You have to stand guard over the development and maintenance of democracy, social justice and the equality of mankind in your own native soil. [Mohammed Ali Jinnah]

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Political unrest in Gilgit-Baltistan .. ( Abbas Ali for DAWN)

GILGIT-BALTISTAN is a simmering cauldron of discontent. The continued deprivation of political, economic and human rights is driving the people of this strategic northern end of Pakistan to desperation. They have been fighting for their rights not just since 1947, when they won liberation from Dogra rule, but since Dogra occupation of 1848.

A brief review of history will be in order to understand the current hostile attitude of the people towards the current political set-up in Gilgit-Baltistan. The British left the Gilgit Agency on July 31, 1947, two weeks before the independence of the subcontinent. On October 27, 1947 the people of Gilgit-Baltistan defeated the forces of Gansara Singh (Dogra Raj) and achieved independence to celebrate their own ‘Yaum-e-Azadi’ on November 1 and founded a new country ‘Islamic Republic of Gilgit’.

However, the people of Gilgit-Baltistan wanted to be part of the newly-born Pakistan. During the transitional period the ‘Islamic Republic of Gilgit’ approached the founder of Pakistan, Quid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah with a plea to join Pakistan. As a corollary, on November 16, 1947 Pakistan established its administration in the area. But until today the region has not become the legal and political part of Pakistan. Many people in the region think that their efforts and sacrifices of their ancestors have gone waste.

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Sunday, July 19, 2009

A Dying Symphony by Akmal Khan on Mianwali / Essa Khel musical culture and challenges it faces

Essa Khel (A sub-district in West Punjab), part of Mianwali District, has an illustrious history of producing musical geniuses. The area situated on banks of the mighty Indus River, has music, rag, folk lore, poetry & compositions rivaled by none other in Pakistan.

This short movie by Akmal Khan, presented in Film Festivat "Culture Unplugged" is a brilliant summrization of its musical genius. An area where music had replaced the gun/violence culture around a few decades ago, is again threatened by emergence of religious etremism in the area. The music is facing the biggest threat since it became popular country wide.

Must watch, beautiful, and above all, brilliant "Saraiki" sound over.