Fida Karim

Fida Karim

On 14th April 2015, Prime Minister of Pakistan Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif visited Gilgit. Addressing a public gathering, the prime minister said “I have come here to give you development projects… Nawaz Sharif’s heart beats with people of Gilgit Baltistan”. He announced that Hunza, Nagar, Shigar and Kharmang districts will be created in the region besides forming a committee under the leadership of Mr. Sartaj Aziz to make recommendations for resolving the constitutional limbo in the region. The Prime Minister said that around 40bn rupees will be spent on widening and repair of the 75km long Jaglote-Skardu road. Mr.PM also announced construction of Henzal Hydro electricity project to address the electricity shortage in Gilgit city. He distributed 280 laptops amoung the students of Karakuram International University and promised 1,000 more laptops for them besides establishing Baltistan University. PM also promised 2million loan for unemployed youth, more PIA flights for the region and repeated the announcement of making the region’s airports fit for landing of larger jets.

In an another meeting PM approved GB Timber Policy under which it has been plan to plant 2.6 million sapling trees during coming 30 years.

Now that when the elections of Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly (GBLA) are around the corner, it is an untimely move from PM to influence voters in the favor of PML (N) in forthcoming GBLA election. The Chairman of PTI Mr. Imran Khan also termed it a brazen move of pre-poll rigging. But it is befitting to underline it here that the people of GB are mature enough now to understand the hidden motive behind these so called packages of PM in GB.

Being a concerned citizen of GB, I am of the opinion that the so called package announced by PM is not more than gimmick to rig elections! The educated voters of GB know that they can’t be fooled anymore by presenting old wine in a new bottle.

Mr. PM needs to review and re affirm his promise to distribute 20 crore for Attaabad IDPS as he had announced during his last visit. The most important issue of constitutional status was fudged. The announcement of Shigar and khrmang as new districts were already made by PM Gilani just before last elections and were never notified. Hunza district is welcomed but we need immediate implementation to believe it. Furthermore, people of Hunza have been demanding for additional seat in GBLA as Hunza region has only one seat in GBLA. Whereas its neighbor Nagar, which is much smaller than Hunza in population terms, have two seat in GBLA; Due to which Hunza is getting lesser amount of fund from divisible pool of fund from GB Government, which eventually effects developmental projects in the Hunza region. Similarly, Economic Corridor, Damer Basha Dam and Bunji projects are national projects and were approved during the regime of Prez Musharraf’s. Announcement of Rs. 43 Billion package is repackaging of already approved projects by ECNEC, including Gilgit-Skardu road, realignment of KKH, Naltar III and Henzel project. The main point of forest policy is legalizing illegally detained timber since 2001. GB needs its own policy for hydro-power development, which was not approved.

One of a GBian have rightly said that “we do not need your laptop Mr. Prime Minister because there is no electricity to charge the batteries, we also have no right to use 3G or 4G services, we are yet to get a high-speed Internet in GB.. So why do not you keep them to yourself…
we do not need roads, but proper security and maintenance of the one we have (KKH). We do not need your loans because our income is so less and we cannot pay back the interest.
We do not need your fake commitments because we all know Diamar dam is postponed till 2037.

We do not need your artificial love for GB, because your cabinet has already disowned us.
We also know Mr. prime minister you had the same statements when you visited the GB first time decades back. …so our request. Why do not you please go back and fool someone else there. We have grown enough… and we know how to fight for our rights; Because I was a kid in 90s. I am now a grown educated man”

As far as “Nawaz Sharif’s heart beats with people of Gilgit-Baltistan” is concern, this picture speaks louder than his words as no one from GB is seen in the first row of this public meeting. We have never seen a non-local Governor in any province of Pakistan except Gilgit-Baltistan. Furthermore, it was has come to know through local media that local media persons were not allowed to cover this event. This is simply unacceptable. GBians have every right to infer that these people are not sincere in resolving genuine issues of GB. GBians demand representation in National Assembly and Senate of Pakistan. GBians need livelihood opportunities, Engineering and Medical institutions, quality health care services, rule of law and merit base inductions in Government offices. GBians will cast their votes only to those who have delivered in past and having SMART plans for a bright future of GBian in GB. A mere sloganeering and false promises without solving geniun demands of GBians will not serve the purpose any more.

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