9/11 of Gilgit-Baltistan : And, The Way Out
28,174 mi square of land, seven district Ghance , Skardu , Gilgit, Diamir , Ghizer,Astore, Huza-Nagar. Inhibiting around 1.8 million people with great diversity of geography, culture, art, poetry , food, language, mental attitude and schools of faith. Mother to the land of martyrs, the pride of Pakistan in bravery , behold the highest medal of Bravery Nishan e Haider , home to world 2nd largest Mountain K-2 on the face of planet , the ROOF of The World Gilgit-Baltistan in greatest trauma ,when the innocent pilgrims of Gilgit-Baltistan , on way back to home in Mashaburum bus were being brutally executed by armed 15 to 18 men after creating an artificial landslide to make the Bus stop .
About three decades ago i.e before 1980 the unity of Shia and Sunnies was exemplary , which can be well understood from the fact that in the month of Muharrum the Sunni community used to organize ”sabeel ” to show a religious solidarity with the Shia community. There existed a relative peace and harmony in region even though the literacy rate was at its lowest ebb at that time. For hundreds of years the region has never experienced a sectarian violence rather the Gilgit-Baltistan people fought together and fought well for the independence of Gilgit-Baltistan from Maharaja , which remained a state for 14 days and then became part of Pakistan. Interestingly Gilgit-Baltistan is the only place where two independence days are celebrated, 14 August the national Independence day and 1 November the Independence day of Gilgit-Baltistan.
Our forefather left us region , where diversity existed in a very peaceful manner . Now with the advancement of everything , increase in the literacy , globalization yet the minds have become filled with stone age prejudices and sectarianism .Realistically speaking the Gilgit city is polarized to an extent where the government offices are divided , hospitals are separate , traveling routs are separate, the taxi drivers do not provide service to sister community area. Sectarian target killing is going on . Educated class is full of religious bigotry .Social attitudes like ” Pluralism ” , ”cosmopolitan ethic ”, tolerance ,”peaceful co-existence ” even does not come in domain of our thoughts. we must revisit where we are going?. Over the last few decades our society as whole has become more emotionally vulnerable , polarized and radicalized .Most of the people are aware of this fundamental weakness of society which is exploited by many parties within and outside the Gilgit-Baltistan.
Recent killings of 18 people including women has made the situation from bad to worse, there might be a backlash from the other community and the cycle may go on from weeks to months and from months to years . Between the common people suffer enormously in terms of economy and even loss of life. Its a critical time for all the stakeholders of Gilgit-Baltistan whether its political authority, civil society , religious scholars , teachers and especially youth to realize that , its ultimately people of Gilgit-Baltistan going to suffer , we have to realize that our development gets paralyzed. We have to realize that our blood bleeds every time a sectarian issue rises.
Change towards pluralistic mind set is only possible by acknowledging the fact that peaceful co-existence within different schools of faith is the only solution for sectarian violence. To do that Youth of Gilgit-Baltistan has a big role to play. They are the future stakeholders of Gilgit-Baltistan. Appreciating the differences within faith and seeing diversity as strength , practicing pluralistic attitude will be a guarantor for the peace , harmony and prosperity in our beloved Gilgit-Baltistan which is the the identity of Pakistan.
By Jibran Hayat
Organization For Educational Change(OEC)
Student FAST-NU Peshawer
Note: It is not official opinion of writer or organization, we appreciate diverse opinions for public discussion and debate.