal, Principal Information Officer Rashid Ahmed and Pakistan Peoples Party Information Secretary Fauzia Wahab.Associated Press of Pak.
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Church torched in Sialkot over ‘desecration’
GBC Monitor
September 10-16
LAHORE, Sep 12: An angry mob torched a church in Sambarial area of Sialkot over alleged desecration of the holy Quran, a private TV channel reported on Friday. According to the channel, a Christian boy snatched the holy Quran from a 10-year-old girl and allegedly disrespected it. After the incident, an infuriated mob set a church on fire.Police cordoned off the area to prevent any untoward incident, the channel reported.Early last month, a Muslim mob had attacked a Christian neighbourhood in Gojra over reported desecration of the holy Quran in a nearby village.Federal Minority Affairs Minister Shahbaz Bhatti has condemned the incident and directed the police and authorities to arrest the perpetrators and submit a report within 24 hours, APP reported.app

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Saudis come to Musharraf’s rescue- King Abdullah calls on Pakistani leadership to abide by agreement
gbc Monitor
Aug 26-Sep 02
LAHORE, Sep 04: The Saudi authorities have formally sent a message to the Pakistani leadership that they want stability in Pakistan, with King Abdullah urging all stakeholders to abide by an agreement that rules out any action against former president Pervez Musharraf, reported a private TV channel on Tuesday. Saudi royal family sources said that during a meeting between Interior Minister Rehman Malik and the Saudi king, a “clear message” was given to the government that a confrontation between the PPP and the PML-N and any step against Musharraf could affect the country’s political stability.The channel reported that the Saudi king played the role of a guarantor at the time of Musharraf’s resignation and assured the former president that no action would be taken against him. The king said if a party or an individual backed out of the agreement reached, Pak-Saudi relations would be affected. Nawaz travels to Saudi Arabia next week to hold meetings with officials, who would “force him to abide by the agreement”, said the sources, adding that the Saudi king wanted to defuse the tensions because he had been told Musharraf was considering making important disclosures about Nawaz and President Asif Ali Zardari in London that included talk of Saudi Arabia as well. Musharraf – who is currently in Saudi Arabia – met the Saudi intelligence chief, who was an important player in Nawaz’s return to Pakistan, and discussed issues related to his trial. Dailytimes

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Iran will start laying gas pipeline in Pakistan next year
GBC Watch
Aug 26-Sep02
ISLAMABAD, Sep. 01: Iran will start laying the pipeline for gas supply in Pakistan next year, sources said on Monday.The decision was made on Monday, the first day of three-day talks between officials of the two countries.The sources said the design of the gas pipelines was discussed in detail on the first day of the meeting. The project would require 784 kilometres of pipeline, which would cost $1.25 billion, they said, adding that both sides would also deliberate on issues relating to the project’s operational plan in their next meeting. Pakistan would start receiving gas supply from Iran in 2013. Daily times

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Balochistan shuts down over operation, arrests
GBC Watch
July 28-Aug 04
QUETTA Aug 03: A complete shutter-down strike was observed in parts of Balochistan on Sunday against the ongoing operation and the arrests of Baloch leaders. The strike was called by the Baloch Republican Party. Markets in Quetta’s Liaquat Bazaar, Abdul Sattar Road, Prince Road, Kandahari Bazaar, Jinnah Road, Saryab Road, Double Road and in Mastung, Qalat, Khuzdar, Turbat, Panjgore, Noshanki, Taftan and Dalbadin remained closed. The Anti-Terrorist Force, Balochistan Constabulary and police personnel patrolled streets and roads, while heavy contingent of police were deployed on all main highways. Security personnel checked all vehicles entering Barori Road, Sabzal Road, Mano Jan Road and Saryab Road. Dailytimes



Negligence of officials blamed for Gojra riots
 Monitoring Report
July 28-Aug 04
TOBA TEK SINGH: As the death toll in violence against the Christian community rose to seven, relatives of the victims blocked the Multan-Faisalabad section of the railway track for over six hours on Sunday by placing on the track the coffins of the people killed in Gojra on Saturday. They protested against attacks on their houses and burning alive of seven members of their community by a mob. Rangers patrolled the area as shops and businesses remained closed. Violence had broken out in a Gojra village on Thursday after an alleged incident of desecration of the Holy Quran during a wedding ceremony. Dawn News







