Voice of Hunza
People of Hunza, like other parts of Gilgit-Baltistan are going to elect their representative using the right of their votes under new Self Governance Reform Package, 2009. Candidates with their respective election menisfestos and demn busy to convince people to win their support in the poles. Two hundred fifty six candidates are contesting poles for 23 seats out of 24 due to demise of a candidate of Muttahida Qaumi Movement in LA-19. According to the data vailable, about 0.7 million voters will cast their votes to support to respective favourite candidates with a hope to address their problems in assembly.The political nomenclature has been largely based on tribal, personla and communal relationship for past many decades in the region. It is the first time in the history of the region which experiencing an impulse in terms of political dicversity-allowing a greater choice with respect to their priorities to support a certain ideology political. High rate of literacy and more political awareness among the masses has served an instrumental to keep those candidates having vested interests and seasonal birds to keep at distance. Political diversity, where has given a best chance to judge a candidate having best leadership qualities and influence in the regional political arena. According the findings of survey of a private channel undertook recently, discloses a peculiar situation in Hunza. People based on past experiences and speculation coupled with greater awarness only ten percent population gave their clear opinion and support to centain candidate. While ninty percent were not clear, to whome they are going to vote. And the conclusion came: in other areas of Gilgit-Baltistan, candidates drive voters, here, voters drive candidates-a healthy change and a great fun for many like us. Such situation confused even those candidates mastered in delivering attractive speeches to hoodwink people. I have tried to illustrate it in this poem.

Many political parties have brought their respective menifestoes that claims many issues of vital importance to get resolved during their tenure. But based on past experiences, such agendas had proved a bridge of straws as they aimed to get votes and disappear later from the scene after winning election. The recent surprising visit of Qamar Zaman Kaira, minister for broad casting and acting governor of Gilgit-Baltistan proved a gift as the people availed the electricity for three days consecutively followed by the announcement for additional fuel for electric generator.The anouncement of new projects by acting governor Qamar Zaman Kaira, who talked notables about the domestic issues has given a ray of hope to the people of this region. He has ordered to start work on a new scheme of drinking water facility to central Hunza, upgradation of Power generating capacity, restart construction work on Shinaki bridge, approval of new tehsil for lower Hunza, improvement of infrastructure, allocation of a special techno seat for Hunza and thirty bed hospital for Sost,Gojal immediately after the elections. It was a good development that the masses made their view public and requested authorities to take immediate steps to to end their sufferings. He has also ensured the re-demarcation and approval of new seat based on new sensus; this will in turn is expected to serve reduce feeling of alienation and ignorance towards masses. Many have reservations that many announcement were a move to benefit the party candidature and had proved bridge of straws as they were confined to files of beaurocracy. Yet, it is expected that PPP led government is sincere to solve the long standing demands of the people of this neglected area in past.
On the other hand, Kamil Jan of Mutahida Qaumi Movement during his speech has pointed out many areas which were not addressed by leadership in past. During his speech on a local channel, he reitetrated that he has devoted his life for the service of the humanity especially the people of this region which is deprived one. Similarly, Raja Shebaz Khan in his speech on the same local cable network identified some of important things. Among the most important includes: visaless entry to China with just CNIC, establishment of a trade centre and petronization of local industry coupled with new measures for tourism sector to run the stagnant economy of the region.
It is a matter of pleasure that we have now a leadership that knows sufferings of the people not only in the region but also those dwelling in the urban areas especially in Karachi. Student faces great difficulty in terms of admissions and accomodation in respective proximity. There is a need of a mega hostle for the female students who have not their own residence in a metropolitan city. Hunza needs a leadership that has ability to serve on all fronts.
It is a harsh reality that thoe in helm of powers have proved seasonal birds who appear and pledges alot during the elections and later disappear. One who wins and gets enter in the assembly does not heed to the public voices and even he refuses to recognize his voters when met. We should welcome the change in terms of abolition of VIP culture prevailed in the ruling class for many decades. The favourable response and acceptance of new parties from the masses of Hunza implies that PPP should bring reforms with in party on one hand and giving priority to masses and resolving problems at root level to on the other; that may ensure better communication between masses, and the regional party leadership.
We hope the region which is undergoing domocratic prosses will gain maturity with positive outcomes. The candidate who wins the poles will be under immense presure for experiencing a tough competition. This will required him to work smartly to come up to the expactations of the the whole masses in generla and voters in particular.



Second Editorial
Transparency myth

Analysts while discussion during one of the most popular Urdu talk show "Collumn Kaar" on a private Channel agreed the notion that there is a lack of independant election commission in Gilgit-Baltistan to bring the myth of lack of transparency in the election at end. Federal government under the new reform package has established an Election Commission headed by a Chief election commissioner facilitated by election commissioners in every district ahead of poles. According to a press release, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan’s (HRCP) has sent certain observers to monitor coming elections going to be held in the second week of November under new self governance reform package,2009 for Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly (GBLA) . According to a press release issued by Iqbal Haider, co-chairperson on Monday that keeping in view complaints from various parties of rigging and use of influence by ruling party in the poles he and supporting team, consists of members of commission and trained local observers have decided to monitor the electoral process in the region which is heading towards democratic governance and self rule through franchise. On the other hand, federal government has directed local administration to ensure fair, impartial processes and pool proof security measures during the poles. The parties like PML(Q), PML(N), MQM, T.I, J.I and some other parties had registered their campaign just few hours before that acting Qamar Zaman Kaira is trying to exploit situation by announcement to give advantage to rulling party and demanded government to address complaints saying is throwing his weight around for electoral persuits.
Apart from the discussion whether acting governor is using his influence lets take a bird's eye view of election monitor. The election process proceeded slow and the overall turn over remained relatively relatively low. After lunch, I visited polling both thrice to observe the poles. In the evening I visited female polling station where situation was not satisfactory as the process mismanaged. Especially, senior citizens (old women) were in trouble for they were subjected to stand for many hours in an extremely cold weather. Here, four ques were leading to the polling room without any sequence. Existence of more than a dozen of polling agents served to further confuse a voter, mostly illiterate. Many female voters returned homes without casting any vote due to perplexity. I asked many at the moment whether any observer visited the polling both the answer was negative. I revisited the male polling both before the closure to cast my vote where I could not see such an observer. The polling in the male both was stopped on time and counting process was started. Meanwhile, a representative accompanied by returning officer came to visit the both before announcement of result. Here, the main reason to elaborate the story is that being a mountainous range, where communication means are slow and limited can not be observed in the way in the urban areas. Secondly, it depends on the voters whether, they stand in ques and cooperate the staff and, thirdly, lack of proper location and fusibility of area allocated for the poles. So, the compiled report will leave many questions in our minds.
The myth of rigging in poles is prevalent since the time, I got sense. There is not a specific yardstick or standard to measure to determine transparency. Election commissioner, though not appointed by the consensus of all parties of the region is the final authority to give the remarks on process. Nevertheless, there was no such evidences to prove any claim for rigging in the region except some errors in the voter list given by election commission. As for as the results are concerned, one of the player in the game gets victory while another losses in the final contest as doctor Iqbal truly said that it is the horse rider who falls not one who walk on knees. Lastly, it has been a common characteristic of a losing party to blame winner to hide its failure which is not democratic at all. Yet, if certain of rigging have occured in the other parts of Gilgit-Baltistan should be dealt iron fist to halt such tendencies by the competent judiciary to keep the process of evolution of democracy in the region.


Posted by Shamsuddin Muhammad on Wednesday


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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.