May 25, 2010

Hunza in crises

By Habib R. Sulemani

A very civilized journalist, working for a liberal newspaper, asked me the other day why I was not taking my traumatized sister, Hassina, home from the hostel of the Karakoram International University (KIU) Gilgit. I forgot to tell her the reason. That is a normal thing with journalists. We only know asking questions, which is the real skill of a journalist. Within the Pakistani context, a journalist can answer questions ‘technically correct’ only if s/he goes through an experience like Hussain Haqqani and Mushahid Hussain in politics, and Mohammad Hanif in literature.

Yes, she, my sister, has to appear in the examination next month. We’re far away. She can’t go to our relatives in that city either who are facing their own problems currently—our entire family setup is being targeted overtly and covertly! The criminal gang wants to create rift between a father and his sons, among brothers, sisters and even spouses—they’re using this nasty trick as a communist regime does in a despot country.

Besides the local administration and secret agencies, they are using the Ismaili Regional Council Gilgit, Gojal Educational and Cultural Association (GECA), Hunza Students Federation, the Uks NGO and a local media outlet.

Assist. Prof. Manzoor Ali of the KIU physics department is also president of the Ismaili Regional Council Gilgit. People say he is working against the preaching of the Aga Khan, leader of the Ismaili Muslims, and is dividing the peaceful community on racial grounds: Brushaski and Wakhi.

The Gojal Educational and Cultural Association has become a puppet in the hands of secret agencies and there have been strong protests. Its president Farman Ali, also news editor Dawn Islamabad, along with corrupt officials of the Lok Virsa Museum and Heritage Library, and National Book Foundation, has reportedly made it a personal business while terrorizing GECA members with his ‘links’ in the corridors of power.

Hunza Students Federation is said to be a Taliban-like moral brigade that uses force to segregate students of the KIU on racial and sectarian grounds—it’s working for the rogue elements in secret agencies, especially sending disturbing SMSes, emails and phone calls. It’s also patronized by Assist. Prof. Manzoor Ali.

The Uks is said to be Freemason-like network—some colleagues claim that it sold the crockery, bed sheets and other home-used utensils in an auction on the premises of its offices last year, which were given by foreign donors to the Kashmir earthquake victims and internally displaced persons of Swat.

The said local media outlet is famous for its control over the local and KIU administrations—and has given employment to many of its people in both domains! Sources claim that the last two organizations are working as 'playback' singers so that no one doubts their so-called public image and sectarian bent of mind.

This is Pakistan in 2010, which history will never ever forget!

You may not believe but many people know that some of my relatives along with friends have been hired by the secret agencies who are being given ‘honorarium’ besides temporary jobs to help the rogue cult in its sinister plan to malign and scatter us before elimination—some have been brainwashed in this regard like members of terrorist groups! I’m really shocked. The lives and carriers of these trapped relatives could be destroyed if they fail to toe with them!

The cyber age miracle, however, has exposed the criminal minds. Soon they would face the laws for all the crimes they have committed so far. Those people, who remained silent due to their terror and God-like public image so far, would now come forward and present witnesses before courts of law. The criminals should face the law because they’re not the enemy of Pakistan only but the global community as well.

Those guys who read my blog, know that I’m left high and dry in Rawalpindi with my father, two brothers and a sister while my mother with a brother and sister are stranded in the disaster-hit Hunza (On January 4, 2010 landslide blocked the Hunza River in Attabad village and made an artificial dam). So, my poor sister, Hasina, is at a distance of three hours drive from my mother, and an 18-hour drive from us.

Anyhow, my father would reach Gilgit soon.

I talked to my mother on the phone today. She is having some eye problem which she had kept a secret from me until now. She had gone to the Tehsil Headquarter Hospital Gulmit. There she found only a doctor no medicines. It is a dilemma in a time when the government is claiming provision of relief to the over 25,000 landslide affected people of Gojal, upper Hunza. Leaders of different parties and groups are going to the affected area by air along brigades of journalists as a part of their media circus. But victims on the ground are crying for help. My poor mother is an example.

After the Attabad landslide, my native village Gulmit is being submerged in the dragon-like dam gradually. My valley is sinking and a guy is inviting me there! I’m not ready to sit in the sinking boat, man! Don’t worry; we’ll survive with the grace of the Almighty.

“I feel scared whenever I look down the valley from the higher area,” my mother cried on the phone. She has forgotten her personal pain but is feeling the duel pain of our family and valley at heart.