Gojra Violence: FIR registered against 800 unidentified men
GBC Watch
July 28-Aug 04
GOJRA Aug 03: Case has been registered against 17 known and 783 unknown people on charges including those of killing, attempt to kill and terrorism following Saturday’s violent incidents in Gojra. The case was registered on the request of Church Bishop while the families of the victims staged protest against the killings by laying bodies of their loved ones on railway tracks. The bereaved families demanded immediate arrest of the people responsible for the violence. Rangers, who took control of the city, have started patrolling in Gojra. Spokesman of the Rangers has said that the situation is now totally under control. Meanwhile, Chief Minister Punjab, Shahbaz Sharif has announced Rs500,000 for each bereaved family and directed the Commissioner and RPO to stay in the area till normalcy is restored in Gojra. Minister of Law Rana Sanaullah has said that police, launching a crack down on miscreants, has arrested over 100 people. Police says Abdul Khalid, member of a banned organization, is among the arrested. livePakistan Ghee, cooking oil prices rise in Karachi KARACHI Aug 03: Prices of 16 kilograms/litres Ghee and cooking oil have witnessed an increase of Rs20 and Rs40 respectively. According to market sources, the price of 16 kg Ghee rose by Rs85 to Rs1690 while cooking oil registered a rise of Rs40 to Rs1620 per 16 litres. The above increases have pushed the retail prices of Ghee to Rs105.62 per kg and cooking oil to Rs101.25 per litre. All Pakistan Banaspati Manufacturers Association has cited the increase in international palm oil price and decline in rupee value as reasons for the rise in Ghee and cooking oil prices in the local markets. Geo News


PM’s adviser opposes Diamer-Bhasha Dam
Start of work on $11.8 bn project in doldrums
July 21-July27
ISLAMABAD: Adviser to the Prime Minister on Water Kamal Majidullah on Friday shocked the authorities concerned and development planners when he vehemently opposed the construction of $11.8 billion Diamer-Bhasha Dam in a meeting of the Central Development Working Party (CDWP), The News has learnt. The meeting was chaired by Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Sardar Aseff Ahmad Ali.The regime, since long, has been claiming that work on the dam portion will kick off in the current year, but the adviser placed his own government in an
awkward position by coming down heavily on the decision to construct the dam, arguing the country had just water of 106 million acre feet (MAF) and the government should go for the dam only when the country had 142 million acre feet of water. Kamal also objected to the location of the dam, saying it should be located somewhere else where the land was used for crops cultivation. “We need the dam around where we can improve the water level of the land, but crops cannot be cultivated in the area of the proposed dam.” He argued the provinces were not being taken on board on the issue. He also opposed the construction of dams, saying for a long time no dams had been constructed in the US and India, too, discouraged it. He advised the government should construct dams along the barrages.
Sindh, in the meeting, also linked the construction of Diamer-Bhasha dam with conducting study about the impact of the dams first on River Indus. The low riparian province also took up the proposed price of 13 cents electricity to be generated by Diamer-Bhasha dam and declared the said price was too high. The province referred to the 5.3 cents per unit power tariff of Thar coal power project, which was not approved in the past. Keeping in view the objections raised by the adviser on water issues and Sindh representatives, the planning commission deputy chairman constituted a committee to look into the water availability and hydel prices issue. The committee, consisting of PARC chairman, member (water) Wapda, ministry of food & agriculture secretary, member (energy) planning commission and one representative from each province, would submit a report on the availability of water within 2-3 weeks. The constitution of the committee may jeopardise the initiation of construction of the dam in the current year.When contacted Planning Commission Secretary Ashraf M Hayat said since Diamer-Bhasha dam was a large project, therefore, its every aspect needed to be deliberated in detail. (Dailytimes)



