[Letter To Editor of Dawn] Hunza Valley constituency

  By: Noor Muhammad,
Saturday, 26 Sep, 2009 | 01:55 AM PST

QAMAR Zaman Kaira, the proposed governor of Gilgit-Baltistan, has reportedly said that in view of the upcoming elections it may not be an appropriate time to allocate additional seat for the Hunza Valley in the Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly.

He has, however, said that allocation of funds on the basis of population will be ensured.

It seems to be yet another delaying tactic by the federal government. The fact remains that demand for additional seat for Hunza has been there since 1994, the first time any administrative reform was introduced in the region.

It appears that the government will delay the election by a few months and ensure that the six new seats, including the one for Hunza, are allocated to Ghizar, Gilgit and Shigar before people go to the polls.

The people in Hunza have been left at the mercy of international NGOs that neither have the mandate nor the capacity to offer basic facilities to the people. The result of this trend has been skewed development, where some sectors of society have progressed fairly well, like education, but other vital social needs remain unmet, like public healthcare. This trend is more visible in the far-flung parts of the Hunza Valley.

Allocation of an additional seat for the Hunza Valley in the legislative assembly will help the marginalised local communities, especially of the far-flung Gojal Valley, that are suffering due to inadequate distribution of resources.

It is thus important to be careful during delimitation, whenever it takes place, that interests of these indigenous local communities are protected. The Gojal Valley counts for more than 80 per cent of the land area of Hunza, and is home to three minority ethnic groups of Wakhi, Burusho and Beris (Dooms).

Therefore, while it is important to allocate additional seat for the Hunza Valley, the delimitation will have to be planned in such a manner that interests of the Wakhi majority population in Gojal tehsil are not affected.

NOOR MUHAMMAD

Karachi (source)

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