BY OUR CORRESPONDENT
GILGIT: The educational fund provided by China for the Uighur families in Gilgit – Baltistan (G-B) this year hasn’t been distributed among the beneficiaries for over five months, raising suspicions over its fair use.
According to insiders privy to the development, China government this year provided Rs4.5million to G-B Chinese Overseas Association (G-BCOA) -- the representative body of over 100 Uighur families living in the region for decades – as part of the annual support for education to its former citizens.
The monetary support for education was first provided by China government in 2010 through its embassy in Islamabad. The ex-Chinese residents still continue to receive the assistance which has helped many families to enroll their children in schools.
“This money was supposed to be distributed among the families five months back to enable them to pay tuition fee for the school going kids and meet other expenses,” a member of the Uighur community told The Express Tribune on Monday.
“But that hasn’t happened as there is monopoly of a certain group in G-BCOA that doesn’t want this to happen,” he said on the condition of anonymity as this could jeopardize his position in the community.
Ibrahim Jan, another Uighur who had not objection of being identified by name, said the suspension of funds has threatened future of children in many families as they haven’t been able to pay school fee to continue their education. “This is the plight of several families but what is strange is that nobody is willing to ask the group dominating the association,” said Jan.
He said recently the association received some mobile phones and laptops from the embassy, which he accused, were distributed flouting merit.
General Secretary G-BCOA Abdul Rahman Bukhari acknowledges fair played lacked in the G-BCOA. “There are some people in the association who are dominant and seem to be above the law,” Bukhari told The Express Tribune .
We tried to bring this issue to the notice of concerned people but failed, he added.
According to Bukhari, there was no system of audit in place of the funds provided by China to the G-BCOA which allowed the office bearers to manipulate it. “We request China embassy to look into this.”
More than 100 families fled from Xinjiang of China after ‘The 1949 Revolution’ to settle in parts of Pakistan, most in Gilgit - Baltistan, leaving behind their property and also the relatives. Today the number has multiplied four times the original population.
The migration, which started from 1949 continued till 1980, introduced what is now called ‘Kashgari culture’ in this region.