[Interview] An interview with Nazir Sabir
November 2, 2009 5 Comments
An interview with Nazir Sabir, a hero of the Nation of Gilgit-Baltistan, son of soil of Hunza, who is just not a internationally well known mountaineer, he is also a scholar and an out-spoken expert on the politics, culture and environment of the mountains, valleys and people of Gilgit-Baltistan. He served as a representative of Hunza in Northern Areas Legislative Assembly (NALA) by defeating first time ever in history Ghazanfar Ali Khan, which was a task many heavy weights of Hunza were unable to achieve until Nazir Sabir entered into politics and heavily defeated Ghazanfar Ali Khan and make a huge dent on the political career of 900 years old Ayashkuch rule in Hunza, which they could not recover forever. The Nazir Sabir’s struggle had paved way for the wining of Wazir Baig in his last tenure as a member of NALA but then Ghazanfar was able to reach NALA once more in the previous elections cashing some of the political lacking of the decent and sober candidates but this time Ghazanfar once more has not served the people of Hunza and has not learned lessons from his two previous defeats and success so first time ever Ghazanfar himself is not directly contesting elections because he is one of the top defaulters of Banks rather one of his unknown son Sheryar is contesting the elections but defeat is a starkly obvious fact for him. The other favourite candidates are Wazir Baig, Kamil Jan and Noor Muhammad. Nazir Sabir is supporting Wazir Baig in the GBLA elections 2009 because both belong to the current ruling party in Pakistan PPP.
GB TIMES: Nazir Sahib, how do you see your recentt visit to Hunza for supporting Wazir Biag in his election campaign?
Nazir Sabir: I take it as a duty to support anyone who has desire, commitment and enthusiasm to work for the development of Hunza and the welfare of people. Wazir Baig, in my opinion is the best candidate capable of serving the people of Hunza in GBLA, he is capable of representing the whole region of Gilgit-Baltistan as a prudent political leader. On these ground I have made a humble effort to create awareness among the people of Hunza to vote for the right candidate at the right time.
GB TIMES: You have high regards among the people of Hunza as a hero who first time ever in the history of Gilgit-Baltistan and Pakistan mounted the mighty Everest the highest mountain peak in the world and for making history of breaking the 900 years old ‘Ayaskoch’ rule in Hunza, and they expect you to play a much bigger role than this?
Nazir Sabir: The love for Hunza and its people is always in my thoughts, where ever I go in the world, on international forums and when I mounted Everest holding green flag I tried to represent the good face of Hunza and Gilgit-Baltistan. As an ambassador of Hunza not only at regional or national level also on international level I try to project the Hunza, its culture, its natural beauty and civilized people and it gives me tremendous satisfaction.
As far as elections of GBLA 2009 are concerned, I think and believe that Wazir Baig is the best candidate keeping in view the political landscape of Hunza and need of the people. So I put all my support on the back of Wazir Baig.
GB TIMES: Indeed your role to represent Hunza internationally as internationally high regarded not only a mountaineer also as an expert and scholar of mountain cultures and civilization of Hunza and Gilgit-Baltistan, your contributions are in invaluable. However, keeping in view your previous successes in politics, when you have brought in the major change by first time defeating Ghazanfar Ali Khan, the last true descendent of 900 years old ruling dynasty of Hunza the ‘Ayashkuch’ people expect you to bring such a change once more, this time in the system and way politics is being dealt how do you look at this?
Nazir Sabir: I am always ready to serve the people of Hunza, this is not the only election to happen in Hunza and the future is ahead of us. I have learned a lot about politics in my last term as a member of GBLA at that time it was called ‘NALA’ and added more in all these later years. Practically I am involved in politics where ever and whenever it is required for the benefit of Hunza and Gilgit-Baltistan. For sure, all ways are open for my candidature for elections that would happen in future if I feel that way I could be more capable of serving the people and people want me to serve them.
GB Times: How do you see the future of Hunza in politics?
