In Gilgit-Baltistan, people await Imran’s ‘tsunami’ to tide over sectarianism

Published: April 1, 2012
Locals complain PTI chief has forgotten the region he once visited regularly. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

Locals complain PTI chief has forgotten the region he once visited regularly. PHOTO: AFP/FILE


The Pakistan Tehreek Insaaf’s (PTI) “tsunami” seems to have washed away the party chief’s memories of Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B), where people await his visit in the hope that it will help restore calm in the region, periodically inflamed by sectarian strife.

“Where is Imran Khan and why can’t his tsunami come and wash away the curse of sectarianism?” said Tufail Ahmed, a resident of Gilgit, the capital of G-B.

The city  has been witnessing sectarian disharmony following the Kohistan bus massacre that killed 16 passengers last month.

With nearly a dozen people falling prey to sectarian violence in the aftermath and calls for strikes given by clerics, there has been little room for politicians to be assertive.

“Faced with these circumstances, we had hoped the PTI chief would come and guide the people towards peace and harmony,” said Ghulam Abbas, another Gilgit resident.

Khan used to visit G-B along with his foreign friends when he was younger to enjoy its natural beauty. According to Hidayat Ali, who once drove him to Astore valley in the 1980s, he would be accompanied by three or four friends every time he visited.

But now that the region is marred by violence, Khan is nowhere to be found.

“When he was a struggling politician he used to show concern for the people of G-B, but now after his political tsunami, he seems to have no interest left,” Abbas added.

A few months back, a representative of PTI from Peshawar visited Gilgit and nominated Abdul Latif as the party’s president for the region.

Latif had assured the people that Khan would visit the region soon, but the cricketer-turned-politician never showed up, letting down his supporters.

Karim Tahir, another resident, said Imran Khan had let down the people of G-B as he often talked about Balochistan but did not mention G-B even once in his speeches and talk shows.

“When he talks of power generation opportunities, he forgets to mention G-B, where these opportunities exist.”

Despite repeated efforts, Latif could not be contacted as his cell phone was switched off.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 1st, 2012.

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Reader Comments (46)

  • CK
    Apr 1, 2012 - 11:42AM

    ET loves PTI and Imran Khan.


  • true_blue_pakistani
    Apr 1, 2012 - 11:48AM

    This disputed land soaked in blood these days. Local people have no rights and situation worst than Balochistan. Let them decide what they want, Independence or join Pakistan or join India. After all they are our brothers.


  • Falcon
    Apr 1, 2012 - 11:51AM

    The very fact that people wait for him is itself a mark of respect…most likely he will visit the area soon…he is son of the soil


  • Mard-e-Haq
    Apr 1, 2012 - 12:04PM

    Of course, Kaaptan Sahib would forget Gilgit-Baltistan. How could be seen to support or console Shia victims there when real electoral power (by numbers or otherwise) lies in the hands of the types of Taliban.


  • PTI supporter
    Apr 1, 2012 - 12:09PM

    Why do people want Imran Khan to come and save the day with his rallies? If they really want to do something then the right people to question are their elected representatives in the Parliament. Rallies only have a symbolic importance.


  • Ali-Wali
    Apr 1, 2012 - 12:10PM

    Imran Khan has aligned himself with forces of hate, extremism and exclusion. These retrogressive people have no relation with an ordinary Pakistani, and very soon these people and their politics of hate will see another defeat in election. Pakistani public has proven time and again that they are not interested in their politics of hate, everyone knows Imran Khan can not win elections.Recommend

  • ali
    Apr 1, 2012 - 12:27PM

    I think by participating in DPC rallies, Imran has shown where he stands


  • Mani
    Apr 1, 2012 - 12:33PM

    I’m usually not much of a conspiracy theorist but the recent string of subtly anti imran khan articles, which are not out and out against him, just highlighting rumours of rifts in the party, complaints from “junior youth workers” and now this seem to point at the media wanting to plant the perception that the party is in disarray and detoriating.


  • usman
    Apr 1, 2012 - 12:40PM

    @Mard-e-Haq what distinguishes khan from others is that he does not mention punjabi, pathan, balochi, sindhi, muhajir, seraiki, shia, sunni, barelvi,hindu, sikh, christian and so on. He says justice for all. Justice means protection of weak from the strong. He strongly criticized sectarian violence and ethnic violence. He talks of Pakistan and people from every ethnicity and sect are part of his team. He is a symbol of national unity and that is what he displayed in Karachi. Your undue criticism is highly uncalled for and truly contradicts the facts.


