Original Articles

Gilgit-Baltistan: Fact File – by Dr. Zaeem Zia

What a misery it is to see, we always beat the drums and propagate tyranny of Indian forces for what’s happening in Kashmir and Israel in Palestine. We claim to be the champs and the sign of peace and disassociate ourselves from our own bloodshed on our soil. We pass the resolutions and condemn when we see injustice and brutality beyond our borders, we take suo mottos action when it comes to politics, and we label a piece of paper as threat to the national security when it seems to violate the bubble of ego around individuals impacting institutions.


Gilgit-Baltistan is my home town. There used to be a time when it was a tourist shangrilla, now has turned into a hell on earth. Peace and fraternity was our identity, but random killings are a routine tradition in Gilgit now. Our ancestors were famous for brotherhood, and the progeny has turned into worst enemies based on sectarian issues. Renowned society for associations and affiliations in all aspects of life is nowhere to be seen but the new generation is notoriously good at dissociations, indiscriminate killings and divisions.


Gilgit-Baltistan strategically located in an important region and lies right in the middle of four nuclear powers, India, China, Pakistan, and Tajikistan, previously Russian federal unit, and Afghanistan. It is the shortest and the safest access to the Central Asian rich states of oil and gas; the only route to the fastest growing economy of China in today’s world.


The question arises, as who is to be settled responsible for all the bloodshed in Gilgit-Baltistan. What makes people of Gilgit-Baltistan to grab weapons against each other? And what is so difficult for the security agencies to get hold of miscreant trouble shooters? Having a look at security statistics may be more helpful.

Gilgit-Baltistan has 6000 police force, elite force, quick response force (QRF),  800 rangers who are contracted from other province, Gilgit-Baltistan Scouts are in thousands, a whole Military division, comprising of three brigades, which in turn have 3 units per brigade, each unit has 800 soldiers. ISI, MI, and other intelligence have their best networks in the region compared to other parts of the country. Almost 22 intelligence agencies work in this close proximity and yet fail to control the situation and to track the miscreants in Gilgit City alone?


The major trouble shooting area is Gilgit City, which from the Toll Plaza to baseen is no more than 5 kilometers in its length and barely three Kilometers in width. The total population in this small city is scarcely 150,000. Technically, it should be easy to handle the miscreants with iron hands, but practically it is not happening. The question rises, whose fault is it? Who should be snubbed?


Some certain quarters have publically announced on record and threatened that unless the present PPP Government is not shown home way and the present Chief Minister G-B and Governor are not made away; peace could not be retained in the whole region. The content of this ultimatum could easily be read in between the lines as who are the real threats and responsible persons to violate the law and order situation and indiscriminate killings of innocent people of Gilgit. The Security forces and Intelligence agencies should unearth the actual culprits well in time otherwise the most important region of Pakistan would be destabilized and unrest would blow up randomly.


Death toll in the target killing be more in GB than in IHK over the period of time that they have been victimized. People are being assassinated on streets, right next to the security bunkers, to exemplify, Syed Zia Ud Din Rizvi, most influential religious scholar, Dr. Sher Wali, a professional doctor, Saif Ur Rehman khan, a political leader, Asad Zaidi, Deputy Speaker of GB Assembly, and Ramzan Danish a renowned businessman, and a Political leader and there are thousands more. So again, why can’t it be controlled by our security agencies? Why the Govt. has spent, roughly, Rs.165 million as finances thus incurred on rangers imported from other provinces of Pakistan- if we still have to face this music of violence…..why such a huge financial loss is borne by the Exchequer.


Streets are haunted from the fear of assassination; economy is almost zero; tourism, due to the violence, is record low, educational institutions barely work, offices are shut and hospitals, post offices and other departments are divided on sectarian basis, there are no go areas to be sure enough.


There is such uncertainty that anyone can get assassinated anytime, anywhere- There have been more than 600 killings over 5 years. Who will be responsible for their children? They are now orphans for the rest of their lives? What impact would they have on their personality by groomed in orphanage? Who will compensate for their miseries in the rest of their lives? Almost every other home bears a widow, helpless and without support and lack of justice? The favorite prey of the terrorism is either most learned most influential or most prominent political figures. Gilgit-Baltistan has lost so many leaders, Scholars, officers, and social workers so far- and we do not care and still looking for more people to fall prey to the terrorists actions.


It is the need of the time to focus on the strategies to tackle the highly volatile situation in Gilgit- or else the results will be even worse and uncontrollable. More Killings, more terror and tyranny lead to total annihilation of our progeny; our Government has to take account of it well in time through drastic measures against miscreants and their think tanks. Writ of law should prevail, more rigorous legislation on security issues should be done, and rather making “Aman Jirgas” the documented and proved miscreants should be dealt and made an example for others to bring peace and prosperity to the region- in case of failure, the brunt may fall on the security agencies responsible for the people of Gilgit-Baltistan. Rather raising fingers at our naïve legislative structure, we should help them flourish the Gilgit-Baltistan package, which can be more beneficial in future. And I urge youngsters to take part in the peace process and intra-faith harmony.


Gilgit-Baltistan Zindabad, Pakistan Payendabad


Dr. Zaeem Zia, Scholar, Health Policy Management and Administration, University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma, USA



About the author

Farhad Jarral


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  • Dear Dr.Zaeem Zia,

    thanks for your loyal article, we appreciate for your good struggle and hidden services for this piece of homeland.

    we love you.

    best regards
    Hameed Ziarat

  • Dear Dr.Z.Z,

    We felt your love for the home land and understood what you tried to convey through the article,but there is one thing I want to comment on:”There used to be a time when it was a tourist shangrilla, now has turned into a hell on earth”
    I don’t agree to the second part of sentence. great number of domestic tourists had visited Gilgit-Baltistan as compared to previous years.

