November 8, 2010

Tribalism — a wild wish to make Hunza utopia of the world!

HUNZA is a famous valley in the Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan. It's divided into three parts: 1) Gojal is dominated by the Wakhis, 2) Brushal by Brushos and 3) Shinaki by the Shina-speaking  people. Before 1974, Hunza was a princely state. Prime Minister Z.A. Bhutto (considered a messiah in the area) made it a federally-administrated area by abolishing the 950-year-old tyrant rule of a family. Therefore, the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) is considered the main political force in the area.

The locals are mostly followers of The Aga Khan, spiritual leader of the Ismaili Shia Muslims, who uses his influence to bridge gaps among different religions and regions of the world. However, some highly educated locals complain that few people are violating the laws of the country and teachings of their "peacemaker" leader. They're allegedly promoting a Taliban-like "tribalism" under the influence of the secret agencies, especially the ISI, to depoliticize the district which is demanding an extra seat for Gojal tehsil in the Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly (GBLA).

Some people, who had staged a protest demonstration demanding relief in the landslide-hit Gojal, which is cut-off from rest of the country for over 10 months, were charged with treason. The ISI had even succeeded in presenting a resolution against the helpless people in the GBLA. Political workers say that it was an effort to root out the PPP in the area with the help of some dubious party members However, the Assembly rejected it and criticized the undemocratic activities of the secret agencies.

This is the level of tyranny of the secret agencies in the region that has no political rights under the Constitution of the country.

A social scientist from Karimabad has pointed out an article in favor of tribalism in Hunza published in the blogs owned by a retired one-star general of the Pakistan Army who is now a noted community leader saying that it should be discussed in our group blogs in a critical way so that the level of tolerance among the people increases. Thus here is the article without any editing.The Terrorland Team 


By Zeenat Shah

Reconstructing the tribal character and spirit and waiting for its miraculous results: Recalling the dormant tribal spirit and revitalizing the aristocratic character of Hunza that is the essence of our moral integrity, social supremacy and economic sovereignty, decentralization of powers and authority to get emancipated from the present ongoing traumatized condition and cowardice. Calling on the old spirits to repair our maimed, shattered morale and blackened character.

A rationale in the historical evidences: It is on the record of the history that as a potent and powerful bond, the traditional Arbitration and Reconciliation system, justice system and the nexus of the tribal management forms and manifestations of Hunza had played a vital role to glue the masses together into an ethnic entity with full honor and dignity for centuries, despite the most unfriendly and harsh socio-economic conditions and hostile natural phenomenon and simultaneously developing a highly integrated crime and stress free ideal society with the ultimate social harmony. It also had contributed to give Hunza a prominent status and unique character among the contemporary cross states of the region but also a Cinderella like mythological fame in the western world. So se have stepped forward to retest an old remedy to cure the wounds of the modern era, by indoctrinating with this traditional rich heritage of ours, with a firm belief that it will help to retrieve our past glory and pave way to renaissance.
Our Imam, also commends our traditional heritage in all its forms and manifestations. And Karim Abad old fort is such a form of our built heritage, that is the living testimony of the applaud of Imam of the Time.

Special Note: One should hear in mind, that this Special Body will not be challenging and repudiating one form any aspect for the existence and authority of the pre-existing Jamati Institutions, but its status will be that of a stake holder, facilitator, collaborator, energizer, booster, promoter and catalyst of programmes of Jamati Institutions.

It is the clash of civilizations, in words of President Bush, that is the root cause and fundamental and principle reason, why there is a broadened dichotomy between the people of south and Badakshanies of north?

The Theme for Development: Why another Institution is indispensable despite pre existing Institutions?
There are a number of genuine reasons and a concrete ground on which the formation of such a body is justified.

It is irrefutable fact that despite the presence of numerous Institutions, our people are suffering from a massive National Crisis to an alarming extent in political terms. The loss of our former glory is supplemented by an Identity Crisis. In the evidence of our ever-prevailing awful plight and dithering situation followed by the worst moral fall, total financial collapse, economic recession, educational decline, ever rapid developing frustration among youth and social chaos, many questions arise!