  • Arcane
    Apr 1, 2012 - 1:00PM

    yea ofcourse, we have a firm believe in him. Imran Khan is the last hope amongst all the Thugs


  • Adeel
    Apr 1, 2012 - 1:06PM

    May be negligience, but Imran Khan is really so much busy. I think only Imran Khan and Rehman Malik travel most in Pakistan.

    PTI high ups shall look into the matter.


  • Apr 1, 2012 - 1:16PM

    Dear G-B brothers / sisters:
    Imran Khan has been very busy in organizing PTI for the last 6 months. He even sleeps too little (although eats fine :P). He has not been able to visit our area FATA, Malakand Division or southern KPK till now, due to party commitments. We, however, have trust in him because what he is doing is very important for the whole Pakistan.
    If PTI comes to power, the whole Pakistan will benefit InshaAllah (from Gilgit to Gwadar and Bajaur to Tharparkar). So please trust IK and pray that PTI Tsunami continues in full swing. InshaAllah the waves of Tsunami will reach G-B soon.


  • Asif
    Apr 1, 2012 - 1:21PM

    Imran Khan Please for God Say visit GB…We Love you more then rest of Pakistan……..We are educated we know your worth…..You are gold leader for us…Plz establish PTI in GB Areas…

    God Bless You



  • Ahsan
    Apr 1, 2012 - 1:24PM

    He supports, and has the support of rabid sectarian groups. How can he act to ride over sectarianism. he found it difficult to say even a few words of consolation for the Kohistan bus victims or for the hazaras of quetta or the people of parachinar.


  • Salman
    Apr 1, 2012 - 1:24PM

    What nonsense ET???


  • Javed
    Apr 1, 2012 - 2:20PM

    You expect a member of Difa-e-Pakistan to be seen supporting Shias. Wake up to the realities of sectarianism.


  • Ali T.
    Apr 1, 2012 - 2:58PM

    Taliban Khan is unlikely to speak in favor of Shias


  • Ali Wazir
    Apr 1, 2012 - 3:19PM

    lol time to clone Kaptan, he hasnt visited Hamun-i-Lora yet this year,I hear…


  • adam
    Apr 1, 2012 - 3:23PM

    Imran is part of problem not part of solution, in the mountanous GB, only earthquake can change everything. Imran need is modern extreamist, he can’t fix it. Nobody can fix it, except we go back in the history and kill Gen Zia before the Afghan war. To do that we need the time machine, and so far we have not invented any machine except machine gun.


  • Usman
    Apr 1, 2012 - 3:23PM

    A sign of immense respect for IK that he is wanted so eagerly all over Pakistan. Please people, grow up and stop bashing ET, they have actually done a great job by bringing the message of the people of G-B to the front page. Well done ET.


  • FJ
    Apr 1, 2012 - 3:46PM

    @Salman: What do you mean? ET is the only media in Pakistan which talks about the rights of vulnerable groups and you call in nonesense?? What a pity!


  • moeed
    Apr 1, 2012 - 3:47PM

    its hard for me to decide whether this article is in favor of Imran khan or against him


  • Mohammad Assad
    Apr 1, 2012 - 3:47PM

    PTI is not in power. Instead of hating on them so much, why not go and ask those who are responsible for the law and order of GB why they have failed so miserably?


  • ET Rocks
    Apr 1, 2012 - 3:47PM

    GB’s people have alot of courage then. In Punjab people are getting free laptops all around by the khadim-e-alaa, so why don’t the people of GB scream out for him or maybe his borther ? Recommend

    Apr 1, 2012 - 4:28PM


    Your a support with ignorance only , do you know :

    [Must Read]

    -Gilgit-Baltistan (Urdu: گلگت – بلتستان, formerly known as the Northern Areas (Urdu: شمالی علاقہ جات, Shumālī Ilāqe Jāt), It is the political entity with pseudo-provincial* status within the Pakistan. It borders Pakistan’s Khyber Pukhtunkhwa province to the west, Afghanistan’s Wakhan Corridor to the north, China to the northeast, Azad Kashmir to the south, and Jammu & Kashmir State of India to the southeast. Gilgit-Baltistan covers an area of 72,971 km² (28,174 mi²) and has an estimated population approaching 1,000,000. Its administrative center is the city of Gilgit (population 216,760).

    Major languages spoken in this region are Shina, Burushaski, Balti, Khuwar and Wakhi. It is the most peaceful region of Pakistan with hundreds of touristic points for adventure, sports, peace and calmness. Do visit the area, and ask your friends to explore immense natural beauty of region.

