US support to Pakistan must be based on mutual respect, trust: Zardari
Monitoring report
ISLAMABAD, Feb 11 (APP): Welcoming the US declarations of support to Pakistan’s security and stability and economic development, President Asif Ali Zardari on Thursday emphasized that the continued support must be based on mutual respect and trust.The President was talking to US National Security Advisor General James Jones, who called on him here in the Presidency on Thursday. General James Jones was accompanied with the US Ambassador Anne W. Patterson and other senior US officials.Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin, Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir and Pakistan’s Ambassador in the US Hussain Haqqani were also present in the meeting. Spokesperson to the President former Senator Farhatullah Babar said that security situation in the region, drone attacks, fight against militancy, rehabilitation of the internally displaced persons, strengthening of the law enforcing agencies, coalition support funds arrears, the new US screening procedures and Pakistan’s energy needs were discussed in the meeting.
Tracing the history of militancy in the region, the President said that decades ago the international community chose to fight the rival ideology using the region as battle ground. After defeating the rival ideology the international community abandoned the region and the militants it had nurtured resulting in a new wave of militancy in the region, the President remarked. He said that the dynamics of the situation led Pakistan to become a security driven state neglecting social and human uplift. The international community now owed it to Pakistan and to itself to help rebuild the country economically and socially, he said. Farhatullah Babar said that the President emphasized the need for democratic stability in Pakistan which he said could be ensured by pursuing a well structured economic development agenda in which the international community had a great role to play. In this context the President reiterated the call for allowing greater market access to Pakistani goods in the U.S. and European markets and the need for early adoption of legislation in the US on Reconstruction Opportunity Zones (RoZs). The President said that Pakistan had suffered a huge loss of over 35 billion dollars during the last eight years as a result of the fight against militancy in addition to the colossal and unquantifiable cost in terms of social and human losses which had almost crippled the nation’s economy. He said that it was important that the pledges made at the Friends of Democratic Pakistan forum were fulfilled. Indeed Pakistan needed a Marshal Plan to overcome its economic problems compounded by the fight against militancy, the President said.
The President also pointed out the delays in payments of arrears of Coalition Support Fund of over 1.5 billion dollars and called for early repayments of outstanding dues.
The President also expressed reservations over the new screening regime for Pakistani nationals and called for its review as it had created resentment in the country and led to doubts and misgivings among the people of Pakistan.

Pakistan is my biggest worry: Biden
VoH Monitor

WASHINGTON, Feb.11: US Vice President Joe Biden said Wednesday that his greatest concern was not Afghanistan, not Iraq, nor the Iranian nuclear crisis, but Pakistan."I think it's a big country. It has nuclear weapons that are able to be deployed. It has a real significant minority of radicalized population," Biden said in an interview with CNN. "It is not a completely functional democracy in the sense we think about it, and so that's my greatest concern."President Barack Obama's administration has called on Pakistan to see greater urgency in the fight against extremism as the United States pours thousands more troops into Afghanistan to fight Al-Qaeda and Taliban extremists. US officials have long been concerned that elements in the Pakistani establishment support extremists, despite the nation's offensives against Taliban strongholds in border areas.They have urged Pakistan to expand its offensive against militants to North Waziristan, a stronghold for Al-Qaeda and the Haqqani network, known for attacking US and NATO troops in Afghanistan. But Pakistan has chosen not to target so-called Afghan Taliban or some other groups so far and analysts say Islamabad has retained ties to some Islamist militants as a hedge to protect its influence in neighboring Afghanistan.Earlier this month US Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair told a senate committee that "vulnerabilities exist" in Pakistan's nuclear safeguards, without elaborating, the Nation reports.

Kashmir to remain central point of dialogue with New Delhi: Kaira
VoH Watch dog

ISLAMABAD, Feb 10 (APP): Minister for Information and Broadcasting Qamar Zaman Kaira Wednesday said Kashmir was a core issue between India and Pakistan and it would remain central point of dialogue with New Delhi.Pakistan was fully committed to resolve all issues including Kashmir and water with India through talks as war could not resolve any issue, he said while briefing journalists about the decisions of Federal Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani here. He said Pakistan and India would ultimately return to composite dialogues and there was no harm to adopt a path leading to that position.The Minister said the government would import 1.25 million ton sugar by June this year to meet its growing need.He said talks were underway with some countries to import sugar at government-to-government level, but this was not a final decision. “If that does not materialize, international competitive bidding would be organized for the purpose”. He said the Finance Minister briefed the cabinet on the budgetary system in the country and it was decided that budget proposals would be presented for three years. Mr. Kaira said budget preparation process is being changed to ensure parliamentary oversight over it. He said by May the proposals would be presented in the National Assembly and Senate Standing committees, and all ministries and departments would discuss their budgets and added foreign aid would not be included in the PSDP till its receipt. Kaira said provision of required funds to war on terror would remain a top priority in the coming budget as well because the government wanted to make the country free of this menace.