Although our home and land is yet faraway from the growing dam but my mother cries for the helpless people of my poor valley. It is quite natural for us, who were born in a valley, to fear water! The water in our valley is a natural disaster, therefore, it is more frightening for the residents. A relative has died when she heard that her brother’s shops had been engulfed by the rapidly increasing dam.

Many rural people are not aware of the romance of a sea, beach and the cold breeze coming from the faraway seawater. Terrorized people don't know how to enjoy life!

As usual, my father regularly goes to the Jamaatkhana, the worship place of Ismaili Muslims. It is the only place of spiritual fulfillment and social interaction for him in these difficult times when people change their path whenever they see any member of my family. It is the most challenging era in the history of my family.

My father brought this gentleman, from our area, for lunch yesterday. The elderly man talked about our sinking valley in a nostalgic way.

Shah Gul Hayat is a resident of Ayeenabad, the small but prosperous village that submerged in the dam along with its 40 houses. He is sad at the loss of his entire property, but still he has not forgotten to give an innocent smile. He said his wife was crying but he was trying to comfort her.

“I was the main landowner in our village,” he told me while relaxing on the sofa in our small drawing room. “I’ve lost everything except two cows.”

This was my first meeting with Mr. Hayat, 78. He never looked that old at all when I entered the room and looked at his face. Amazingly, his hairs are still dominantly black with no signs of baldness. But when he put his warm Hunza cap on his head, yes in May, and started walking towards the door, I realized that his face was not only deceiving people like me but his body as well! He could hardly walk. Only then he seemed over 80 years of age—like the Hunza Water, longevity is not a myth in today's Hunza!

At one point, he looked at my bald head and scattered untrimmed gray hairs and smiled (I’m in a sort of solitary confinement at our home after the attempts on my life and could not visit the hairdresser for the last two month). It gave me laughter! However, I forgot to tell him that the torturous atmosphere at my office had given me gray hairs while the baldness was a part of my inheritance.

“I’ve four sons, three daughters and 19 grandchildren,” he said. His eldest son is working as a driver in an embassy in Islamabad, with whom he stays currently. Another son has done his masters and is running a computer shop in Aliabad, Hunza. Two of his sons have also completed their MAs and are in search of jobs. His daughters and the on-job sons are married.

“One of my granddaughters is a doctor,” he proudly said.

The man known for his hardworking is now free and spends most of his time around the worship place, chatting about the situation of the devastating dam, which could burst in few days time. He wants to go back and see his sunken world but he could not as the Karakoram Highway (KKH) has totally been destroyed.

While talking about the rebuilding of the KKH in the affected region, I expressed my uncanny views. Despite our close relationship with China, I don’t agree with its "Confucius-based technology" which has failed us in our area. Two of Chinese-built bridges in Gulmit, one in Danyore had been collapsed while the third has sunken in the Hunza River before completion. “Engineers of the Pakistan Army have Western technology and it's more reliable,” I added.

“That is true,” my father agreed. “The road in Ganish area was built by our engineers, see, it is higher than the river and is so far safe.”

“I remember the huge blast of Chinese engineers during my school time in Gulmit,” I said. “The entire population of Shishkat was evacuated before the blast. And see what happened. The entire mountain got cracks and soon after completion of the road, rocks started falling down on the road, destroying it at the very beginning."

My father nodded silently.

"And, see, where they had built the sunken second bridge—in the area of landslide and avalanche,” I criticized.

Mr. Hayat was looking at us—the talkative father and son. So I turned towards our guest and asked him a question about his personal losses. I put a piece of paper and started writing down the details.

“I lost 200-kanal non-cultivated and 60-kanal cultivated land,” Mr. Hayat said. Whenever, I missed some point as he spoke in Brushaski, my father would explain it to me in Wakhi. The elderly man’s destroyed house complex had three bedrooms, five bathrooms, a kitchen, one store. There was a Brushaski and a Wakhi house as well. “It was worth Rs5,000,000 but now I’m living in a rented home in Rawalpindi.”

While talking about the details of his orchards and trees, he said in a gloomy voice that he had 130 apricot trees, 30 apples, 15 walnut, 10 cherry, 35 peach, 5 mulberry, and over 2,500 fruitless trees. He used to sell 300 bags of potatoes (100kg each) every season and produced 25 bags of wheat. “I used to earn Rs300,000 from potatoes and Rs80,000 from fruits every year,” he said.

Yes this year, I thought, there would be nothing like this.