    *Pseudo provincial because constitution of Pakistan defines Gilgit-Baltistan in its consitutional territory as “(d) such States and territories as are or may be included in Pakistan, whether by accession or otherwise.” Additionally, people of GB dont have any representation in parliament of Pakistan since 1947 although a legislative council represents masses locally.

    strong text** We do not have any Seat in National Assembly and Senate , we donot have voice in the Parliament . thats why we need Imran Khan to come , and take some bold steps


  • Naveed Alam Khattak
    Apr 1, 2012 - 4:30PM

    There is no Punjabi, Patan, Sindhi Balochi Sunni Shia etc in the lines of PTI. We are all Pakistani. We request our leader Imran Khan to visit all over Pakistan including GB & Balochistan.
    We hate the type of politics done by PML (N), PPP, ANP, MQM etc. They have divided the whole country in 1000s parts. Everyone of them want a province or another words a state where they can live a luxurty life. We need peace education and progress. I request all my educated brothers to convence those people who have no access to Internet, to give their vote to PTI to get rid of these traditional politicians. Who do politics as a business. We saw their politics and their honor few days back in the Senate election. Recommend

  • toor
    Apr 1, 2012 - 4:36PM

    am sure ik will visit gb soon!


  • Mard-e-Haq
    Apr 1, 2012 - 4:55PM


    I am sure Kaaptan Khan will visit Gilgit-Baltistan within 19 days and put an end to the violence in Karachi within another 19 days. Protection for Shias and Hazaras? No problem, let’s add another 19 days.


  • Sultan Mehmood
    Apr 1, 2012 - 5:04PM

    How on earth is it Main page News story?

    Oh wait, Am I in some IK’s fan page? Pathetic standards, ET.


  • Freeman
    Apr 1, 2012 - 5:55PM

    @truebluepakistani: Balochistan is the part of the Pakistan. Its not disputed territory in between Pakistan and India. Since when you think that Balochistan will go with India. Indain should give right to Kashmiris for self-determination which is actullay a disputed territory.


  • PTI troll 76
    Apr 1, 2012 - 6:13PM

    After Quetta rally on 20 April, the Tsunami will head north to KP and GB


  • Apr 1, 2012 - 6:19PM

    Imran Khan is the sole heavy weight politician who has not even condemned the brutal killings of those 18 innocent lives..How come one can assume that his so called Tsunami will sooth the battle like situation in Gilgit region.???? PTI stands no where in G-B region and it does not seem to have future there too. Just playing politics with words is not going to suffice the grievances of this hard hit region..I am not against PTI and also not a supporter of any other party…but this is what I observe..Everyone is playing politics with this sensitive region. High expectations from Imran Khan, as I believe, are going to be devastating in time to come.

    We need a sincere leadership like China/ they say “A benevolent despot is far better than a corrupt and selfish politicians/rulers” like the case of Pakistan…????Recommend

  • Muneeb Tahir
    Apr 1, 2012 - 6:22PM

    @True blue Pakistani

    You have not even the slightest idea about the situation of Balochistan where there is a selected (not elected) parliament but it has no authority whatsoever.Sectarian strife is far greater than there is in GB,ethnic violence is a common phenomena,education and basic healthcare facilities have come to a halt,there is no economic activity whatsoever apart from NATO supplies passing through Balochistan…..

    There is total chaos and a generation is lost in the conflict of identity and rights for the Baloch!


  • Apr 1, 2012 - 6:28PM

    Similarly, Imran Khan is more inclined towards Talibans…we can easily see terrorists from banned org. Sepahe Sahaba Pakistan (SSP) in his party ceremonies..How come we assume anything suitable from him. It is simply a wish list. Talk of the town is that Imran Khan is baked by these terrorists, ion a way fueling sectarianism like wise the PML (N) party, and talibans who are main hurdles in resolving issues which have wrecked our country since independence like sectarianism, ethnicity, provincialism…In short he is not a mature politician as he fails to stand for the truth..! God Bless Pakistan


  • Gilgiti-No voting right but Proud Pakistani
    Apr 1, 2012 - 6:40PM

    We well come Imran khan whenever he came. We have no regrets for his late coming; he may be busy with new challenges . we wish him all the best.
    PTI is already very famous here with following reasons

    1) literacy rate is high with compare to other part of rural areas of pakistan
    2) No KHAN, CHODHARI, and SAIN system here, people are independent to make their voting rite,.
    3) Tradition parties (PPP and PML) have done nothing to this part, only they are interested to the free loan from international bodies to this part of the country.
    4) The choice of vote here only influence with religious values,, that’s not a solid basis,, so IK easily concert the people to PTI
    5) The stand of Imran khan regarding our foreign policy, corruption, infrastructure and equal system of education and law make him a hero here.
    6) Imran khan is appreciate by the top leaders of CHINA and this is directly link with G-B trade and culture so he will be the first choice of the people Recommend

  • Ch Allah Daad
    Apr 1, 2012 - 7:06PM

    He will come to G-B after boycotting elections, to find solace in loneliness of mountains.


