Gilgit-Baltistan unfortunately faces a challenge in nurturing its brightest minds due to the prevalence of religious extremism. This issue is primarily propagated by illiterate scholars who do not practice good Islamic principles themselves. It’s important to emphasize that we are addressing those individuals who promote religious extremism, as there are religious scholars who work towards promoting harmony among different sects and fostering unity among the people, regardless of their sects.
To illustrate this point, we can look at recent events in Gilgit-Baltistan. The closing ceremony of the Sarfaranga Cold Desert Festival becomes a subject of controversy every year due to the inclusion of a musical concert. Several religious leaders make efforts to disrupt the event, but they fail to address issues within their own communities, such as the presence of music, illicit businesses, conflicts, and corruption. These unqualified scholars lack the moral standing required for their esteemed religious positions.
Another troubling incident occurred when certain groups in Chilas expressed their readiness to carry out a sectarian-based event, promoting hatred and violence. This led to the closure of schools in Gilgit-Baltistan for a week to defuse the tensions. It’s essential to clarify that we are not advocating for a constant influx of open sky musical concerts in Gilgit-Baltistan. Instead, the focus should be on reinforcing core values. Without a solid foundation of moral values, positive change becomes challenging. The law of attraction suggests that what you perceive, you attract. In Gilgit-Baltistan, many people are drawn to these illiterate religious leaders because of their eloquent speeches, rather than following scholars who are academically and morally qualified.
These instances serve as an eye-opener for the educated members of the Gilgit-Baltistan community. Everyone must play their part in making Gilgit-Baltistan a place where the best minds can flourish. This is the only way to overcome the current challenges and bring about a brighter future.