Stories about Gilgit-Baltistan

Why I am disappointed with Coke Studio season 9

Dear Coke Studio, I thank you for your efforts, for giving us some fine music yet again and bringing together the best talent in Pakistan. You are indeed a platform that makes us proud of our music. There are so many reasons why we love you and eagerly await your season each year. However, despite being a fan of your music, I couldn’t help but feel dissatisfied over the fact that you have completely neglected other provinces and their music in your latest season. Your biased attitude has disgruntled me. And it leaves me as a fan feeling like this gesture was in bad taste. I love Punjabi and Urdu ...

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Quaid-e-Azam inter-provincial games: A light at the end of Pakistan’s barren sports tunnel

What is it about Lionel Messi that excites fans as he dribbles the ball across the field? What gives players like Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic the ability to hypnotise fans as they compete on the court? Is Usain Bolt’s speed really a big deal, after all, he did only run a 100-meter race at the Olympics. It seems as though for the average Pakistani, everything that is remotely foreign seems to be infinitely more appealing, but does that really come as a surprise? Pakistan’s football team is ranked 190th in the world, we are still raving about Aisamul Haq’s success ...

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What constitutes ‘proper’ Quranic education?

In Pakistani schools, making it compulsory to study the Holy Quran is a bit like insisting the prime minister to take a cruise along the Panama Canal for his birthday, never mind that it’s supposed to be a beautiful spot. Yet, compulsory Quranic studies is apparently in store for young Pakistanis according to a speech given by the Minister of State for Education and Professional Training, ‘Engr’ Muhammad Baligh ur Rahman. Mind you, speeches given by government ministers are often so much chaff, but still, speaking at Al-Huda International School’s fourth annual day celebrations (where else?) ‘Engr’ Rahman said that; “This process ...

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Have all the parties concerned in the case for PIA really lost it?

The business of the state is to run the state and to govern it for greater public good. There are no two opinions about this. That, in this day and age of corporatisation and decentralisation, means the state should not be running banks, airlines and factories. Rather it should focus on setting up regulatory authorities and let them run companies which provide these professional services. The jury is still out on the economics of privatisation of State assets. The previous examples of PTCL and UBL are being bandied about on how the imperatives of transparency and profitability were bypassed. But what about the ...

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For how long will people like Muzaffar Ali, from GB, remain disenfranchised?

All justice is blind, but some justice is blinder than others. The blindness of justice is supposedly a powerful metaphor, alluding to its impartial and independent dispensation. Unfortunately, in our beloved country, the justice system unseeingly crushes the powerless. That’s the reality we live in today. Despite having one of the world’s most modern constitutions, saving a few articles, we never see it in effect. The influential section of society constantly eludes the law and commits transgressions. A story of a similar injustice is making rounds on social media and has been shared by thousands of people in Gilgit-Baltistan (GB). Ths young man's lost his job, jailed 4 ...

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Will Gilgit-Baltistan witness a peaceful Muharram this year?

As the Himalayan peaks witnessed their first snowfall, I was automatically reminded of my days in Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B). I turned towards the window overlooking the silhouette of mountains, and I wondered whether Gilgit will witness a peaceful Muharram this year. Gilgit, being the capital of the province, is home to a fair representation of all sects; Sunnis, Shias, Ismailis and Noor Bakhsis. During Muharram, streets are thronged with men, women and children making their way to various majalis and processions.  “We climb the mountains around Gilgit valley to illuminate the name of Imam Hussain (RA), drawn out with candles,” says a young ...

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Why Gilgit-Baltistan is not given the appreciation it deserves

The world has shrunk into a global village and everything seems to be available at the request of a single click. The promotion of any sort of business, even in far flung developing countries, has become easier than before. It seems that social media is facilitating the marketers to a great extent. However, this ease has triggered a complex competition of creative ideas, a race of initiatives, and the tactical management of these social media mechanics in order to attract fruitful prospects. In such a scenario, it was really surprising for me when I couldn’t find the name of our country and its beautiful and scenic tourism ...

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10 lessons Pakistan can learn from the 2015 Turkish General Elections

The 24th general elections of the Republic of Turkey were held on June 7, 2015, to elect 550 members of the Grand National Assembly. The election left many surprised as it resulted in the first hung parliament in Turkey since 1999. However, from a purely Pakistani perspective, there are many lessons to draw, some which have been mentioned here: 1) The ruling party should not be over-confident The Justice and Development Party (AKP) has governed Turkey since 2002 and won its fourth consecutive election this time. However, it lost its parliamentary majority as its total seats dropped from 311 to 258. Thus AKP, despite winning the elections failed miserably to meet President Tayyip Erdoğan’s ambitious target of getting 400 ...

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What a local from Gilgit-Balitistan thinks of the G-B elections

During a chat with a local, who in his opinion, highlights the major causes and precursors (whether correct or not) of the shift in trend of the traditional voters in Gilgit-Baltistan. It was 10:45am when I received his call, “Doctor sahib, I am outside waiting for you, no one else turned in today.” Askari (name changed), is around 50-years-old and is a van driver from my company. He belongs to the Gilgit-Baltistan area and has characteristic facial features of a Balti. As I stood up, switching off the news being aired, the last few remarks I heard were from Syed Mehdi Shah of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), ...

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Indian media’s ‘lack’ of Kashmir and Pakistan’s geographical understanding

In the words of one very well-meaning Kashmiri journalist, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led New Delhi government and largely jingoist Indian electronic media have made anti-India resistance in restive Jammu and Kashmir much easier than before. What he meant was that now one only needs to wave a Pakistani flag for a brief moment in any part of Jammu and Kashmir to irritate the Indian government and irk its electronic media. It has become so easy to get them worked up. And once you infuriate them, the right-wing politicians issue strong-worded statements against “pro-Pakistan elements” within Kashmir and the electronic media follows ...

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