Pakistan committed to boost multi-dimensional cooperative partnership with Iran: PM
VoH Monitor
ISLAMABAD, Feb 10 (APP): Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani on Wednesday reiterated his government’s resolve to further boost Pakistan’s multi-dimensional cooperative partnership with Iran to meet the aspirations of their people.In a brief chat with newsmen at a reception here at the Iranian Embassy on the occasion of 31st Islamic Revolution Day of Iran, the Prime Minister mentioned the already existing brotherly relations and interactions between the two countries. The Prime Minister said that Pakistan and Iran have undertaken various projects for their socio-economic uplift. He specially pointed out Iranian support for the gas pipeline, extension of rail track between the two countries and growing bilateral trade. Prime Minister Gilani congratulated the Iranian government and the nation on their national day and said they were proud of Iran’s rapid economic development.He noted that Iranian government was moving ahead rapidly to develop various sectors of their welfare. “We are happy on the successes of Iranian government and people in various fields.” About Pakistan-Iran gas pipeline, the Prime Minister said, good progress has been made to this effect and necessary steps are being taken for its early finalization.“People of both countries enjoy brotherly sentiments and they cherish their cooperation for mutual benefit,” he added.Speaking at the reception, the Prime Minister said that Pakistan and Iran enjoy excellent historic relations based on common religion, culture and heritage.The cooperation between the two countries is expanding in diverse fields with the passage of time to their mutual advantage, he added.The Prime Minister said that Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project is in the process and all the agreements in this context are being finalized. He said that ECO Cargo train which has started recently among the three countries of Pakistan, Iran and Turkey would greatly boost the trade links and open up new vistas of cooperation in the region.The Prime Minister thanked the Iranian government for their multidimensional assistance in Balochistan.The Prime Minister conveyed his heartiest greetings and good wishes to the Iranian leadership and the people of Iran on the auspicious occasion of their National Day.

Pak-India talks to stabilise region: US
VoH Monitoring desk

WASHINGTON,Feb.11: The United States has welcomed the Indian offer to resume talks with Pakistan, saying that dialogue between South Asia’s two nuclear neighbours would help bring stability to the entire region. “We certainly have been encouraging steps that both Pakistan and India could take to address mutual concerns,” Assistant Secretary of State Philip J. Crowley told a briefing at the State Department. The United States has been persuading the two countries to resume talks, hoping that it would free Pakistan to concentrate on its fight against Taliban militants, a key to US strategy in Afghanistan. Mr Crowley urged the two countries to “take appropriate steps so that tensions can be reduced, cooperation can be increased, and as a result, you have a more stable region that is focused on both interests that they share and threats that they share”. He said the United States also supported dialogue among India, Pakistan and Afghanistan “as a key component of moving ahead and achieving a stable region”. On Wednesday, US special envoy Richard Holbrooke said that a major dilemma for the United States in Afghanistan was to reconcile the conflicting security interests of its neighbouring countries like India and Pakistan. Dawn News

No strings attached to India’s talks proposaL;
Pak high commissioner to India tells inter-ministerial meeting New Delhi willing to hold talks without preconditions

VoH Monitor
ISLAMABAD, Feb.11: The Pakistani high commissioner to India said on Wednesday that New Delhi is ready to hold talks with Pakistan on all bilateral issues without any “precondition”, according to diplomatic sources.“India is ready to move forward and discuss all issues ... they have dropped their previous stance that talks with Pakistan would just focus on terrorism,” Shahid Malik told a high-level, inter-ministerial meeting at the Foreign Office.Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi presided over the meeting that was held to “consider” India’s offer for talks.India ‘posturing’: Sources said Malik told the meeting that India was just “posturing” to please the domestic audience in claiming that talks would focus on the Mumbai terror attacks and cross-border terrorism. He said Indian officials had assured him of their readiness to host unconditional talks on all issues.Following Malik’s briefing, the participants unanimously decided to recommend that the government send Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir for negotiations with his Indian counterpart. Qureshi said he would brief the president and the prime minister on the recommendations of the meeting, and make a formal announcement on sending Bashir after their approval. Qureshi said Pakistan would start the peace process from the point it was stalled. Later, briefing a high-level meeting at the Presidency, Qureshi said the inter-ministerial meeting had suggested that Pakistan enter talks with India without any delay, Daily times reports.

Posted by Shamsuddin Muhammad on Thursday

1 Responses to National News : Please click here to read all news of the week

  1. Anonymous Says:
  2. Relationship between US & Pakistan based on mutual interest is mad man's dream. How a country providing mercineries get equal reputation to of a respected one?


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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

Reporting Team
Karachi: Sartaj Karim

Hunza: Naeem Hamoon

Gilgit: Aslam Shah


Islamabad: Ikramullah Baig

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.