Here are some of the fundamental questions that rankle in the minds of our public: Why did we become a virtual victim of this on going Crisis? What went wrong? And why should we suffer despite provision of the services of suchv integrated system of social institutions and presence of an Omni-potent, Omni-present and Ever Living guidance system?
Why is a dynamic community experiencing a total inertia in terms of political lapse? How was berserk and recalcitrant martial race so easily tamed rather to the extent of submission? Are the Institutions exonerated from desultory function and botched actions? Did we make a fiasco somewhere while experiencing a turbulent transitional phase? Who will be blamed for committing a blunder?

Is our Faith too languished to follow the precious sayings and directions of our Imam? Is our collective moral fall, the principal cause of this intimidating current crisis? Are the Institutions a Sacred Cow and they are too much sacrosanctv that no body can delineate any weaker point in their performance or otherwise it is a taboo?
Are the institutions functioning in a transcendental way and they needv no any sort of intellectual inputs for the sake of reforms? Are the Institutional Policies framed up in the South are consonantv enough to apply in the matters of North in its typical social context and political scenario? But to make a proper advocacy of such an institution, we should try to visualize the future role of Hunza.

As regards the future role of Hunza, it must give a model of true Islamic ideals. As the inhabitants of Hunza, we should focus our attention on purifying our personal character, hence our refined character will give us an opportunity to transform Hunza into a Utopia of the world on one hand and the other hand it will enable us to play a role on international level. So character wise we have to prove our efficiency on merit as our role in accordance with His vision, we have to determine our future role as disciplines of an ever-living Guide. If once we realize that how fragile the task is and how delicate our responsibilities are? Then we would be able to play our due role effectively and efficiently. 
How future Hunza shoud look like? Future Hunza should be a: Crime free, Violence Free, Drugs Free, Disease Free, Beggars Free, Hunger Free, Hatred Free, Lust Free, Economically prosperous, Politically organized, Morally refined, Socially decent and tranquilized, Emotionally wise, Amicably progressive, Cultural rich, Highly developed and the emcee of all constructive activities. 
Future vision of Hunza: From the aesthetic sense, we should visualize totally a different Hunza in future. In comparison to what it looks today. That should look like an Eden, an earthly Paradise a Shangrilla or a heaven on Earth, a real model and Utopia of modern times. In material sense, Hunza should give an impression of a spectrum of the multi dimensional progress, based on Pluralism. And ideologically it should be truly manifesting Altruism. Hunza should be pre engaged with all sorts of constructive activities. Some time there should be sporting events, sometimes Hunza should be seen hosting cultural seminars, educational conferences, trade exhibitions, cultural shows, variety programmes and manpower development work shops etc. From the development point of view, Hunza should look emulating any western town. And from moral side, it should be portraying the rich traditions of eastern hemisphere.
Over all, Hunza should be reflecting a true progressive Islamic Society. We can choose the legendary land of Hunza for a result oriented experiment, because it has very much potential for this. And it is the Holy intention of the Imam of the Time too. Therefore the over all development in Hunza should be based on comprehensive planning.

Keeping the ever rapidly diminishing land, the over all physical development projects in Hunza should be conditioned with the pre planning. And every inch of the land should be utilized in a utilitarian manner. Entire valley; should be replenishing with planned development, all basic civic amenities, like paved roads, link roads, water channels, drinking water supply systems, power supply systems, public and govt. buildings, academic institutions of all sorts, family health care systems, recreational spots, tourist spots and community centers etc.

In terms of the constructive activities, Hunza should take a lead from the rest of the communities of North. And we should find a matrix to make Hunza the paradigm of all virtues in terms of spiritual bliss as well as the temporal progress. And all contemporary communities should aptly replicate this prototype of progress.

In pursuance with the nostalgic role of Hunza in terms of all human virtues, like bravery, hospitality, honesty, simplicity, tolerance, love of mankind, hard work, respect of law of the state, cooperation and a lot more, once again we should repeat our past role in prospect of this modern era. Hunza is a globally known destination for a number of reasons. So this good impression should remain intransigent. So it is our collective and individual liability to keep a close eye like a watch dog on the nefarious activities of anti social elements, lest they could blacken\ tarnish the colorful picture of Hunza to meet their political ends, taking advantage of our sloppy role of reconnaissance.

