Month: October 2013

Gilgit-Baltistan: Education Expo Held in Gilgit

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GILGIT (ET): A two-day education expo kicked off in Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) on Thursday, providing students and teachers a rare opportunity to learn and interact.

More than 110 schools participated in the expo held at Women Degree College Gilgit, and set up stalls depicting student art work. A speech and quiz competition, book fair along with comedy skits were also part of the event which was organised by the Association for Academic Quality (AFAQ).

“The idea behind this event was to provide students, parents and teachers an opportunity to interact and learn from each other,” said Basharat Hussain, AFAQ’s regional head. Some teachers and students were also given awards for their contribution to education.

The venue remained crowded throughout the day as parents, teachers, students and other residents of the area swarmed the 80 plus stalls set up by students from both private and government schools.

Education officials and lawmakers also visited and lauded the efforts of the event’s organisers. Hussain praised the participating schools, adding the turnout and response was greater than his expectations.

Air Foundation School teacher Shakila Anwar boasted about the efforts of her students’ paintings up on display. “We worked hard to make these items,” she said.

Gilgit-Baltistan:Silk Route Festival in Gilgit

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GILGIT (Dawn): The Gilgit-Baltistan administration has decided to organise the Silk Route International Festival in the capital city of the region during the last week of next month in the hope that the event will pull in both local and foreign tourists and traders in large numbers.

The decision was made during a recent meeting chaired by Gilgit-Baltistan Chief Secretary Yonus Dhagga, according to the officials in the know.

They told Dawn that the participants agreed that there was a need for organising the festival to revive local tourism and trade, and raise the soft image of the terrorist-hit region.

The officials said the tentative schedule of the event had been conveyed to all stakeholders for necessary preparations, while the exact date of the opening would be announced shortly.

“The tentative dates of the festival’s start and conclusion are Oct 25 and Oct 27 respectively,” an official said.

The official said the chief secretary had formed many committees to make preparations for the big event and raise funds for the event.

He said the administration and the relevant government departments were making every effort to ensure the festival’s success.

The official said the administration was hopeful that the festival would help revive tourism industry in Gilgit-Baltistan, which had been badly shaken up by a series of terrorist activities.

Meanwhile, officials said Karakoram International University has been tasked with managing the festival.

They said the vice chancellor of the university would head the committee looking after the overall affairs of the event.

The officials said cultural shows and exhibitions would be held along Karakoram Highway.

Until the early years of the Musharraf regime, the festival was organised on a regular basis.

However, it couldn’t take place afterwards due to the lack of the interest of the relevant quarters.

An official said the festival was being revived with an aim to promote tourism and trade, raise the soft image of the region and provide the local people with better employment opportunities.

Gilgit-Baltistan: Self Governance Order 2009 Blocked Representation in Parliament

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GILGIT (ET): A regional religious organisation has called for the withdrawal of ‘Self Governance Order 2009’ in Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B), saying the order has blocked G-B’s representation in the parliament.
Under the G-B’s empowerment and self-governance order, its status was brought at par with that of a province with a chief minister and governor installed for the first time in the region’s history.
The demand was made by Tanzeem Ahle-Sunnat Wal Jamaat’s (TASWJ) General Secretary Mohammad Nawaz and other leaders during a press conference held at a hotel on Monday. “We want G-B to either be given the status of a 5th province or its affairs handled by the centre,” said Nawaz.

The organisation was registered during 1956 and its office bearers, as they say, have no affiliation with the banned Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamat (ASWJ). They have representation in the Kohistan district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
“The politics has not only damaged the interest of the people of G-B, it has also hampered the Kashmir issue,” said TASWJ’s general secretary. TASWJ leaders said the development has eluded G-B since the new system of governance was introduced by the Pakistan Peoples Party.

A large chunk of the annual budget goes to the chief minister, his cabinet and the governor, leaving nothing for development, Nawaz added.
The leaders urged the government to ensure implementation of peace by getting peace pacts signed by all sects residing in G-B.
About the Diamer operation, the group has lent its support to security agencies and asked them to expand the scope of their operation to the entire region.