[Editorial] Save Gojal, Hunza from Riaz Malik

The Attabad Disaster has exposed people of Hunza to dangers which were unthinkable in the near past of pre Attabad Disaster.  Due to lose of  economic  means survival and faced with the trauma of losing the loved and precious belongings in an unexpected way and the resultant weakened and slackened social structure people of Hunza in general but those of Attabad, Sarat, Salmanabad and people in Thesil of Gojal particularly have become extremely vulnerable to unknown threats.

Previously a comparatively stable economic society, closely knitted community, with availability of basic infrastructures of health, education and means of transportation were having significantly a safe and secure life. There was a major role of tourism, trade with China and trading of agricultural surplus in strengthening economic base.  Whereas Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) had played a major role to provide facilities of health, education and necessary know how to increase agricultural productivity and venturing into business either tourism or trade with China. The government of Pakistan as it is inefficient in the rest of Pakistan was worse in Gilgit-Baltistan and worst in Hunza in delivering even basic life necessities even during the usual course of life but has become damaging in the post Attabad Disaster scenario. Overall it has shaken the whole working mechanism of the community.

The sudden disruption of road linkage of Upper Hunza (Gojal) due to the submerging of the Karakorum Highway (KKH), blockage of Hunza River and resultant formation of Attabad Lake has crippled socio-economic base of 25000 people who are living in a strategically highly important area. Where people of Shishkat, Ayeenabad and Gulmit have lost their personal belongings and property at the same times it has devastated the social and economic mechanism. The main player in social mechanics of life in the areas of health, and education was AKDN which has not been able to respond as quickly as people had expected and so is being thought to provide immediate relief in the upstream of Attabad Lake in Gojal. AKDN is doing its best particularly through FOCUS Humanitarian Progamme which has the mandate to respond people in emergencies. AKDN is engaged in planning long term resettlement of the affected people of disaster and for sure it would do its best which will also be best for the people in the area.

However, having seen a golden opportunity of the existing short term gap and despair of people some people with filthy social record have entered in the community. Opportunities in Hunza which is one of the most important strategic location, which does also bear tremendous business opportunities due to Pak-China trade and more than ever expected expanding tourism business some social vultures, are trying to take advantage. Riaz Malik of Bahria Town is one of those, you could see from the posted media article here on Giglit-Baltistan Times, Riaz Malik is being dragged in the supreme court for murder, black mailing, land grabbing, and who is involved in so many other anti-social  activities with interest in hoteling, housing and tourism business has established a health center in Gulmit, Gojal (Upper Hunza). Riaz Malik has also said to offer to build homes for 25000 stranded families.  Bu why??? Is it his philanthropic work out of his sympathy for the disaster affected people of Gojal or he has hidden opportunities???

Would people of Hunza have allowed Riaz Malik let alone establishing a health center or 25000 homes, to have an inch of land? People of Gojal, Hunza have not forgotten the Brig ( R) Aslam Baig and his evil intensions of grabbing the land for heinous purposes to fulfill his heinous anti-social deeds through black mailing.  Remember Riaz Malik is a worst evil than Brig ( R) Aslam Baig. People responsible have to act fast otherwise it will be a very high cost to correct the wrong which would be committed by the people in hast and in a state of confusion which people of the Hunza do face today. So stand to save Hunza from Riaz Malik.

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