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Gilgit-Baltistan: Govt. Forms Ulema Advisory Council on the recommendation of Parliamentary Peace Committee

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GILGIT (ET): The Gilgit-Baltistan government has formed the Ulema Advisory Council to help forge sectarian unity among various sects inhabiting the region, stated a press release issued from chief minister’s media cell on Tuesday. The council would consist of renowned scholars and legislators who would help regulate matters concerning sects, the press release added.

The initiative has been taken on the recommendations of the parliamentary peace committee which was formed by the government a few years ago to broker peace after sectarian strife engulfed the region, leaving several dead in violent clashes. Members of the parliamentary peace committee Amjad Hussain, a G-B council member, and Jamil Ahmed, G-B Assembly Deputy Speaker, met Chief Minister Mehdi Shah on Monday and reportedly submitted the committee’s recommendations.
According to the press release, the advisory council will be represented by 18 members. A bill drafted after consultations with the council will be tabled at the next session of the G-B Legislative Assembly to be considered for legislation. The advisory council’s members will serve for a period of three years, however, its elected chairman would serve for a year. Two members from the G-B Council will also act as honorary members and help ensure that the council runs smoothly.
According to sources privy to the development, the advisory council will be represented equally by Sunni and Shia clerics, with each sect represented by six members. Similarly, Ismaili and Noorbakhshia sects will also have two members each in the council. Prominent Sunni leaders in the council include Maulana Ataullah Shahab, Maulana Khalil Qasimi and Maulana Khan Bahadur, while Shia clerics include Sheikh Mirza Ali, Sheikh Nayyar Abbas and Sheikh Nasir Zamani.

Gilgit-Baltistan: People of GB are not citizens of Pakistan, BNF Chief

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Gilgit (PR): The people of Gilgit-Baltistan are not citizens of Pakistan and they are citizens of their own country, Gilgit-Baltistan. This was stated by the exiled chairman of Balawaristan National Front (BNF) Abdul Hamid Khan in a press release sent from Brussels.

