ANP & MQM record dissent on provincial autonomy
VoH Watch

SLAMABAD, March 21: The Parliamentary Committee on Constitutional Reforms completed on Saturday the first reading of a draft report of the constitutional amendment bill with dissenting notes on different issues by almost all parties, except the Pakistan People’s Party, sources told Dawn.The dissenting notes, however, would not block changes to be made in the Constitution in the light of the report of the committee, said some members who submitted the dissenting notes. The sources said the committee, headed by Senator Raza Rabbani, had finalized the draft of the 18th Constitution Amendment Bill, 2010, with only five to six issues remaining to be settled. They said that except for the issue of renaming of the NWFP, other issues were of minor nature and could not be taken up at Saturday’s meeting because of the absence of some members. The committee will meet again on Sunday to review and finalise the draft of the preamble to the bill, which has suggested more than 80 amendments to the Constitution.
Most of the dissenting notes, the sources said, had been
submitted by parties like Awami National Party and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement on the issue of provincial autonomy. Senator S.M. Zafar of the PML-Q submitted a dissenting note about abolition of the concurrent list from Fourth Schedule of the Constitution. He opposed the move on the demand of smaller parties. Mr Zafar also submitted a dissenting note on articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution, which deal with disqualifications of membership of parliament and the president, Dawn News reports.

Ex-ISI official says he arranged 5 meetings between Nawaz, Osama
LAHORE, March 21: Former Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) official Khalid Khawaja has claimed that he arranged five meetings in the past between former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and al Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden on separate occasions. In a recent interview with a private TV channel, Khawaja said Nawaz asked the al Qaeda chief to provide financial support for “development projects”.“I still remember that Osama provided me funds that I handed over to then Punjab chief minister Nawaz to topple Benazir Bhutto’s government,” said Khawaja, adding that Nawaz met Osama thrice in Saudi Arabia alone. “Nawaz insisted that I arrange a direct meeting with Osama, which I did in Saudi Arabia,” he said.
“Nawaz was
looking for a Rs 500 million grant from Osama. Although Osama provided a comparatively smaller sum ... he secured for Nawaz a meeting with the Saudi royal family.”
The former ISI official also claimed that Nawaz had met leaders of Islamic movements around the world, Dailytimes report.

PM asks MPs to prioritize public welfare development projects

VOH Watch
ISLAMABAD, Mar 18 (APP): Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani Wednesday asked the Members of Parliament to prioritize public welfare development projects in their respective constituencies in accordance with the immediate need and availability of resources.

The government, he said would continue to support the projects in the backward areas despite financial
constraints. The Prime Minister was talking to groups of parliamentarians who met him in his chamber at the Parliament House.The Prime Minister advised the parliamentarians to work for education and promotion of healthy activities for the youth of their respective areas. The prospects for creating economic opportunity within their constituencies, he said, might also be explored to generate employment and to help improve the living condition of the people. The parliamentarians apprised the Prime Minister of the progress of projects in their respective areas and also the problems being faced in the same context.Minister for Labour and Manpower Syed Khurshid Shah and Minister of State for Finance Ms.Hina Rabbani Khar were also present in the meetings.

Electricity Crisis Deepens Across Country

VOH Monitor
LAHORE,March 18: Electricity crisis once again resurfaced across the country as power shortfall has reached to 3,500 MW. The duration of load shedding has also increased.The demand of electricity has been reached to 11,500 whereas production stands at 8,500 MW.With the start of summer season, load shedding duration has extended up to 17 hours in small cities and towns and 10 to 12 hours in Lahore and other big cities, Breaking news reports. He demanded of government to take immediate steps to save the people of the approaching danger. " Instead of baseless statements the officials and ruling government should do something to reduce inflation and price hikes in the region," he added.