  • Apr 1, 2012 - 8:28PM

    Yes,Imran Khan should visit this extraordenly beautiful land on Earth!

    When I see fotos,it reminds me of the Swiiss Alps.

    You,,people of Gilgit_Baltisatan,should stop killing each other because one is Shia and the neighbor is who knows what!

    There are EXTERNAL FORCES,which want to see you devided.

    If there is peace in Gilgit,many tourists will be comming and this will help the local economy.


  • Kanwal
    Apr 1, 2012 - 9:01PM

    Imran accepts The PRESTIGIOUS Dafa e Pakistan representatives in his rallies and sends his to attend their rallies. He admitted this on media. And was caught lying about it too. What other evidence do you need to understand that he despises them and is afraid of them? Get your facts right pls.


  • Azmat
    Apr 1, 2012 - 9:30PM

    People have lot of expectations from Imran Khan. I hope he will be able to form the next government and also hope people will vote for him. So Imran should make stratgies for all the problems Pakistan facing today from now. He should make a good team in every province and complete problems’ paper work before the polls, so that he can immediately work on his agenda after coming into power. He should also visit our brothers and sisters living in GB.


  • Sajjad Ali
    Apr 1, 2012 - 11:40PM

    People need change, so let us encourage Imran Khan. Let us not re-elect PPP & Allies and PMLN. They have been looting Pakistan for the last many decades. Will you give them another chance?? Change is necessary for our country and its poor people. God bless Pakistan.


  • MAD
    Apr 2, 2012 - 12:07AM

    You may have noticed PTI is doing things region by region. I believe their next targets are Balochistan and Hazara/ KPK. But yes something in GB should be done. not neccessarily a major event but still


  • Ilyas Hussain
    Apr 2, 2012 - 12:38AM

    Being a resident of Skardu the second biggest city of Gilgit Baltistan I assure all my Pakistani Brethren that we LOVE PAKISTAN and we LOVE IMRAN KHAN.


  • Ashraf Musaweer
    Apr 2, 2012 - 4:13AM

    This headline is misleading and the report is flawed. There might be 100-200 people in GB who “look forward” to Imran Khan’s visit of GB. There are very few, though ,who think he can bring about any change in GB’s politics.

    He is an ally of sectarian and militant organizations who have been wreaking havoc in GB for three decades. His credibility as a peacemaker is lesser than zero. His “strong arrival” in the region, if it happens, will be seen by many as an attempt by the dear good establishment to canonize the region’s political culture, in favor of some “favorites”.

    As a son of GB, I don’t expect anything good from any political party of Pakistan. They have their agendas of exploitation and prolonging the region’s dependence and constitutional deprivation.

    Our only solution is a regional party, on the lines of ANP (but not a racist one like them), which can speak for our cause.

    The other so-called federal parties and their regional stooges are nothing but an extension of the region’s post-colonial colonialism.


  • syed baqar ahsan
    Apr 2, 2012 - 9:30AM

    IMRAN KHAN seldom talk about this serious matter which took birth under the supervision of our elite agency guided, funded trained,armed and protected by USA and KSA including India(Aman ki Asha).Imran Khan is showing highest immaturity on this issue if he will not address this issue in his speeches/manifesto his tsunami will have serious set back.Huge salient majority is affected by this killing by out side gangs


  • Gilgiti-No voting right but Proud Pakistani
    Apr 2, 2012 - 10:02AM

    @ All critics followings are only for you….

    What is this Suuni, Shia, Taliban etc…. please grow up and leave this negativity, ..
    You are not the only representative from the Region there are many others we have to respect all of them.
    Being a Gilgiti we knew very well that there is no permanent political loyalties in our region… for proof when PMN was in power all members change their loyalties to PMN, then to General Parvaz musharaf and now to PPP, so don’t bother when IK come in power he easly have a majority there… WE ARE TAKING FOR the PEPOLE only….and we knew that they Love Imran khan more then Nwaz and Zardari right……….


  • zarak khan
    Apr 3, 2012 - 2:18AM

    n i guess then u should atleast check youtube for what he has done in gilgit open ur eyes ppl.. this is not the time to fail on IK just go n google imran khan foundation in baltistan… its pitty seeing the views of ppl. May Allah help us


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