“Some people repeatedly claim falsely that the people of Gilgit-Baltistan are citizens of Pakistan because they have the identity card of Pakistan and its passport. If this was the case why Supreme Court of Pakistan did not accept this theory? The identity and Pakistani passport do not give us citizenship rights otherwise some of pro-Pakistan parties would have not beg again and again for the constitution rights by declaring province or by giving them seats in the parliament of Pakistan.”
He said traitor and loyalty were relative terms.“Read what 1973 constitution of Pakistan says about loyalty in article 53. ‘(1) Loyalty to state is basic duty of every citizen.’ The constitution of Pakistan also clearly defines its boundaries (4 of its provinces, capital, Islamabad and 8 of its federally controlled tribal areas.”
The BNF chief said Gilgit-Baltistan had been put in the article 257 provisions relating to the state of Jammu and Kashmir. It says that ‘when the people of the state of Jammu and Kashmir decide to accede to Pakistan, the relationship between Pakistan and State shall be determined in accordance with the wishes of the people of that State.” What government of Pakistan’s empowerment package of 9th Sept 2009 says, published on its 1st page “PART.1-PRELIINARY 2. Definition (b) CITIZEN unless otherwise expressed in this Order “Citizen” means a person who has domicile of Gilgit-Baltistan” It becomes obligation of a citizen to be loyal and remain loyal for his country, which determines by the constitution.That constitution gives him/her all the rights including the right of vote, the right to access to justice and the right to elect his/her own representative for the parliament, the highest legislative body. The constitution also determines the punishment if he/she does not fulfill his/her obligation intentionally by violating the constitution.
“We the people of Gilgit-Baltistan have no role in the constitution of Pakistan, which reminded us many times by the Supreme Court of Pakistan and Lahore High Court in the past. The highest judiciary of Pakistan decided as per its constitution that Gilgit-Baltistan is not part of Pakistan and disputed part of J&K. That decision and Zardari’s empowerment package 2009 also cleared that the people of Gilgit-Baltistan are not citizens of Pakistan and they are citizens of their own country, Gilgit-Baltistan.”
He said that some people repeatedly claimed falsely that the people of Gilgit-Baltistan were citizens of Pakistan because they had the identity card of Pakistan and its passport. If this was the case why Supreme Court of Pakistan did not accept this theory? The identity and Pakistani passport do not give us citizenship rights otherwise some of pro-Pakistan parties would have not beg again and again for the constitution rights by declaring province or by giving them seats in the parliament of Pakistan.
This demand itself shows that we the people of Gilgit-Baltistan have no constitutional rights. Citizenship is a matter of constitution which cannot be provided by merely issuing Identity card or passport.The identity card tells only our identity and does not give us citizenship right and Pakistani passport is travel document nothing else. That type of identity card and passport I also have from Belgium government, which gives me more rights than even the citizens of Pakistan, except the right of vote, because I am not citizen of Belgium.
The Pakistani identity cards and passports issued to the citizens of Gilgit-Baltistan by Pakistani authorities also tell the story of double standard and hypocrisy of government of Pakistan. Treason or loyalty of a person is judged from his/her place of birth and nation he belongs, he added.
The loyalty and treason are two relative and opposite words.A person can possess both the qualities at a time, as there is no importance of good without evil. For example if a person loyal to one country, he/she has no obligation to be loyal to other one. It is necessary for anyone to be loyal to one country not two.
The meaning of loyalty and treason should be well understood, that everyone has the obligation to be loyal for his/her own motherland/fatherland of his/her citizenship or adopted citizenship and outside of that loyalty is traitor or disloyal, what some of our people commit.
A person can be treated as traitor, if he/she commits treason with his native land and paves way for others to enslave it by occupation and other means for their personal interest. Those people, who call the nationalist as traitors, know well that they themselves are traitors. Such people they are creating hurdles to get dignity for their Motherland, but they call us traitors to protect their personal interest by appeasing their masters by one means or the other. “We all nationalists are determined to remained loyal to our Motherland and do not help others to keep their occupation in spite all the discrimination, injustices and tyranny we face,” he said.

Gilgit-Baltistan: 11 People Die Across GB Due to Floods/Heavy Rains

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GILGIT (ET): At least 17 people were killed and six others were injured on Friday in Hazara and Gilgit-Baltistan as rain continued to wreak havoc across the regions. Around 89 people have died in rain-related accidents in other parts of Pakistan.
Around 11 people were killed and five others were injured on Friday in Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B).
The rain, which started lashing the region a day earlier, also triggered landslides. One landslide swept away at least eight people in Niyat Valley of Diamer district on Friday, taking the death toll to 11 across G-B.
“I have been told eight people have been killed in a landslide,” SI Jehangir Khan told The Express Tribune. “We have dispatched a team for rescue and relief.” The incident occurred at 4pm and according to the police, two women and two children were among the dead in the avalanche in Niyat.
In Karis in Ghanche district, a car was hit by another landslide, killing three passengers and injuring two others. Two people were also wounded when the roof of a house collapsed in Kwardo, Skardu.
In Shigar Valley, a man was injured when he was hit by a boulder.
The landslides also swept away parts of Gilgit-Skardu road, suspending traffic between the two towns. Similarly, traffic between Gilgit and Rawalpindi was also suspended after Karakoram Highway was damaged in Chilas and Kohistan.
According to reports, the road leading to Astor Valley has also been damaged by landslides, adding to the miseries of the people.
As the rainfall continues, water levels in Ghizer, Hunza, Astor and Skardu rivers have also risen to an alarming level, threatening the lives and properties of those living in the low-lying areas.

Gilgit-Baltistan: Formation of 23 Provinces, TUQ Presents His Charter of Demands

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Islamabad (Dawn): Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri made the following demands in an emphatic tone during his address at Inqilab March on August 17, 2014.

