Tour de Pakistan second leg starts from Rawalpindi
VoH Monitor
RAWALPINDI,March 02: The cyclists kicked off the second leg of 51st Tour de Pakistan by leaving for Gujrat from Rawalpindi, Geo News reported Tuesday. The cyclists will traverse 153 kilometers in the second phase.The participants vying for huge award money started the second phase from Ayub Park of Rawalpindi.Peshawar-to-Karachi Tour de Pakistan participants crossed 165 kilometers in the first leg of their race from Peshawar to Rawalpindi. Sui Southern’s Asif Junior excelled in the first phase followed by Imtiaz Hasan of Afghanistan. Wapda’s Zahid was on the third, Geo News reports.

In Pakistan we are fighting for our lives: Zardari
VoH Monitor
ISLAMABAD, March 01: When I was elected president more than a year ago, Pakistan was in a grave condition, strained by terrorism and a ravaged economy. Countering the effects of a decade of dictatorship requires bold actions, some of which are unpopular. I am working with parliament to run a country, not a political campaign. The goal of our democratic government is to implement policies that will dramatically improve the lives of Pakistanis. In time, good policies will become good politics.
Our economic crisis demanded an unprecedented response. On taxes, education, agriculture and energy, we have shown that we must adapt, reform and become self-sufficient. Terrorists do not want Pakistan to succeed. They want to distract us from preparing for a stable and prosperous future. But militants underestimate us. Just as our people refuse to be terrorised, our government refuses to be derailed from its course of fiscal responsibility, social accountability and financial transparency.
The war against terrorism has cost Pakistan not just in lives but also in economic terms, freezing international investment and diverting priorities from social and other sectors. Despite constant challenges on multiple fronts, we took the political hits and stuck with reform. Pakistan even met IMF criteria last month to receive the "fourth tranche", or £0.79bn, of its loan funding – no easy feat during a global recession. Corrupt governments don't reach this level of IMF partnership.
The World Bank, the European Union and the US have all applauded our accomplishments. This praise may be little reported, but it's far more important than the chimera of polls.The Nation

Government plans huge cut in subsidies
VoH Watch
ISLAMABAD, March 01:The federal government is planning a major cut in subsidies in the next fiscal year 2010-11, official sources have said. According to official sources, the overall volume of subsidies has been estimated to decrease from Rs 199 billion in the ongoing fiscal year 2009-10 to Rs 104 billion rupees in next the fiscal year 2010-11, projecting an overall decrease of Rs 95 billion. “The cut in power sector subsidies is expected to be from Rs 147 billion in the ongoing fiscal year 2009-10 to Rs 74 billion in 2010-11, under the Budget Strategy Paper-1,” the sources said. The medium-term subsidy policy reveals that the subsidy on fuel adjustment has been eliminated from July 1, 2009, while the power tariff adjustment subsidy will be eliminated from August 2010. Policy’s aim: The new policy also aims at creating room for small energy-related subsidies in 2010-11. Interest payments on Power Holding Company (Pvt) Limited, a company formed to resolve the circular debt issue, will be made part of the power and fuel subsidies in the next fiscal year, the sources said. Subsidies to the industrial sector will be discouraged under the new policy, as will the policy of artificial competitiveness and protectionism. The power and fuel subsidies to the Pakistan Electric Power Company (PEPCO), Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC) and oil refineries, which were set at Rs 82 billion in the ongoing fiscal year, have been raised to Rs 147 billion due to political pressure, the sources added. They said there were plans to reduce this subsidy to Rs 74 billion in 2010-11.
“The government has earmarked Rs 30 billion for sugar, wheat
and cotton, import-related subsidies, but it plans to limit the subsidy level to just Rs 15 billion in fiscal year 2010-11. Such subsidies on commodity imports like sugar, fertilizer and wheat are targeted at bridging the gap between market demand and local production. Importers of such commodities are being subsidised to keep the market prices low for consumers,” the sources said, adding that the subsidy on local produce such as fertilisers, sugar and wheat were mainly used to purchase the commodities from producers at a higher rate, and they were sold at subsidised rates in the market.
Regarding the subsidies providing relief to the public on essential food items through the Utility Stores Corporation (USC), the government has decided to maintain the existing level of subsidy at Rs 4 billion for the next fiscal year as well. The government is planning to reduce the level of subsidy on export of commodities produced in the country to Rs 2 billion in 2010-11 as against Rs 3 billion being given as subsidies in the ongoing fiscal year.However, the subsidies for research and development are set to increase from Rs 1 billion in 2009-10 to Rs 5 billion in 2010-11. These subsidies are provided to the export sector in order to enhance economic competitiveness of their export products such as textile and motorcycles exports. Agriculture subsidies, mainly for fertilisers and the Benazir Tractor Scheme, which stand at Rs 12 billion rupees in 2009-10, are to be reduced to Rs 2 billion in the next fiscal year. The subsidy for crop loan insurance scheme is to be maintained at Rs 2 billion in the ongoing fiscal year as well as in the next fiscal year, Dail Times reported.