The main objectives of the political office (institution): As a potent helping hand, the institution will play its role parallel with Namdar Institutions without interfering in their domain. And will strive to achieve the following Objectives.

• To resolve the on going crisis andddress the issues pertinent th the status quo.
• To develop the manpower with social focus to political leadership.
• To creat harmony among our people thus paving a way to a national unity.
• To bridge the widening gaps and schism between the jamat and Jamati institutions by coherence for collective survival in today’s context.
• To extend all possible help to the Namdar Institutions as partner on need basis.
• To make advocacy in certain political matters as the representative institutions.
• To establish cordial relations with cross communities on the grounds of common interests and shared values, in the vision of our Imam. (Bridging) to making joint endeavours to achieve a sustainable development.
• To safe guard the national rights, privilages and interests on government level.
• To promote the cultural and social heritage and moral values and traditions and take precautionary measures to save our rich heritage from being obsolete forever by the hands of alien cultural onslaughts.
• To harness all available means and mediums to unite our people on priority.
• To make a long term grand agenda of at least 30 to 50 years or so..
• To retrieve the past glory of Hunza in political terms by exploiting the traditional heritage of Arbitration and Reconciliation system of Hunza. As a potent and powerful bond our traditional Arbitrational and reconciliation system has played a vital role to glue and amalgamate the people together tor centuries, despite the most unfriendly and harsh social conditions and hostile phenomenon.
• To adapt new strategies to repair the past errors and fiasco, se made which have contributed to the present crisis.

Specification of some additional Mandatory role of the Office: • Playing role as a stake holder, partner and facilitator of Jamati Institutions.
• Development of political culture and leadership of high caliber.
• Creating general awareness among people.
• Integrating all the re-existing town management agencies under one grand parent body.
• Devising a grand future agenda, determining the priorities n modern prospective.
• Harnessing the potential by pooling up the intellect of the community.
• Advocacy for Jamati Institutions and the government.
• Coordination, liaison, without interfering in the personal affairs of the institutions.
• Making strategies and implementing the plans.
• Exploring the economic, educational, social, financial opportunities.
• Proper usage of land and other resources.
• Promoting the traditional built heritage in a modern architecture.
• Commercialize the local agriculture. By supplanting the conventional crops with cash crops. (proper storage system, proper marketing system, adopting a subtle mechanism to stabilizing the prices all year round).
• Exploring new markets.
• All sorts of commercial activities and ventures and providing advisory services. Monitoring entrepreneurs to diversify the business and trade by avoiding replications.
• Conducting comprehensive surveys to raise success rate in all economic development activities.
• Making skill development Programs and capacity Building Projects for our work force.
• Future planning.
• Bridging to Cross Communities via using various shared values and common interest.
• Indentifying issues and propose interventions.

How can we achieve the required objectives?
Initially a comprehensive survey under the direct supervision of the Namdar Institution will be conducted to collect the up date data about the potential manpower on Hunza level. Then in the evidence of this survey, all the potential individuals without the difference of sect and race be lime lighted. This will specify the out lines of this institution. In that first meeting, the visionaries of this concept will further express in full length the insignificance, utility and dire need in the context of ever rapidly changing geo-political global scenario and consistentlhy emerging other natural phenomenon. On this stage, these invitees will be convinced o extend their voluntary services in personal capacity in their perspective disciplines. To effectively disseminate the concept, handbills or small brochures can be distributed among the attendants of this meeting. It would be great if multi media facility can also be used for a boost-full take off.
The potential individuals will be enlisted as Portfolio Members and their specified skill will be also categorized before this very first meeting comes to an end. At a time a transit committee comprised with interested catalyst members will also be constituted to convening the administrational matters on the initial stage. This committee will be assigned the significant task to compose the constitution of the proposed body in the written form and will give the fundamental touches to this proposed body. This committee will submit constitution and its report with in a period of 10 weeks to the next General Body Meeting for the final approval. The administrational portfolio of the body will be given the final shape after much speculation and a good brainstorming session. Hereafter, the newly selected or elected members will take their responsibilities in their respective categorized disciplines.