  1. The souls of 14 martyrs of Model Town ask why were we killed and for what crime?
  2. If we could not get justice for 14 martyrs, how could we take ‘Qisas’ of anyone in Pakistan according to law and the Constitution?
    Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif should tender their resignations as a result of massacre in Model Town.
  3. After their resignations, Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif should be arrested like common people. No bail is granted in a case of killing.
  4. Participants of revolution march will stay here till resignation and arrest of Sharif brothers.
  5. The names of Sharif brothers should be put on ECL. If anyone helps them escape, he would not be spared.
  6. National and provincial assemblies should be dissolved as they were unconstitutionally established.
  7. These assemblies came into being in violation of Articles 62 and 63 and they were full of tax defaulters, thieves and robbers.
  8. New National Government should be established after dissolution of the assemblies and the end of unconstitutional government.
  9. Newly established National Government should conduct strict and merciless accountability of every person who has been involved in corrupt practices in this country.
  10. National Government should implement 10-point agenda of people’s welfare to steer the nation out of poverty in which it has been stuck for last 66 years.
  11. According to this agenda, every homeless person should get a house of five and three marla.
  12. Every jobless person should be given a job or employment allowance.
  13. Flour, ghee, rice, cooking oil, milk and sugar should be provided to the people with low income at half of their price.
  14. Taxes and duties on bills of electricity, gas and water should be abolished for the poor.
  15. The poor should be given free medical facilities under national health insurance scheme.
  16. Education up to matriculate should be compulsory and free under a uniform educational system so that the people could not keep their children deprived of this basic right.
  17. Official land of Pakistan should be distributed among the peasants and landless people.
  18. Sectarianism, militancy and terrorism should be eradicated wholly and comprehensively.
  19. Women should be given employment in the form of small industrial units. All anti-women and discriminatory laws should be done away with.
  20. The difference between salary packages of the public and private sector employees of different grades should be minimized to every possible extent.
  21. The foundation-stone of participatory democracy should be laid by carving out new provinces on administrative basis that should deliver rights to the people at their doorstep.
  22. We want such a system through revolution as is in vogue in the developed countries of the world.
  23. No corrupt officer should be spared in this country and every corrupt official should go to jail.
  24. There are two discriminatory laws for the poor and super rich elite that have got billions of rupees written off while in power. This system would not work in Pakistan anymore.
  25. If democracy has to stay, then all state institutions would have to be subservient to law and the state.
  26. If General (r ) Pervez Musharraf can be proceeded against for suspending Constitution, why can a case not be registered against those who suspended dozens of laws dealing with fundamental human rights?
  27. We want to get restoration of rights of the people. We are peaceful people and reject militancy and terrorism.
  28. We want to implement in Pakistan the system of the state of Madina where the Muslims and non-Muslims had equal rights.
  29. A person who does not have access to food, clothes, shelter, employment, medical facility and education, how can his vote be free and independent?
  30. We reject demand for mid-term elections, which will impose the same people on the nation under the present system. We want change through revolution.
  31. I will announce time-frame for revolution march some time tonight.
  32. Peace training centers must be established, peace and inter-faith harmony should be added in textbook syllabus of schools.
  33. Minorities be provided with complete rights, equal citizenship no matter what religion they belong to. They will be given constitutional protection.
  34. Devolution: Formation of more provinces including Hazara, Gilgit-Baltistan, South Punjab, FATA. At least 23 provinces should be formed for better administration. How and why should people of smaller cities have to travel to major cities for court appearances and other governmental affairs?
  35. All national institutions must be depoliticized and stabilized.

Gilgit-Baltistan: GB Tourism Industry Affected Due to Political Unrest?

