No power can snatch Shandur from us, says GB govt's adviser

GILGIT, June 15: Adviser on youth affairs, tourism and culture, Gilgit-Baltistan, Sadia Danish has said the objective of organizing the Shandur festival with Chitral was to revive and promote cultural and historical relations with the neighbouring valley. She said by making arrangements with the district administration of Chitral for the festival, old relations with the people of Chitral had been revived and the people in both the areas were now interacting more frequently. She said the commission to resolve the boundary dispute between Gilgit-Baltistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa governments had started work. She claimed that Chitral had historically been an integral part of Gilgit-Baltistan and would always remain so. Ms Danish said some elements in the government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were hell-bent on creating rift and divisions among the people of Chitral and Gilgit-Baltistan to sabotage the annual festival that had been a catalyst in bringing them closer. She said the people of the two areas had the same culture, languages, traditions and history and they had lived together for centuries in peace and harmony. There is more need to bring them closer but some elements are trying to pitch them against each other. The adviser also claimed that Shandur was the integral part of Gilgit-Baltistan and no power on earth can separate it from Gilgit-Baltistan. She said in the past due to martial law and hold of bureaucracy, far-off areas in Gilgit-Baltistan, like Shandur and Basha, were never taken care of and the government of then NWFP took full advantage of the situation and took over these areas. But soon after coming to power, the PPP government of Gilgit-Baltistan took up the matter at the highest level and on the directive of Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, the boundary commission was set up to resolve the issue. She said the commission had started work and hopefully would give a decision in favour of Gilgit-Baltistan.  ]]>

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