Remember! Until and unless the fragile responsibilities are not assigned to right person in a right time in a systematic way in a volatile socio-political ambience, no national objectives or national triumph can be achieved.

The organizational structure of the institution: The structural organization of the proposed body will be composed with various organs. It will be integrated with various sub committees on village level. A supreme council will head it. The heads of these villages level committees will bet he members of the Supreme Council. The Supreme Council will be comprised with intellectuals of certain disciplines, like political scientists, visionaries, politicians (members of the district and N.A level councils), aristocrats, Rtd, military officers, educationist, Aala Numberdars, social activists, the influential elders of certain tribes and prominent elite of the society ho could contribute to this body.

The mandatory role of the Body will be diverged in to the following divisional offices. The organic structure of the Institutions shall be comprised with the following components.

• The Think Tank. (Pool of Intellectuals/Visionaries Bench)
• The Crisis Management Unit. (Special Tasks Unit/Salvation Force).
• The Political Wing. (The House of People/Tanzeem-ul-Amal)
• The Cultural Board. (The traditional Music and Dance especially Religious one Sujo Maraka).
• Arbitration and Reconciliation House. (Koyochey Maraka/majlis Shura)
• Social Welfare Bureau.
• Manpower Development and Capacity Building Office.
• Economic Affairs Division.
• Education Advisory Commission.
• Religious Affairs Management.
• The Youth Wing.
• Women’s Affairs Cell.
• Special Service Squad. (SSS)
• The Environment Society.

Proposed man power development plans: To further developing the organizational setup the Body and proliferate its objectives, the manpower in the following diverse discipline will be produced.

• The Intellectual manpower. (Visionaries)
• The Political Leadership.
• The technical manpower.
• Business Tycoons.
• Legal and Political Advisors.
• Financial Advisories.
• Consultant of diverse fields.
• Technocrats. (Innovators).
• Tourism Promoters.
• Sportsmen of national and International level.
• Artists of various disciplines.
• The literary men.
• Highly learned Educationists.
• The seasoned Master Trainers.
• Barristers and Lawyers of International level.
• Agriculturists.
• Specialist Doctors.
• Skilled Engineers.
• Genius Planners.
• Well informed Media related people.
• Foresighted Research associates.
• Industrialists.
• Commercial Foresters

(Courtesy: Brigadier Hisamullah Beg



  1. I am surprised to read the assertion of Zeenat Shah that former sate was an "ethnic entity". How come? Were not the Wakhis and Shins living in that state?

    Or is the writer "envisioning" a Hunz-minus-other ethnicities?

    Some observations:

    1. The North - South debate is outdated. Now we have more Hunzukuts (Badakhshanis) living in the South and East and West than those living in the "north"! And of course the trend is likely to increase with the passage of time, for good. What does the good 'visionary' want to do with this category of Hunzukuts?

    2. The writer seems to be neglecting other important segments of the "Badakhshanis", including the people of Ghizar, Gilgit and Chitral. Hunza is not centre of the universe, is it?

    3.The institutions created by MHI, in his own words, need the constant support of the Jammat for moving forward. "We should not expect perfection from the institutions", is a phrase that has signs for the people of understanding!

    4. What about the institutions of the government of Pakistan and those of the government of Gilgit - Baltistan? What is Hunza's future 'envisioned' position in the geo-political realities?

    The write-up by Zeenat Shah is a confused expression of an individual's built-over-time frustration. That the writer wants to restore the 'lost glory' of Caravan Looters (for whom he uses the ambitious term of martial-race) is a laughable argument.

    I think we should not give this piece a second thought.

  2. @Anonymous i partially agree with your comments... but who is this Zeenat Shah? is he a real Hunzukut or just a ghost writer... by the way a brother of the Brigadier is a top ISI officer... may be he is the actual author of this controversial script to divide Ismailis on ethnic basis... as the Shias and Sunnis are fighting each other in Gilgit... therefore the secret agency wants to divide the Ismailis... so that they could not become powerful... right???