Extremism bigger threat than India, says Musharraf

GBC Report 

July20-July 27 LAHORE: Extremism and terrorism from the Taliban and Al Qaeda, and not India, are the biggest threats to Pakistani society, General (r) Pervez Musharraf has told Karan Thapar of CNN-IBN’s Devil’s Advocate programme, however, the situation would have to be re-examined if “there are threatening noises coming from the Indian side”. The interview, recorded on Wednesday in London and being aired on Saturday and Sunday in two parts, also questioned whether Pakistan was providing official patronage to anti-India groups. Musharraf denied such reports, saying they were not being granted official patronage. To questions on back channel talks between India and Pakistan during his tenure as president, Musharraf agreed with the comments of an American journalist that the two countries “were close to a deal”. He said both countries had been close to any agreement on all three issues: Kashmir, Siachen and Sir Creek. (The news)




UN Commission due today for Benazir probe
By our correspondant:

July 20-July 27 ISLAMABAD: The three-member UN inquiry commission constituted to investigate former prime minister Benazir Bhutto’s assassination is expected to reach Islamabad today (Wednesday).

Comprising Chile’s Permanent Representative for the United Nations Heraldo Munoz, Marzuki Darusman from Indonesia and Peter Fitzgerald from Ireland, the UN has mandated the commission to investigate the incident and file a report with the UN and Pakistan. The specially appointed body is responsible for collecting data and information related to Benazir’s assassination. However, Islamabad would retain the right to determine the punishment for the accused. Sources said the UN commission had prepared a list of people it would like to investigate, but it would be subject to final approval by the government of Pakistan. They said the UN commission was expected to interview Benazir’s close aides in addition to the government officials who worked with her during her last days. Meanwhile, sources said, the government would accommodate the UN commission at Sindh House, Islamabad, instead of a five-star hotel for security reasons. They said the government was also maintaining secrecy about the movement of the commission’s members for the same reason. “The members of the commission, and any other people accompanying them, will be staying at Sindh House. The lodges of the chief minister and governor of Sindh have been reserved for the visiting dignitaries,” sources privy to the development told Daily Times. Movement in and around Sindh House would remain restricted during the commission’s stay, they added. (D.times)



Severe Power break downs leaves country in darkness
July 12-July 19
By our Correspondent:
Islamabad:Country faces fierce power breakdowns causing greater lose for manufacturers and other industries depending on electricity. Despite of increasing higher demand of energy, government still fails to device an effective power generation plan to tackle future needs. Karachi, a mega city with more than eighteen billion population has been suffered during the last few days due to heavy rain pour.In many areas still power has not been been restored, sources told.
On the other hand national government is continueously claiming to reduce the loadsheding hour during the day. Students especially among those who are preparing for their semesters examination are the most suferers. Government should take remedial steps to resolve the issue on priority basis.


New Elections to be held under new reforms package
says Y.R.Gilani

Featur Report
July 12-July 19
By our Correspondant: Islamabad: Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani has said that the general elections 2009 would be held under the new reform pakage. He said this while adressing the central executive committee meeting of Pakistan People's Party (PPP) in Islamabad. The PPP-led government is pondering over the reforms package for Gilgit Baltistan. According to sources in the committee, the new system would have a governor, ministers, legistlative assembly and G.B.Council on the similar lines to that of Azad Kashmir. The new system would be implemented under the Governance order 2009.In the draft of the constitutional package the name of the region has again been kept as Gilgit-Baltistan.Under the new system, Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Northern Areas will be the governor of Gilgit-Baltistan council. The number of members of the legislative assembly who are directly elected in the election are being increased from 24 to 30.The number of technocrat seats is being reduced from six to three while another women seats would be increased to seven. The working of Northern Areas Assembly is also being modified; which would now have the authority to legislate on six subjects. Similarly, Gilgit-Baltistan has been given more finccial and administrative autonomy including authority to approve budget, setting up of Public Services Commission, appointment of accountant general, service structure and independent Election Commission. The number of judges in the Supreme Appellate Court would be increased from three to four.According to the sources, basic rights would be given to the region according to the 1973 constitution and emergency powers as well as implementation of Islamic provisions. (dailyk2)

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


VoH
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
Email:jaashams@gmail.com


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,

VoH



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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.

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