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GILGIT (Dard.T): Gilgit-Baltistan minister for information and tourism has said that the ongoing political unrest in the country has badly affected tourism industry of the region. Talking to mediapersons here on Monday, she said that GB economy depended on tourism as thousands of people were associated with the industry to earn their livelihoods, but the current political instability had caused a decline in number of tourists visiting the region.
The minister said that many a local and foreign tourist had cancelled their visit to the region in the wake of the political impasse due to the continued sit-ins of PAT and PTI in Islamabad. Sadia Dansih said that tourism department of GB had to cancel the scheduled Silk Route International Festival which was to be held on September 10 due to the ongoing political turmoil. She said that representatives of 30 countries had been invited to the festival.
She pointed out that labourers, tour operators, porters, transporters and hotel owners had been facing economic difficulties due to decline in tourists to the region. The minister blamed the wrong polices of PML-N government and non-political approach of Imran Khan, and Tahirul Qadri for deepening crisis. She said that democracy in Pakistan was at stake while the country’s economy was taking brunt of the turmoil.
She urged the government and protesting parties to initiate dialogue to resolve issues peacefully

Gilgit-Baltistan: Elections for GBLA and Uncertanities

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GILGIT (ET):  Elections in Gilgit-Baltistan—earlier expected to be held by the end of this year—have apparently fallen victim to the ongoing protests of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) in the federal capital. The beleaguered federal government has not been able to find enough time to address the issue of elections in GB, giving rise to speculation of a ‘constitutional breakdown’ on December 11, when the tenure of the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party comes to an end.
“The GB government will step aside on December 11 after completing its five-year term, and with it GB will plunge into a constitutional crisis as the Governance Order 2009 has no provision for a caretaker setup,” Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s regional chief Hafeezur Rahman said while talking to a select group of journalists in Gilgit on Saturday. “The federal government was working on an election schedule, but the dharnas have resulted in a delay as the government’s attention is on resolving them,” explained Hafeez.

“I repeatedly pointed out this vacuum and asked Chief Minister Mehdi Shah to hold elections under his supervision in October, but he didn’t take it seriously,” Rahman said while referring to Mehdi Shah’s earlier statements. Shah had said on the floor of the legislative assembly recently that elections would be held next year. Similarly, Law Minister Ali Madad had said the governance order would be amended to make way for a caretaker setup.
GB has not been immune to the political impasse in Islamabad. Residents and politicians in the region are anxiously awaiting the outcome. “This should come to an end. This isn’t going to give us anything,” Murtaza, a resident of Gilgit, hoped for a timely end to the crisis.

Gilgit-Baltistan: KIU Announced HSSC-I Results, 34.3 Percent Passing Rate

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Gilgit (PT): Out of a total of 8,661 students who appeared in the HSSC – I exams conducted by the Karakuram International University, only 2973 were able to qualify. According to results announced today, only 12.6 percent students from Diamer were able to pass the exams, while in Ghangche and Hunza-Nagar 24.15 and 24.26 percent of the students were able to qualify, respectively. The performance of students from Ghizar was slightly better, at 33.67, Skardu at 32.76 and in Astore the pass percentage was at 40.28. In Gilgit 41.58 percent of the students were able to pass.

According to results shared by the KIU Examination Board, Muneera Ahmad of Global Higher Secondary School stood first in the Pre-Medical group, Asif Hussain of Govt Degree college stood second, while the third position was clinched by Alamdar Ali of Govt Degree College Danyore. Iman ur Rehman of Govt Degree College Juital stood first in the pre-engineering group, Tanveer ud din from Guiders School and College stood second and Basharat Hussain from Govt Degree College Jutial stood third.

In General Science Group, Safeer Ahmad stood first, Tanveer Ahamd Second, while Atiya Begum clinched the third position. In the Commerce Group, Syed Sajid Hussain of Baltistan College of Commerce stood first, Iqbal Ali stood second, Nazia Abbas of Hunza Public School and College stood second, while Hanan Alam (Danyore) and Iqbal Ali (Skardu) shared the third position.

In Humanities Group, Noordil Khan of Govt Inter College Gupis stood first, Sonam Iqbal of Shaheen Degree College stood second, while the third position was shared by Jamila Bibi and Masooma Batool from Govt Girls Inter College Skardu.