  3. @ khalid, there is phone no on the Brig's blog, may be it is the writer.

    yes, it's possible. how can officer refuse if a senior orders something out of the blue. govt officers should not be in immamati orgs. they are vulnerable unlike the businessmen of our khuja brothers.

    those jammati leaders who do something against MHI's policy, they must be criticised. it would not be a critique of the faith but the people among us who run the affairs locally.

    the brig's family had a terrible history during the Mir System. but his father was a great scholar and social worker. he himself is a gentleman too. this is what i know as a village fellow.

  4. Tribalism is a cause of many restfulness in developing nations. It retards growth and creates mistrust. Is a cankerworm.

  5. Anonymous said...

    The writer, by mentioning his designation at the council, has tried to present his case as an opinion of the IRCG.

    I would just like to say that the Councils shall refrain from politics. It would be disastrous for Ismailies across Pakistan.

    Let's not jeopardize the innocent people for the fantasies of an individual.
    November 8, 2010 1:29 AM
    Brong said...

    I totally agree with the above comment. Please remove the title of the said person from the paper and present it as an individual. Not only Hunza but the whole Ismaili faith are already experincing the consequnces of mixing the language and culture with faith and practices.

    I dont know why Mr Zeenat while mentioning his portfolio in Council has written and dessiminated on a topic which is relevant to a specific region or community. Pls Pls Pls our so called intellectuals dont play with the emotions and affilaitions of the people.
    November 9, 2010 11:57 AM
    Farhat Baig said...

    An intellectual idea by an intellectual.
    November 13, 2010 1:46 AM
    Karim said...

    I agree with the Anonymous on the use of the name of our councils.

    But Hunza is in a mess these days, our society is full of all sorts of evil that are eating up our society like parasites. We need to address these issues by our civil society institutions not by the councils.

    Our past has never been so glorious as some people may be thinking. It was full of injustices, biases, hatred, etc. It really needs an independent and professional research by anthropologists, that has never been done.

    The present Hunza is morally bankrupt and the evils of nepotism, favoritism, financial indiscipline, fraud, use and trade in all sorts of drugs, immoral practices etc. The real question is, where are we heading to, with this level of societal shortcomings?

    A wast majority of the population of Hunza are Ismailis, but out of these there are very few who really practice the faith according to the will and vision of their Imam (leader). If we live according to the vision of the Imam of the time and within the ethical code of conduct of the faith, I am sure 90% if the problems that we are facing today will be gone.

    We need to build civil society advocacy organizations and redirect our youth towards education, ethical principles of our faith, tolerance, coexistence and respecting each other. This is the only way forward otherwise we will be blown away by the strong winds of the corruption, incompetence, bad governence and hatred which has taken over the political setup of the whole Gilgit Baltistan in particular and our country Pakistan in general.
    November 13, 2010 11:57 AM

  6. Anonymous said...

    Who is this Zeenat Shah and what is this confused man talking about. Why such things are posted, why Council's name is used. These are the questions and ofcourse is due to the unmature leaderships occupying the RC. Please stop all these, these people have nothing to do with politics, talk about the rehebilation of Attaabad, discuss the difficulties faced by the people of Gojal and than discuss the social economy issues and way forward for Hunza.
    November 13, 2010 4:39 PM
    Anonymous said...

    The problem with tribalism is that it results in closet-mentality, where nostalgia replaces reality with illusions.

    The 'intellectual' piece - as some relative of the Zulmat-e-Shab or Noor-al-Sahar, whatever the case maybe - has said, is in reality a manifestation of a sincere desire to bring about a change in the society. While not doubting intentions of Zeenat Shah, I will definitely question his approach to social management. The time when smaller sizes were manageable are gone. Hunza, or any other valley of GB for that matter, has transcended briskly into a global village where people are highly aware about their rights. No doubt the Hunzukuts' willingness to assert themselves for gaining the absent rights has fallen a prey to gluttony, possibilized by the bounties that came with demise of the chieftain.

    However, the embankment of tribalism may never be able to stand in front of the waves of modernity. The concept of sifting through the dust of delusional past-glory, that too in search for the future, is not only full of unattractiveness, it is also antithetic to all that our generation stands or strives for.

