Stop HR violations
Whereas the July 2010 rains and floods in Gilgit-Baltistan left widespread destruction and affected the lives of the people in an unimaginable way, it also proved beyond doubt examples of human sympathy and volunteerism. The natural calamity shattered almost all segments of lives with a large number of precious lives lost and properties valuing billions of rupees gone. The effects of the floods were huge in terms of short and long term impacts on people's socio-economic lives. Large numbers of villages were uprooted, standing crops, fruits, and houses destroyed. Besides, the region's link with the outside world remained disconnected for many days while going from one village to another was also impossible due to washing away of roads and bridges. Thousands of people had to leave their homes and take shelter in the foot of mountains under the open sky. In this hour of tragedy, those who were not or least affected from the floods came out with open arms to help their brothers and sisters in distress. They not only provided food and shelters to the affected people but also saved their properties from more destructions even providing fodder for their cattle.
Under the definition of civics philosophy, one of the objectives of a state is to ensure the safety of life and property of the citizens and provide them with all necessities of life in an organized way. However, unfortunately, like the government in Pakistan the rulers in Gilgit-Baltistan have been proven totally incompetent and unable to meet any of the pre-requisites of a civilized government during this calamity. The region of Gilgit-Baltistan sitting among the scenic valleys has been gifted by lots of natural and human resources. It has beautiful meadows, valleys; mountains all full of rich mineral resources and more importantly its people are known the world over for their hospitality, potential, peace and tranquility. Moreover, their culture and traditions are unique and place the people in an enviable position among the comity of nations. However, the two million people living in this region have been subjected to inhuman treatment, denied of all their basic social, economic and political rights for the last over 63 years. Whatever miseries in all spheres of life the people of the region are facing today are totally due to the intransigent attitude of the Pakistani rulers. Today, rampant poverty and backwardness have broken the back of the people only because rulers in Islamabad have been plundering the resources of the region and looting away the wealth from the area without giving any benefit to the locals.
Keeping aside for a moment the injustices done by outsiders, when we look at the local level it becomes very painful that those who got the chance of ruling the masses here have never missed any chance to deprive their poor subjects of their basic rights by becoming stooges to others and working more loyal than the king.
The most recent example of the political shenanigan was the announcement by federal government to set aside Rs12 billion for the rehabilitation of the flood-devastated people of Gilgit-Baltistan and then to get its payment stopped through the dishonest and crooked officials. Reports said due to callous attitude, dishonesty, incompetency and conspiracies of the deputy commissioners and their subordinate officials in all the seven districts of the region, the rehabilitation of the displaced people in the region has become almost impossible. This has resulted in the region losing the right to get the Rs12 billion announced by the federal government for the rehabilitation work in the region spreading over 28,000 square kilometers.
As is evident, Islamabad was not sincere in providing any help to the region in the first place and just to hoodwink the international community it had made the announcement only to renege on it. So continuing its deceitful habit, the rulers first asked their corrupt officials in the region to submit the assessment of damages in the flood areas. But the corrupt officials who consider themselves above the law and not accountable to anyone, demonstrated the traditional sluggish attitude in complete disregard to the human sufferings. As a result, the affected and displaced people, including children, women and the elderly, are forced to brave the chilly winter days in the worn-out tents and makeshift camps devoid of all necessities of live. Most of them are already suffering from various diseases including snow bites and there is no medical facility to cope with the situation. More pathetic and unfortunate is the fact that the so-called democratic government of Gilgit-Baltistan has been taking least interest in helping the unfortunate people and the chief minister, ministers and advisers as well as the legislative assembly members are busy in their luxurious life at the expense of the public at large.
This political coterie ruling the region has been active in loot and plunder and corruption in complete disregard to their responsibilities towards the masses in order to fulfill the agenda of their masters sitting in Islamabad.
The worst economic situation, lawlessness and corruption in the region have started stoking the anger of the people against the corrupt rulers. The sense of slavery and subjugation for the last over six decades has now brought the people towards awakening of their rights and political maturity also. People in the region are fast realizing the fact that there is need to get united and fight for their rights otherwise their next generation would also be facing the same fate. There is also a growing sense among the masses that their identity was at stake and they should fight to get it recognized the world over.
The inhuman treatment being meted out to the flood affected and displaced people has also sent a shock wave across the region and they have appealed to their so-called elected leaders to come to the rescue of the victims on humanitarian ground and provide them facilities before it is too late. Besides, the government should also take steps to rehabilitate these e people who have lost everything from land to houses, cattle and other belonging. The government has done nothing for them so far and whatever assistance has reached them has been provided by civil society organizations and philanthropists.
Islamabad should also stop its callous attitude towards the region and provide sufficient funds fro the rehabilitation of the victims if Gilgit-Baltistan.