2- GECA:
3- UKS:

May 23, 2010

Slowly poisoning

By Habib R. Sulemani

My sister Hasina’s health deteriorated again last night and she was taken to hospital in Gilgit. Her BP is still 150/100. Some relatives fear that she may have become a victim of slow poison. The condition of other family members here in Rawalpindi and in Hunza is also stressful due to the tyranny we are facing for the last two months.

We’re living in fear of attack anytime from any direction. But the government is still silent. The powerful criminal gang (named in my email to the editor Dawn, fax to vice chancellor Karakorum International University (KIU) Gilgit and personnel of secret agencies indicated in my letter to the prime minister of Pakistan) has surely stopped my letter to the Prime Minister of Pakistan as I’ve not received any response so far. The copies to the President of Pakistan, Chief Justice of Supreme Court and Chief of Army Staff may have met the same fate.

After publication of my last blog, there have been many calls to me and my family members especially the harassing ones.

Javed Khan Tanoli – a man introduced to me by a former colleague Mehbob-ur-Rehman Tanoli, now working with Express TV – has suddenly surfaced with SMSes and phone calls. His innocent cousin was in a Saudi Jail, I wrote a feature about him (available on this blog site with the title ‘A cry for justice’ in the ‘Some articles’ section) and he was released. Now he wants to get a job with my help as he was fired from the American Embassy in Islamabad. It is a surprise for me as I've never done anything like this except my professional job. I’ve excused but still his SMSes come in.

A friend called me at 9:41am yesterday. He said he was in Australia but the number appeared on my cell phone was a local one. He talked about the agencies and missing persons in Pakistan. The phone disconnected suddenly. Then at 10:21am he called me from another local number but there was some problem. One minute later (10:22am) he called from yet another number but we failed to talk. At 10:53am he again dialed my number from a new cell number. However, we could not continue our chatting.

Earlier my sister got a harassing call from the number: 03453499262. She also received an SMS filled with racial and sectarian hatred from a cell phone: 03452654569.

My 66-year-old father had also received some SMSes from a cell phone: 03438985220. The text was in Pashto purportedly from the Taliban. He is very upset since then. So are we.

These are just few phone numbers.

Along with us those people are also facing threats who had earlier commented on this blog site. The Webmaster fears that along the 800 websites, currently blocked in the country, this blog site could also become out of my reach anytime!

Amid the ongoing psychological warfare, my office has stopped delivery of three newspapers at my home. The editor is still silent like the government. There is no response from the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists and Human Rights Commission of Pakistan either.

May 21, 2010

Terror on campus

By Habib R. Sulemani

VIOLENCE on campus is not new anywhere in Pakistan. The ‘rage’ of some professors to destroy carriers of innocent students is also known in our society. But what seems new to me at the Karakoram International University (KIU) in Gilgit is the psychological warfare against innocent students.

In my letter to the Prime Minister of Pakistan (available on this blog site), I had written: “The KIU is the only university in the strategically important Gilgit-Baltistan region – bordering China, India and Afghanistan – which is literally run by secret agencies. Recent honor-related cases have shown that the terrorizing university administration is destined to ruin carriers of innocent students on political, racial, sectarian and personal grounds. The KIU is producing a new breed of Taliban having university degree and Western appearance.”

Currently, I don’t know if KIU Vice-Chancellor Dr. Najma Najam – who proudly calls herself the “iron lady” and “only trained neuropsychologist working in Pakistan” – is heading the “psychological warfare cell” of some rogue group or secret agencies but she has put the lives of my two sisters in danger. One has been stopped from attending classes illegally while the other is being tortured on campus. She is in trauma currently.

As I live hundreds of miles away from my sister in strain. After talking with her at the hostel on cell phone – amid disturbance in the line, distortion and echoes as phones of my family members are being bugged – today I’m really disturbed. She was being denied treatment, however, yesterday, when some class fellows insisted, she was taken to a government hospital. There the doctors told her that due to trauma, she could face stroke as her blood pressure was very high unprecedented at her age. Due to life-threats, I can’t go outside, so here is a letter faxed to the concerned authorities.
Prof. Dr. Najma Najam
Karakorum International University (KIU)
Gilgit, Pakistan.

Dear Madam,

Since March 22, 2010 when your administration – with the help of a group of journalists and personnel of secret agencies – staged an honor-related drama on the KIU campus – the details of which have so far not been told us except the hearsay and malicious SMS campaign – my sisters are being threatened and harassed putting them under life-threatening stress. A psychological warfare against me and my family is going on nonstop.