    Shehzad Alam

  • @Hamed Ziarat-

    Thank you for wonderful words-I appreciate that-

    @Shehzad Alam-

    I worked for Govt of GB with CM- I know the ground realities sir- I will consider it for next time 🙂

  • The GBLA is not as “naive” as the writer has portrayed it here.

    The Ministers and members are using the opportunity to recruit their brothern in faith in government departments, from the positions of Grade – 1, to Secretary.

    That is the major bone of contention.

    The fight in Gilgit is not of sects. It is a war of economic interests, under the guise of sectarianism.

    Putting all the blames on agencies is tantamount to escapism and bound to fail our region further.

    It is high time for our budding intellectuals to rise about sectarian affiliations and state the truth, as it is, if peace is the cherished goal.

  • @Farhan-

    The point raised about the naive Political status, let me add- For democracy to flourish it takes Decades, And secondly What economical interests are you talking about??? The Rift is truly sectarian on the first instance- Secondly you yourself said undr the disguise of Sectarianism- Still ranks as Sectarianism- and that our own people are involved.

    Yes Our legislature is naive- But not the security agencies or Military or Police- And for Nepotism, It might be your perception, as always there is room for your own analysis- I dont want to comment on that!

    The insecurity of some of quarters fuels it- we want to fix it rather blaming politicians- they are themselves on stakes-

  • Zaeem –

    Just because one of your family members is at a non-elected political position, you are giving a clean chit to the corruption that is rampant and unabated.

    Why were over 150 appointments in Ghanche cancelled on the direction of chief secretary?

    Why did the education minister say on the floor of the house that there is corruption? The chief minister has been making headlines with “confessions” of corruption, so kindly don’t detach yourself more from reality.

    If it is the insecurity of one segment then the colonialist aspirations of another should also not be ignored!

    Those demanding division of jobs on the bases of proportion of sectarian-population have already exposed themselves, and they will have to face the music.

    This presidential order may be revoked, to the dismay of all of us, just because some people are too dubious and too self-centred, if you know what I mean!


  • @Farhan-

    The reference you have put- tell me about your capacities, I write irrespective of any political affiliation and I write regarding the sectarian malignancy-

    I may not discuss issue with you.I cant take these morbid allegations-

    @Supremacy of the Merit- There are others who are against the supremacy of merit- We demand the supremacy of the merit-

    Please dont bother to reply-

  • 🙂

    I bothered to reply with a smile. Don’t be sad. Keep reading the newspapers of Gilgit – Baltistan, to keep yourself updated.

    Today, the GB government has put another ban on hirings and the salaries of ministers have been withheld. The crisis is looming but the nay-sayers are allowed to live in perpetual delusions.

  • Mr Farhan
    keep your smile in your ass and I am from gilgit too i know the reality what happens in gilgit. and who are insecure people to creat the fuzz out of nothing.and eople like you are so shallow that you dont even bother to look at the grass root peoblems. the legislature is under the progress and will be strong when our politicians will be strong. and i also know that who want to destabilise this ordinance and n why.we stand with our politician and leaders.

  • Dear Zaeeem,

    i’ve been following you for couple of months and you are job. keep it up and stay tune.

    They say that crowd has many heads but no mind – i am sorry to say that you are following the crowd. throughout the history of pak and the GB the ingenuity of the ruling party has been erroneous and because of that pak is known to the world as a failed state. We, Paki’s lack the very concept of partriotism – and the first indicatior of being disloyal is…we comment on evet act of govt. we never supported what the govt’s have done for the betterment of the people.

    maf krna – hum us makkhi ki manind hain – jo dekh dekh k gandi jagey may hi ja k bethey gi.

    khuda ra – kisi Govt. ko tow support krooooo

  • I don’t need to change my name to comment, neither do I need to stoop as low as you have in the reactions above, to prove my point 🙂

    I have said what I had to say, with grace and based on facts.

    Learn some manners, when engaging in a discussion, Dr. Sahab!!

  • @Farhan

    I have no words for a man like you- If no one has taught you manners than thats not my fault- again don bother to reply-


    We always look beyond the real aspects of events in life- And thats what we are suffering right now.


    I am Obliged to hear that- HOw is your tour abroad?? Hope you had fun-Patriotism for few is to kill others- But we are lookin forward to make literate people and stakeholders to take part in the peace process- Disloyalty is in blood of few people- But Lets keep fingers crossed and do what we can-


  • i absolutly agree wid dA author
    since for the last couple of years ma eyes havnt glanced tourists in such an amount as it was
    regards kaleem ullah

  • “I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions; fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the s…ame winter and summer as a Christian is? If you prick us do we not bleed? If you tickle us do we not laugh? If you poison us do we not die? And if you wrong us shall we not revenge? If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that…” – The Merchant of Venice

  • Dr sahib your job is appreciate able. I am seeing true nationalist and patriotic blood is running in your vain. zbardast

  • Dear Dr sahb
    i really appriciate your article about the basic facts of GB. You have precisely undelined the basic reasons about the sectarian issue in GB. i must say it is time to wak up and need to come on a single point agneda that is to make our home land- a land of peace and heaven. i have been closely working with the beaurucartes and political leasders of GB here in islamabad since last 8 years…and i have come to realized that all of them have their own interestes.non of them have interestt of the land.they ahve religious, and business conerns.
    one suggestion for all commentatotrs…try to be a healthy critic…and try to become on a solution that could help us to minimise this sectarian disease….i know all of you guys belongs to GB.
    Best of Luck Zaeem bhai.
    karim Gb House Islamabad