Nazir Sabir: I am very much confident and optimistic regarding the successful and a bright future for Hunza not only in politics, in all spheres of life, economically, socially and culturally. At the same time we have to work hard for achievements of high levels of quality of life for each and every one. Politically we need to build bridges, particular with our brothers and sisters in Nagar for the good of all. In fact the people and geography of Nagar and Hunza are same it is just a river which has drawn a line between us, thanks to modern technology for building roads and bridges this gape is now disappearing as we have been able to communicate and interact more and more with each other through people to people contacts. We have to strengthen this relationship more and further our linkage and trust as a one community through projects of common interest and supporting each other in all walks of life either it is politics, education, economics, culture or health. It is highly important considering the changes those are occurring in our neighbourhood on the all sides of our borders in Xinxiang, Tibet, and Kashmir.
GB TIMES: How do you link the issue of Kashmir with Gilgit-Baltistan?
Nazir Sabir: People of Gilgit-Baltistan have always helped Kashmiries to grant Kashmiries freedom, however the laziness and insincerity of Kashmiries with the struggle of their own freedom has kept them under occupation. Kashmiries have always been injected a will for the struggle of freedom by sources foreign to Kashmiries and whenever these sources take their helping hands away from Kashmir the movement of freedom diminishes. Just take the recent example, till 2002 when Pakistan was supporting the freedom struggle of Kashmiries it was on its boom and first time ever Kashmiri struggle for freedom was on the headlines of News Papers and TV channels but as soon as Pakistan has refrained from helping the Kashimir’s freedom movement and taken back its support of Jihadist there is a lull in the movement. In recent National election of India, more than 60% Kashmiries have voted and it is a high turnover for any elections under the occupation, and Congress Party won the elections. In this way there is no comparison between Kashmiries and the Gilgit-Baltistanies. Giglit-Baltistanis have won their freedom fight alone with the Dogra’s without any foreign help, people of Gilgit-Baltistan are brave, hardworking and live with dignity where as these good virtues are absent in Kashmiries.
GB TIMES: What are your views regarding the current remarks of Kashimiri leader regarding the recently announced Gilgit-Baltistan Autonomy package?
Nazir Sabir: Simply, Amanullah Khan would not find a piece of land for his burial neither in Gilgit-Baltistan nor in the Indian side of Kashmir. He is a traitor of the people of Gilgit-Baltistan and Kashmiries as well. Amanullah Khan of JKLF is doing politics only for his own selfish and vested interests; he is not a true sympathizer of nation. I strongly condemn his brutal and vicious approach towards the people of Gilgit-Baltistan. Yaseen Malik is a barking dog for a daily rent, he is like an insane and lunatic person and drastically filthy in his language. People in Gilgit-Baltistan do not even bother to pay any attention to these two dogs on rent. However, it is important to remember that Kashmiries are all out to snatch whatever people of Gilgit-Baltistan have attained through the Gilgit-Baltistan autonomy package and want to stop any future progressive development in Gilgit-Baltistan either economic or political.
GB TIMES: Are you satisfied with the current Autonomy Package for Gilgit-Baltistan?
Nazir Sabir: Let me put it this way, this package do contain many good things for Gilgit-Baltistan, it has given us a name, progressed towards a provincial set-up, empowered our representatives in many areas which were previously out of the reach. We should take it as a first step towards complete autonomy, there is a heavy burden on the shoulders of our political representatives to take advantage of this package and make it possible to enhance and attain the higher level of autonomy.
Having said this, it is very much needed to provide representation for the people of Gilgit-Baltistan both in National Assembly and Senate. When there are seats in Lok Sabah for Gilgit-Baltistan, why Pakistan should feel shy for giving representation for the people of Gilgit-Baltistan in Pakistan’s National Assembly and Senate? Representation in National Assembly and Senate would strengthen the loyalty of the people of Gilgit-Baltistan with Pakistan. Otherwise, the groups of Nationalist are attaining long roots and there are foreign elements that are flaring the fire against Pakistan by using the long standing political deprivations. So that Pakistan should immediately give to the people of Gilgit-Baltistan representation in National Assembly and Senate and establish Gilgit-Baltistan along with Chitral the fifth province of Pakistan.
GB TIMES: How would Pakistan take Gilgit-Baltistan in terms of Kashmir dispute over which Pakistan has fought three wars with India?