My sister Hassina Parveen – a student of MSc economics staying at the KIU girls’ hostel – informed me on telephone today that her blood pressure had shot to 150/100 and the doctors had shown concern about her life at the District Headquarters Hospital Gilgit yesterday.

Same is the condition of another sister, Nasira Parveen – a student of BSc Hons at the KIU – who has been stopped from attending classes illegally since March 24. I have tried to talk to you many times, but members of your administration, in Gilgit and Islamabad, always declined my requests, saying “the VC cannot talk to you”. When I pointed out the illegal action and criminal attacks, Dr Ahsanullah Mir and Prof. Manzoor Ali hurled threats and abused me on the phone. I was shocked by this uncivilized behavior, but later I came to know that a female faculty member from abroad had left the KIU in similar circumstances.

After attempts on my life, I am locked inside my house in Rawalpindi since March 29. However, when my family members tried to meet you, they were always kept waiting outside your office with the mantra: “The VC cannot meet you.”

After hearing Hassina’s alarming condition today, I want to inform you formally through this letter that if something happens to my sisters, then you as the chief administrator of the KIU; Dr. Ahsanullah Mir, registrar; Muhammad Hussain, additional registrar; Manzoor Ali, assistant professor physics department; Prof. Salma Durrani, chairperson environmental sciences; Dr. Muhammad Ramzan, associate professor educational development; Karim Khan, director campus administration; Ms. Tahira, warden girls hostel and others would be responsible for it.


Habib R. Sulemani

Copies to:
1- President of Pakistan & chancellor KIU
2- Chief Justice Chief Appellate Court Gilgit-Baltistan
3- Governor Gilgit-Baltistan
4- Chief Minister Gilgit-Baltistan
5- Human rights and other bodies
Karakoram International University:

May 19, 2010

Criminal silence

By Habib R. Sulemani

Journalist Hamid Mir has been accused of being involved in an act of terrorism reportedly by some bloger. Personally, I respect Mr. Mir like all other journalists, no matter I agree with their style of journalism or not. However, his interview in daily Dawn on May 19, 2010 – given prominent space on the front page in the print edition and then replaced by another story on the website – has raised some questions:

1- US National Security Adviser General James Jones and CIA Director Leon Panetta are reportedly in Islamabad. Why Dawn felt the need to interview Mr. Mir while it is silent on my issue?

2- He has described the taped conversation as doctored, blaming the civilian Intelligence Bureau (IB). Why only the civilian intelligence?

3- If it is part of a “larger game” to malign Mr. Mir and a few other journalists then who are the “few others”?

4- He has denied the content of an alleged statement of the Taliban about the audiotape. Is this technically correct?

5- He has blamed the telephone company PTCL for illegally recording telephones of its subscribers. Only PTCL, not cellular companies?

6- If the IB is working on “the behest of President Zardari and the government” then on whose orders the rogue group of journalists, officials of the Karakoram International University Gilgit and spy agencies tried to kill me and my family members?

7- He claims that the IB had used a special gadget to change his voice. “They took my voice sample and changed it to look my voice through the special gadget.” Really?

8- He warned that tapes of some other journalists would also surface in near future. Tapes of the mind-boggling Taliban, oops, people at Dawn, too?

9- Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) president Pervez Shaukat refused to comment on the issue straight away. Why?

You may—but I don’t know the answers to these questions right now. Because after attempts on my life, I’m locked inside my home for about two months now. Free movement outside my home has become a dream for me. Even my journalist friends are terrified to contact me due to threats and pressures!! As a professional journalist – watchdog of the society – I can't stop myself from raising questions, no matter where and in which condition I’m!

(However, I can answer to most of journalistic questions in the form of literature. To benefit the entire world, this is my revenge from the evildoers, who have declared me a "fifth-column" but their own patriotism is limited to their jobs, promotions and corruption—for which they can even sacrifice humanity. This has really made them frightened).

Despite my request, editor Dawn, president PFUJ, chairperson Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and the government are still silent. My appeal for an independent commission to establish the truth and punish the criminal gang has fallen on deaf ears.

Besides the nasty propaganda campaign – in the society and cyberspace – and nerves-breaking psychological warfare, we’re facing death threats. My 66-year-old father is even receiving obnoxious calls and text messages in Pashto, which we can’t understand except the word "Taliban".

The owners of the Dawn Media Group have given autonomy to the editorial management of daily Dawn which is being misused. There is criminal silence after disclosure of the murder plot of my entire family. Intellectual terrorism is a dilemma in my beloved country today. But who cares?