Dialogue the only way forward: Salman Bashir

VoH Monitor
ISLAMABAD, Feb. 27: Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir on Friday said India and Pakistan should begin the composite dialogue only if it is based on equality, sovereignty and mutual respect. Speaking to journalists, Bashir said Pakistan was not desperate for talks contrary to the impression in India but that this was the only principled way forward. Salman Bashir crossed over from the Wagah border Friday afternoon following talks with his Indian counterpart Nirupama Rao and Indian Foreign Minister S M Krishna in New Delhi.Bashir refused to comment on whether there was any external pressure to hold talks with India and said that no date for the next round of talks had been decided.He maintained that the talks were only of an exploratory nature and that issues of Kashmir, Sir Creek, Water, Siachen and accidental border crossing were also discussed. Courtesy Dawn

PM lauds services of institutions caring for ailing children
VoH Monitoring desk
KARACHI, Feb 26 (APP): Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani has said that the philanthropists and institutions caring for the children suffering from fatal illness or a handicap are doing a great service to the cause of humanity.He was talking to the representatives of the “Make-A-Wish” Foundation who called on the Prime Minister along with the two cancer afflicted children at Governor House here on Friday.The Prime Minister said the children irrespective of their physical, mental or financial conditions, have to be taken care of and it is the responsibility of the entire society to contribute in this regard. He said that the government would continue to support organisations both in public and private sectors which are involved in lessening the suffering of the needy children. The poor and destitute children are also part of our children’s community, who are the future of our country, the Prime Minister added.On this occasion the Prime Minister gave gifts and Rs 300,000 to each of the two children suffering from cancer. It was informed by President “Make-A Wish” Foundation Ishtiaq Baig, that Master Deedar Ali, aged 11 years, Ali Gulbano, aged 12 years, both patients of cancer wished to see the Prime Minister as they usually see the Prime Minister on TV. He informed that they wanted to see the Prime Minister before dying as both were in their last stages. Both the children were so happy to see the Prime Minister that they woke up early in the morning. The children met the Prime Minister and said that the Prime Minister was a very soft spoken and caring person.
Earlier, Ishtiaq Baig, President and Dr. Ikhtiar Baig Secretary General of “Make-A-Wish” Foundation briefed the Prime Minister about the background and working of the Foundation.
Ishtiaq Baig informed that the Foundation has so far fulfilled the wishes of 100 children of which 50% have died.He informed that Make-A-Wish is an international organization serving in 37 countries and five continents. It is working in Pakistan for the last three years.

FIR lodged against PPP leaders, workers for anti-judiciary protest
VoH Monitor
LAHORE, Feb.27: A first information report (FIR) was registered against two lawmakers and five leaders as well as 250 other workers of the Pakistan People’s Party for protesting against the judiciary, soon after a meeting between Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leadership on Monday. The Qila Gujar Singh police station registered a case on the complaint of its station house officer against MPAs Sajida Mir and Faiza Malik, PPP Punjab President Rana Aftab, General Secretary Samiullah, PPP Lahore President Asghar Gujjar, Additional Secretary Fakharuddin Chaudhry and Azizur Rehman Chann. The police told Daily Times they have registered an FIR against the PPP leaders for protesting and burning effigies of the PML-N chief and the chief justice of Pakistan, Dailytimes reports.

Terrorism not the only focus in talks with Pakistan: Chidambaram
VOH Monitor
DELHI, Jan.27: Indian Home Minister P. Chidambaram said India has agreed to take up different issues (besides terrorism) with Pakistan during the secretary-level talks scheduled to be held on February 25. Talking to Kashmiri leader Mehbooba Mufti, Chidambaram said the Indian government was also considering giving banking facilities to traders to initiate business across the Line of Control (LoC). Chidambaram said trade across the LoC and confidence building measures regarding Kashmir could also be discussed during the meeting. The nation

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Monitoring every regional historical development

Monitoring every regional historical  development
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Discerning social Change in Gilgit-Baltistan

Discerning social Change in Gilgit-Baltistan
Reflecting socio-economic, administrative and cultural impulses in regional periphery

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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.