Gilgit Baltistan

The divided Balti families of the 1971 War

The divided Balti families due to the war of 1971 are still suffering in different areas of Baltistan. Still, this biggest human tragedy is out of sight on the mainstream media. There are many videos on social media, but who will listen to the plight to the divided Balti families on both sides of the line of control (LoC).

The War of 1971 wreaked havoc on the people of the already divided Gilgit-Baltistan and in one night many areas came under Indian occupation and hundreds of families were separated.

In the Battle of 1971, the territory of Baltistan, Tyakshi, Turtuk and Chalunka (Chulunkha), covering an area of 300 square miles was captured by India in a single night.

From that day until today, the divided Balti families here are sometimes seen on the banks of the river, sometimes on the heights of the mountains, across the border, looking at their native lands, valleys, singing songs of mourning, reciting laments. 

The people of Gilgit-Baltistan have been protesting for decades to reunite these divided Balti families.
Prominent nationalist leader Syed Haider Shah Rizvi Shaheed spent his life to keep this movement alive but could not succeed. About 51 cases were filed against him, this included treason and sedition cases.

He was imprisoned many times in the struggle for his rights, but until the last moment, he gave the message to the nation that war is not the fault of the people.

Therefore, the rehabilitation of the victims of war should be realized. The people here have been suffering the pain of separation from their relatives for the last 71 years.

It is a great tragedy of human history that the divided families of Gilgit-Baltistan have been seeing for decades that this road is only a few kilometers away.

But to this day the bloody lines have separated brother from brother, sister from brother, a mother from son and husband and wife. But no arrangements have been made to reunite these divided families on humanitarian grounds.

Hafiz Bilal Zubair, the leader of the divided families, said, “we have even asked the governments to at least set up a camp at Zero Point Army posts on the border to meet our loved ones, but they refused.

Only those people will be able to feel the pain of separation of their people and the grief of being separated. whose brother is on the other side of the Line of Control and a brother is getting married on that side and he cannot join it.

He can feel the pain whose mother has passed away in Baltistan and the news of her death and many years later, his son came to about the demise of his mother in Kargil

This line of control not only divides the two areas but also kills relationships, emotions and humanity.

Despite the wars between Pakistan and India, there has always been border contact, the Wagah border has never been closed due to political rhetoric and tensions between the two countries, the diplomatic channel is always kept open.

The situation on the Gilgit-Baltistan border is far more peaceful than on other borders and despite being an example of peace and reconciliation for the people across, the people of these areas have never had the opportunity to meet their relatives.

What could be more tragic than the fact that the Kharmang route to Kargil is perhaps less than 30 km, is forced to travel thousands of kilometers via Wagah Border to meet the loved once?

On the other hand, when we talk about the elected public representatives of Gilgit-Baltistan, the current Speaker of the Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly, Haji Fida Muhammad Nashad, who also visited Kargil in 2002, complains in an interview that we have told about this issue to the authority, But we were disappointed.

Remember that, these politicians of Gilgit-Baltistan who have been holding important positions in the government from time to time by changing parties, have recently joined the PML-N and reportedly for the PTI. He said that he had also talked to former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in this regard but he flatly denied it

Gilgit-Baltistan Chief Minister Hafeez-ur-Rehman once asked by a private TV reporter in Islamabad about the reopening of the Kargil road. He told that we need a budget of Rs 1000 million to do so.

Everybody knows that the Skardu-Kargil road has been all Weather Road in the past and the road to the very last village (Hundermo) is ready and this road is being built in a stronger and wider way than before, the same situation is on the side of Khaplu.

The road to the Frano village is ready. Only a few miles away comes the village of Tortuk Village which was occupied by India.

Until the riots in the minds of political leadership are over, such complex issues are not resolved. They do not feel the pain of divided families. If diplomatic efforts are made, it is possible to open these roads on the basis of humanity.

Therefore, the higher authority on both sides of the line of control (LOC) must think about the reopening of the  Skardu-Kargil road just like they opened the Kartarpur on the humanitarian basis and express religious sympathy with the Sikh Nation.

In the same way, while showing human sympathy with the Muslims, we have to negotiate with India to open other closed roads including Skardu-Kargil road for the divided 900 families and 22,000 individuals to meet their loved once.

Read also: Mehdiabad Valley: The beautiful land of Kharmang District

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