    Thanks for sharing this different idea, nevertheless.
    November 16, 2010 1:01 AM

  7. Jojon | November 13, 2010 at 5:09 pm |

    As far as the history of Hunza is concerned, it is debatable. To me, it was full of discrimination of the people at all levels in the hands of the ruling elite and its aids (Wazeers, Trangfas, Arbobs, Yarpas, Charboos and even the personal servents of the Mirs) have equally discriminated the poor people. The reason for their non agitation and uprising was mainly due to extreme poverty, ignorance of their rights and duties due to illiteracy, and strict punishments to the culprits and their entire family and inaccessibility to the outside world and media.

    The justice system was highly questionable and not something that we should be proud of. The glorious stories were all written by the westerners who had to enjoy the royal hospitality and their interaction with the general public was almost negligible as the level of education was almost zero.

    Nobody has ever bothered to investigate how the state of Hunza was run what was the level of public welfare and prosperity at that time. I would like to share here this link to find our how was the glory of Hunza been actually.

    I hope we should come out of these exaggerated glories and live in the real world. Our society is in a real bad shape and needs urgent attention of some serious minds.
    mano | November 13, 2010 at 10:57 pm |

    Agreed with jojon as Mr. Zeenat shah is pushing us backwards to the dark age in the history of hunza where his ancestors were 2nd in command. Tomorrow he will demand to bring another alien like previous Mirs to impose on us.

    Dirum_Fiti | November 16, 2010 at 4:28 pm |

    Mr. Zeenat Shah proposes to take the Hunza people back to the stone age. He actually wants to revive the detested system of cast, clan and monopoly where the powerful was the oppressor and weak was the oppressed for centuries. Such a system cannnot practically exist in modern times as the days of monopoly over knowledge and information are gone.

    The writer must understand that life is not a fairy tale, a bedtime story …. life is a stark reality that has its own dynamics…. and the reality is that we are living in 21 century … and before us are the kind of challenges that we have had never imagined of.

    Revival of the past is a kind of sentiment that gives solace to the timid souls for a while but it doesn’t solve the problems of the future. On greater scale, the idea of revival of Islam has proved to be a complete failure because it turned the Muslims into worst kind of cynics, cowards and worshipers of the past. Instead of getting rid of the shackles of past and face the future boldly, the so called Islamic revival movements gave Muslims excuses to shy away from the present and future.

    The development model proposed by Mr. Zeenat is therefore fatal to the true development of the people of Hunza.

    Over the last few decades, various development agencies including AKDN have given us a time tested development model that has successful led our people into the educated and enlightened world.

    Politically speaking, we still have not got our share of the pie . In a sense, the past glory of Hunza state in the modern times has reduced to nothing more than a decree issued by the tehsil office. To be realistic, the Mir of Hunza and state of Hunza has reduced to the level of a tehsil administered by the Tehsildar. Romance with the past will not make too much a difference to this embarassing situation unless our people reckon with a new vision for their political future.

    Our efforts should rather be focused on greater political and economic share for Hunza in the context of growing importance of Gilgit Baltistan for the countries around the region. This alone gaurantees a better future for our comming generations.

  8. Words of thanks from The Terrorland Team

    After publication of Mr. Zeenat Shah's article here, the original site also gathered some comments. Owner of the blogs, Brigadier Hisamullah Beg, at the end of his blogs has given a link to our blog as well. Thank you Brigadier Sahib.

    And thank you Mr. Zeenat Shah for writing on a controversial topic with honesty, and provided us the opportunity to debate it democratically.

    We also want to thank Pamir Times for the debate on its website. Thank you Nelly Agwu and all others for their valuable comments.

    We want nothing should be a "taboo subject" anymore in the world especially in Pakistan. If we want to see our country as a respected nation-state in the modern world, then civil liberty should be respected by the government and establishment.

    Opposing and different points of view should be encouraged instead of being hushed! Debate on sensitive and controversial topics is a healthy attitude. In this way any issue will not become a dangerous volcano... to destroy everything... bust it with freedom of expression!

    Our society should now enjoy the blessings of freedom of thought and freedom of expression. This is the demand of the cyber world.

  9. Farooq Ahmed Khan twitted on November 1, 2011

    The Tajiks of Xinjiang sometimes enslaved the Gilgiti and Kunjuti Hunza