What a misery it is to see, we always beat the drums and propagate tyranny of Indian forces for what’s happening in Kashmir and Israel in Palestine. We claim to be the champs and the sign of peace and disassociate ourselves from our own bloodshed on our soil. We pass the resolutions and condemn when we see injustice and brutality beyond our borders, we take suo mottos action when it comes to politics, and we label a piece of paper as threat to the national security when it seems to violate the bubble of ego around individuals impacting institutions.
Gilgit-Baltistan is my home town. There used to be a time when it was a tourist shangrilla, now has turned into a hell on earth. Peace and fraternity was our identity, but random killings are a routine tradition in Gilgit now. Our ancestors were famous for brotherhood, and the progeny has turned into worst enemies based on sectarian issues. Renowned society for associations and affiliations in all aspects of life is nowhere to be seen but the new generation is notoriously good at dissociations, indiscriminate killings and divisions.
Gilgit-Baltistan strategically located in an important region and lies right in the middle of four nuclear powers, India, China, Pakistan, and Tajikistan, previously Russian federal unit, and Afghanistan. It is the shortest and the safest access to the Central Asian rich states of oil and gas; the only route to the fastest growing economy of China in today’s world.
The question arises, as who is to be settled responsible for all the bloodshed in Gilgit-Baltistan. What makes people of Gilgit-Baltistan to grab weapons against each other? And what is so difficult for the security agencies to get hold of miscreant trouble shooters? Having a look at security statistics may be more helpful.
Gilgit-Baltistan has 6000 police force, elite force, quick response force (QRF), 800 rangers who are contracted from other province, Gilgit-Baltistan Scouts are in thousands, a whole Military division, comprising of three brigades, which in turn have 3 units per brigade, each unit has 800 soldiers. ISI, MI, and other intelligence have their best networks in the region compared to other parts of the country. Almost 22 intelligence agencies work in this close proximity and yet fail to control the situation and to track the miscreants in Gilgit City alone?
The major trouble shooting area is Gilgit City, which from the Toll Plaza to baseen is no more than 5 kilometers in its length and barely three Kilometers in width. The total population in this small city is scarcely 150,000. Technically, it should be easy to handle the miscreants with iron hands, but practically it is not happening. The question rises, whose fault is it? Who should be snubbed?
Some certain quarters have publically announced on record and threatened that unless the present PPP Government is not shown home way and the present Chief Minister G-B and Governor are not made away; peace could not be retained in the whole region. The content of this ultimatum could easily be read in between the lines as who are the real threats and responsible persons to violate the law and order situation and indiscriminate killings of innocent people of Gilgit. The Security forces and Intelligence agencies should unearth the actual culprits well in time otherwise the most important region of Pakistan would be destabilized and unrest would blow up randomly.
Death toll in the target killing be more in GB than in IHK over the period of time that they have been victimized. People are being assassinated on streets, right next to the security bunkers, to exemplify, Syed Zia Ud Din Rizvi, most influential religious scholar, Dr. Sher Wali, a professional doctor, Saif Ur Rehman khan, a political leader, Asad Zaidi, Deputy Speaker of GB Assembly, and Ramzan Danish a renowned businessman, and a Political leader and there are thousands more. So again, why can’t it be controlled by our security agencies? Why the Govt. has spent, roughly, Rs.165 million as finances thus incurred on rangers imported from other provinces of Pakistan- if we still have to face this music of violence…..why such a huge financial loss is borne by the Exchequer.
Streets are haunted from the fear of assassination; economy is almost zero; tourism, due to the violence, is record low, educational institutions barely work, offices are shut and hospitals, post offices and other departments are divided on sectarian basis, there are no go areas to be sure enough.
There is such uncertainty that anyone can get assassinated anytime, anywhere- There have been more than 600 killings over 5 years. Who will be responsible for their children? They are now orphans for the rest of their lives? What impact would they have on their personality by groomed in orphanage? Who will compensate for their miseries in the rest of their lives? Almost every other home bears a widow, helpless and without support and lack of justice? The favorite prey of the terrorism is either most learned most influential or most prominent political figures. Gilgit-Baltistan has lost so many leaders, Scholars, officers, and social workers so far- and we do not care and still looking for more people to fall prey to the terrorists actions.
It is the need of the time to focus on the strategies to tackle the highly volatile situation in Gilgit- or else the results will be even worse and uncontrollable. More Killings, more terror and tyranny lead to total annihilation of our progeny; our Government has to take account of it well in time through drastic measures against miscreants and their think tanks. Writ of law should prevail, more rigorous legislation on security issues should be done, and rather making “Aman Jirgas” the documented and proved miscreants should be dealt and made an example for others to bring peace and prosperity to the region- in case of failure, the brunt may fall on the security agencies responsible for the people of Gilgit-Baltistan. Rather raising fingers at our naïve legislative structure, we should help them flourish the Gilgit-Baltistan package, which can be more beneficial in future. And I urge youngsters to take part in the peace process and intra-faith harmony.
Gilgit-Baltistan Zindabad, Pakistan Payendabad
Dr. Zaeem Zia, Scholar, Health Policy Management and Administration, University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma, USA