GILGIT: The traders observed shutter down strike in Skardu against imposition of taxes on the residents of Gilgit-Baltistan without determining constitutional statues of the region.
The protesting traders announced to boycott transactions in private and government banks for five days. The protest call was given by Anjuman-i- Tajeeran Skardu. The markets, shops and bazaars in Skardu remained closed from 10 am to 12 noon. People faced difficulties in purchasing daily use items.
A large number of traders and workers of political parties including PPP and PTI gathered at Hussaini Chowk and staged a sit-in. The protesters then started moving toward the press club.
They were chanting slogans against the federal and regional governments for imposing withholding taxes, income taxes and other taxes on local people without declaring Gilgit-Balgistan a constitutional part of the country.
Sartaj Ali Kamal and other leaders of traders said that taxes could not be imposed on people of Gilgit-Baltistan until the region was declared a constitutional part of the country. They said that without representation in National Assembly and Senate, collecting of taxes from people of the region was unjust.
The protesters demanded that Gilgit-Baltistan should be declared a tax-free region. They said that people of the region rendered sacrifices for the country and annexed it into Pakistan unconditionally seven decades ago but the centre did not accept them. They demanded of the prime minister to look into the issue.
The protesters said that a movement would be launched if their demands were not met.
The opposition parties in Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly, GB Hotel Associations and Contractors Association also opposed imposition of taxes.
Published in Dawn, October 13th, 2017
GILGIT: They say someone does not officially exist till the government recognises them, even if there are thousands who have benefitted from their existence. Salima Begum is one such individual.
Despite having received recognition from the brightest minds in her field, the Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) government seemingly has little interest in the teacher’s achievements.
A resident of G-B, Salima was awarded a medal by the Global Teacher Prize platform on March 19 earlier this year for her outstanding contributions to the field of education in the region. She secured the medal after beating off stiff competition from 20,000 teachers from 179 countries around the world.
Her achievement, however, came just days after G-B Chief Minister Hafeezur Rehman gloated over his government’s performance, claiming that steps were being taken to encourage teachers to combat illiteracy in the region.
But Rehman’s government has yet to ‘encourage’ Salima.
The teacher, though, says the global honour is the vindication she wanted for her efforts.
“It is an achievement of which I am proud. I want to dedicate it to the country, my region and its people,” she says.
But the award, she feels, is insufficient to support her goal of educating women.
“The gold medal is special for many reasons, but I am disappointed because no one from the government has taken any interest in my achievement,” lamented Salima.
In stark contrast, 50 finalists of other countries were ‘celebrated’ by their respective governments, receiving awards, cash prizes and recognition and encouragement aplenty from their respective heads of state, Salima pointed out.
Pakistan’s Federal Education Minister Balighur Rahman had been invited to the event but did not show up.
“This was just disheartening, to say the least,” says Salima, who wants to wipe out illiteracy from her area.
The gold medalist wants to increase the quality of education available in her native area by offering training courses. She also hopes to empower women by establishing technical institutions for them.
“I also want support people in the field of teacher education,” says the woman who has a Masters in Education in Teacher’s Education and International Relations from the Aga Khan University in Karachi along with a Masters in Philosophy from the Institute of Education at the University of London, and is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Philosophy (PhD) in Teacher Education.
Salima also plans to support financially-disadvantaged women so they can meet their academic expenditures.
However, her goals require government support. But Gilgit has given no sign that help may be coming anytime soon, keeping her goals firmly rooted in the papers they have been planned on.
‘Dr Pfau is a role model for German-Pakistani relations’
“I have offers on the global level to help with education,” says the disheartened teacher. “Unfortunately, my government does not value my expertise.”
The latest in those offers was an invitation by the Qatar Foundation to attend the World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) in Doha.
“It is a golden opportunity to interact with Global educational intellectuals and learn from their experiences.”
By Shabbir Mir. Posted: https://tribune.com.pk/story/1556632/1-gilgit-baltistan-ignoring-education-messiah/
GILGIT: The people of Gilgit-Baltistan are celebrating their 70th Independence Day today (Wednesday) amid dejection that their repeated calls for being granted the constitutional status have not been heeded by the successive governments in Islamabad.
The regional government has declared an official holiday on the occasion, where rallies and functions highlighting the importance of the day would be organised.
Tanveer Hussain, a political activist, said in a revolt against Dogra Raj the people of GB had liberated 72,000 square kilometres of land, which connects Pakistan with its all-weather friend China, India, Afghanistan and central Asian countries.
He said his forefathers had sacrificed their lives for liberation of the region from the clutches of Dogra Raj and British colonialists, but 70 years after the liberation, the people of the region were yet to be accepted as full citizens of Pakistan.
Islamuddin, a lawyer, said GB people had always defended the frontiers of Pakistan and had produced heroes like Lalik Jan (Nishan-i-Haider) and Samina Baig, the first woman to have climbed the Mount Everest, but the people had not been given the right to elect their representatives for the National Assembly and Senate of Pakistan.
The young lawyer said for decades the GB people had been governed through bureaucracy in Islamabad.
Former IG Sindh and political expert Afzal Ali Shigri told Dawn that it was injustice to keep the GB people deprived of their constitutional rights. “GB people have been struggling for their integration with Pakistan for many decades,” he said.
He said the successive governments in the centre had not bothered to grant constitutional status to the GB people.
Mr Shigri criticised the PML-N-led federal government for delaying the issue of granting constitutional rights to the people of GB.
Talking about AJK leadership’s opposition to GB being declared as part of Pakistan, he said Kashmiris had their own government, Supreme Court and High Court, but the GB people never opposed them. He added it was unfair on part of AJK leadership that they were ‘creating’ hurdles to GB people’s demands.
The biggest project in the history of Pakistan, China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, is passing through the region, but without determining the constitutional status of GB, he lamented.
Amjad Hussain, PPP GB chapter president, said betterment of the region’s people was not on the priority list of PML-N government.
PTI GB chapter president Raja Jalal Hussain said if his party came to power in the centre it would solve the issues facing the GB people.
Published in Dawn, November 1st, 2017
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