Nazir Sabir: In my view strategically Gilgit-Baltistan is much more important than Kashmir and there is a growing sense of this recognition in Pakistani establishment, who have long ignored this reality. Till the resolution of Kashmir which is a dispute over nothing more than a small piece of land between Pakistan and India, whereas Gilgit-Baltistan borders with five countries and with the futures super Power China, so Pakistan should immediately give Gilgit-Baltistan representation in its National Assembly and Senate and let the Kashmir issue be resolved separately.
GB TIMES: The current government of PPP could have given a full provincial status and representation to Gilgit-Baltistan in National Assembly and Senate, as you belongs to the same party why it did not happen?
Nazir Sabir: Let’s do not forget the favours of PPP for the people of Gilgit-Baltistan, in the history of Gilgit-Baltistan since 1970s all the major democratic and political rights have been granted when the PPP was in government. The same way, the current package which giving a higher status to Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly (GBLA) in line with the provincial assemblies of Pakistan is a major positive change forward and it is an important step towards full and complete provincial status for Gilgit-Baltistan in the next step. I am sure PPP would soon make it possible to give Gilgit-Baltistan a provincial status, but as I have already said, the current government should immediately give representation to the people of Gilgit-Baltistan in its National Assembly and Senate without being shy of anything.
GB TIMES: Now, we would appreciate to have your ideas regarding the current level of weak regional leadership of PPP in Gilgit-Baltistan, are you lacking more competent people in Gilgit-Baltistan within your party?
Nazir Sabir: Let me accept this fact that regarding our regional leadership positions we are not up to the mark and have weak representation. There are more competent and loyal party members who could serve the party lines more effectively and efficiently and we should give chances to them. One of the reasons for the current level of the leadership of PPP is a baggage inherited because of some of the previous leadership and today unwillingly party has to make a compromise over it because of political reasons, which involve regional and religious influences in case of Gilgit-Baltistan.
I was offered the presidency of PPP, Gilgit-Baltistan but I am unable to devote required time for the regional politics with in PPP so I excused the offer.
GB TIMES: In your opinion at regional level what are the most important things we need to pay attention in Gilgit-Baltistan?
Nazir Sabir: First and far most we have a need to create unity among all the districts of Gilgit-Baltistan and come out of regional, sectarian, lingual and ethnic differences as these divides are major barriers and hurdles in our development. Second we have to focus on utilization of our natural resources such as water, minerals, horticultural and agricultural potentials, tourism, and the most important human resource development and creating job and income generating opportunities in our own area. Finally the assurance of political and democratic rights of the people of Gilgit-Baltistan is very important as it is highly linked with the provision of development funds and projects from national pool of funds.
GB TIMES: we would like this to be the last question? How do you look at the role of Hunza in upcoming seating of representative in GBLA an assembly different that the previous NALA?
Nazir Sabir: I expect our political representatives to play a more active and much larger role than they did previously. This time besides one elected member we would have two other members one women and one technocrat all of three would have responsibility to make it sure that Hunza is getting it due rights in the form of development funds and projects and voice of Hunza be heard in a civilized and educated manner.
The representatives from Hunza have to represent not only Hunza they have to represent the whole of Gilgit-Baltistan and work for the rights and development of all regions of Gilgit-Baltistan. I hope Wazir Baig would be speaker of the GBLA.
GB TIMES: Who could be most favourite for the first Chief Minister of Gilgit-Baltistan for the PPP.
Nazir Sabir: I think Pir Karam Ali Shah who is a long time tested support of PPP in all seasons of politics is the most suitable candidate for the position of Chief Ministers of GBLA on behalf of PPP.
GB TIMES: Thank you so much Muhtaram Nazir Sabir, you have given us a highly valuable time despite that you were all way awaken through the night and tired as well as you just reached from your intensive and extensive election campaign in Hunza, and have to leave now for Europe to represent Hunza, Gilgit-Baltistan and Pakistan at International Mountain Submit in Italy. We wish you best of luck in all your future endeavours, thank you once more!!!
Nazir Sabir: I appreciate the efforts of GB TIMES to create awareness and spreading messages of peace and harmony among the people of Gilgit-Baltistan and hope GB TIME would do more in future. All the best for you!!!!