By: Mudabbir Ali
It is very unfortunate that people of Gilgit-Baltistan are painted as traitors, RAW agents and with other ilk tittles just for raising their concerns and reservations. Recent crackdown on Awami Action Committee (AAC) by arresting two key leaders of the committee has just stretched the chain of unstopped state oppression on the ingenious masses of Gilgit-Baltistan. Awami action committee came to play for the first time when the subsidy on flour was terminated, and after that committee committed to gather on every issue related to the region as a whole, precisely we can call them collective issues. The recent protests called by AAC were mainly to demand due share in china-Pakistan economic corridor. State returned to them with accusations of foreign conspirators and arrested two prominent leaders of the committe. False charges can’t serve the purpose of silencing, rather it further intensifies the cause and made evident State oppression to the people who demurred to accept it. Ultimately, the circle of protestors is enlarging every passing day. In this pretext foreign involvement also gets an easy inlet by sympathizing with the oppressed masses of GB, which ironically Federal is trying to contain. In recent past we have witnessed the case of Baba Jan; who has been pushed behind the bars under unfair allegations, which only increased the resent people had towards the state policies.
The case of AAC is very peculiar as mentioned above, it is not a religious move nor it holds patronage of any political party. People have gathered for collective good of the society, undermining their personal differences and grudges. This is a very good omen that people have started thinking throwing away the sectarian lenses. In this moment of social unrest, to deal people with iron fist would not be a wise decision. State machinery surely have most learned and experienced people to CONTROL us and at most of the time SUBJUGATE us, but being a lay man, I see a very strong backlash emerging behind the screen and they must see it too. Old tactic of “divide and rule” seems failing, because of the inclusive nature of Awami Action Committee. This time it has become very difficult to overcome the public pressure without addressing their constitutional concerns and considering the stake of GB in CPEC.
Intrigued, indigenous minds, who are passively aligned to the “state narrative” asks; do really Gilgit Baltistan has been neglected in CPEC? Or its just speculation or fear for which people are out on streets? This question is not irrelevant, but over the period of time state made it irrelevant through its indifferent attitude and oppressing policies towards GB. If federal government had something for Gilgit-Baltistan in store, then what stops them to divulge it before the masses? They would be pleased doing it for it serves two purposes; bringing ease to the destitute people of GB, and assurance of smooth running of state machinery. But ground realities provide enough evidence to believe that CPEC is more of exploitation than prosperity for the people of north.
Pakistani state, instead of providing room for Indian agencies to monopolize over the ailing political situation, and further agitating the local masses to reach violence, it is better to listen to them and show good will to bring them in mainstream.
Writer from Gilgit-Baltistan and Student of Department of political Science GC University Lahore
Published in Passu Times English – 30th August, 2016