PM Gilani, Shahbaz condemn Taliban

VOH Monitor
ISLAMABAD, March 17: Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif joined Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Tuesday in condemning the recent terrorist attacks in the country in an apparent move to offset pressures on the PML-N leader over his controversial statement in which he urged Taliban to spare Punjab from attacks. The joint condemnation came during a meeting between the prime minister and a PML-N delegation at the Prime Minister’s House a day after Mr Sharif had met Chief of the Army Staff Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani amid widespread protests over the statement made at a seminar in Lahore on Sunday. “While condemning the recent terrorist attacks in Lahore and Mingora, both leaders expressed their firm resolve to fight this menace in all its forms and manifestations,” said an official press release issued by the Prime Minister’s House. Critics saw Mr Sharif’s appeal to Taliban to spare Punjab as amounting to justifying attacks in other provinces. The official press release which appeared to be an attempt to counter that impression, quoted the two sides as saying: “The courage shown by the people of Pakistan to combat terrorism is the motivating force in confronting the evil designs of the terrorists.” It said Mr Sharif apprised the prime minister of the current security situation in Punjab and steps being taken by his government to provide protection to people. Besides security-related issues, the two sides also discussed the political situation in the country and the relations between the ML-N and the PPP.The prime minister said the PPP government would follow the policy of reconciliation essential to comprehend the political culture emerging out of coalition between political parties both in the government and in the opposition. Dawn

NFC Award victory of democracy: President
VoH Watch

ISLAMABAD,March 17, 2010: Terming the finalisation of 7th National Finance Commission Award as victory of the democracy, President Asif Ali Zardari on Tuesday inked the historic document in presence of the provincial chief ministers and governors. Addressing the ceremony, he said that it was a big step forward towards strengthening of the Federation, as the agreement was ‘a historic achievement’ of the present political Government. “It is a victory for democracy, political parties and all provinces, and also success of the policy of reconciliation,” he said The NFC award was agreed upon by the four provinces at a ceremony at Gwadar on Dec 30 after a gap of 19 years and would come into effect from the next financial year. Besides Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani, federal ministers, Governor Punjab Salman Taseer, Governor Sindh Ishratul Ebad, Governor Balochistan Nawab Zulfiqar Magsi, Chief Minister Punjab Mian Shahbaz Sharif, Chief Minister Sindh Qaim Ali Shah, Chief Minister NWFP Amir Haider Khan Hoti and Chief Minister Balochistan Nawabzada Aslam Raeesani and the Parliamentarians attended the ceremony at the Presidency. “I feel democracy has taken a leap. We are trying to make a new Pakistan by adhering to the spirit and vision of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto,” he said and added that the nation would soon hear good news regarding the Constitutional reforms by the end of this month. “Democracy that returned to the country some time back, has demonstrated its strength. Lets give it time to grow, give people of Pakistan a chance to grow and they will prove a productive part of the global society,” he said addressing what he termed as detractors, The Nation reports.

UNDP employee alleges harassment by HR ministry official
VoH Monitoring Report
ISLAMABAD, March 17: A UNDP employee has accused a Ministry of Human Rights official of harassing her, and is seeking action against the man under the code of ethics and Protection Against Harassment of Women Bill 2010. In a letter to the HR Ministry on February 2, ‘UNDP Secure Pakistan’ project coordinator Farhat Sattar said she felt ‘insecure’ at the hands of PS Asif Larak. Addressing the ministry high-ups, Farhat alleged that Asif ‘forced’ her to appoint certain staff members for the project. She also claimed that Larak demanded the illegal handover of UNDP equipment to him once the initial phase of the project was completed on February 4. According to the letter, the project was being implemented in collaboration with the HR Ministry, after which the UNDP country office would give directions for the appropriate disposal of the equipment. “On February 1, Asif Larak once again harassed me and the National Project Director (NPD) is witness to that,” she wrote in the letter. Farhat Sattar stated that she was under the supervision of the NPD who was appointed by the HR Ministry. She said that she was not a government servant, and as per the gender policy, no one should misbehave and harass her at her workplace. Daily times

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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.