Lis­ten to GB grievances

Pakistan Observer - - EDITORIALS & COMMENT -

PEO­PLE of Gilgit-Baltistan are protest­ing these days against machina tions by some ri­val tribes, sup­ported by vested in­ter­ests that are aimed at de­priv­ing them of their le­git­i­mate rights as far as con­struc­tion of Di­amerBhasha dam is con­cerned. This is not for the first time as in the past as well ei­ther peo­ple of Ko­his­tan or Di­amer have been re­sort­ing to ag­i­ta­tion to high­light their claims over eight kilo­me­tre of dis­puted piece of land.

The is­sue arose af­ter the govern­ment an­nounced com­pen­sa­tion for the fam­i­lies af­fected by the con­struc­tion of the dam. Peo­ple from Ko­his­tan claimed that the area up­stream up till the Basari check post near Chi­las, fell un­der Ko­his­tan’s ju­ris­dic­tion. On the other hand, lo­cals of the Di­amer district main­tained that the area down­stream up to Har­ban be­longed to them. There are rea­sons to be­lieve that peo­ple of GB are be­ing dis­crim­i­nated as orig­i­nally the dam site was well within the GB area but thanks to then Chair­man WAPDA who be­longed to KP, it was bi­fur­cated between GB and KP just for the sake of long term mone­tary ben­e­fits in the shape of roy­alty. There was ab­so­lutely no jus­ti­fi­ca­tion to lo­cate power house in KP area when more ap­pro­pri­ate sites were avail­able in GB re­gion for the pur­pose but peo­ple of GB were de­nied their due right only be­cause no one pleaded their cause ef­fec­tively. Cham­pi­ons of small Prov­inces have been very vo­cal but they keep mum when it comes to safe­guard­ing rights of peo­ple of GB. De­ploy­ing of se­cu­rity forces to brow-beat lo­cals would not re­solve the is­sue that needs to be set­tled in a just and trans­par­ent man­ner. There had been a sug­ges­tion for set­ting of a neu­tral com­mis­sion to de­ter­mine the fate of the chunk of the dis­puted land and it should be formed with­out los­ing fur­ther time.

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