Stories about Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B)

Why giving G-B a provincial status is as laudable as it is controversial

Last year, when the federal government eventually decided to change the decades-old status quo in the tribal areas by merging the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P), it was hailed as a watershed moment with the sole purpose of altering the economical and political situation of the neglected region for the better. Soon after this momentous decision, the people of Gilgit Baltistan (G-B), sensing how they had been neglected since the inception of the country, also began demanding similar treatment for their own region. Pressure began to mount on the government to change the existing state of affairs in ...

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Why is India worked up about the Pakistan-China bus service?

On October 31st, India formally protested the proposed launch of a bus service between China and Pakistan because the service would “operate between Pakistan occupied Jammu and Kashmir” under the so-called ‘China-Pakistan Economic Corridor’ (CPEC). The official spokesman noted that India held the China-Pakistan Boundary agreement of 1963 as “illegal and invalid” and views the service as a violation of India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. If all this sounds tough and uncompromising, it is. But it is hardly consistent and not especially helpful. The Karakoram Highway, over which the service will be run, has been around since the late 60s and ...

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Pakistan is ‘Asia’s best kept secret’ – what will it take to reveal it globally?

“The thing about tourism is that the reality of a place is quite different from the mythology of it” – Martin Parr. Pakistan, unfortunately, is a country that has been at the receiving end of such mythology and perception for a good while now, even as things on ground have changed quite drastically over the last few years. According to the National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA), terror-related incidents have declined 58%, from 2,060 incidents in 2010 to 681 in 2017. These figures are testament to the success of our Army during the massive military operations conducted in the northern areas of ...

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Gilgit-Baltistan: A beauty incomparable

As the airplane taxied on the runway, I was nervous as well as excited. Nervous, because I was travelling by air after a good 17 years or so, and excited, because of this much- awaited trip to Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B). I, along with my family, set off to explore Hunza Valley, taking a detour through the Rakaposhi View Point and the Attabad Lake. The sight at the Rakaposhi View Point, amidst the loud but appeasing sound of water flowing directly from the melted glaciers of the Rakaposhi Mountain, was harbinger of the beauty that was to greet us throughout the trip. The ...

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Saving the legacy of the National College of Arts

In the days of my childhood fantasies, when I read stories from the Jungle Book, I didn’t know that I will someday be associated with the prestigious institution which had Rudyard Kipling’s father, John Lockwood Kipling, as its first principal. In fact, I later got to know that John Lockwood Kipling personally contributed to the books with his illustrations. The National College of Arts, from the days when it was the Mayo School of Arts, has had personalities of great stature associated with it. It still is the representative art institution of Pakistan at national and international levels. The NCA, its fellows and ...

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Refreshing our faulty memory: Gilgit-Baltistan and Kashmir go hand in hand

One of the main and often forgotten blunders of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), during their different stints in power, is the sell-out of the hopes and aspirations of the people of Gilgit-Baltistan. This is a historical fact, though the PPP tries to hide it as they are hiding other blunders as well, counting on the short memory of the public. But not all is forgotten and especially not forgiven; some of us do remember what happened in the past. The people of Gilgit-Baltistan had liberated themselves from the clutches of the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir in 1948, declared accession to ...

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Pakistan’s murder: Aftermath of Nanga Parbat massacre

Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B), a thinly populated area in the northern parts of Pakistan, is solely dependent upon tourism and agriculture for its sustenance. Commonly known as the mountaineers’ paradise on earth, it is safe to assume that the world’s top mountaineers and trekkers know this region better than most Pakistanis do, since a majority of the Pakistanis do not know a lot about G-B, other than that this land hosts five of the world’s tallest 14 peaks, which are above 8,000 metres. Last week, G-B was in the media spotlight as 10 foreign climbers and their Pakistani guide were killed by ...

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