Stories about Gilgit-Baltistan

Pakistan should learn lessons from China and avoid conflict with India

From the very beginning, Pakistan’s foreign policy has been security-centred, but the recent announcement of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) shows that Pakistan has pulled its strings closer in line with the global norms in order to benefit and cooperate with one of the emerging economies of the world. In times of relative stability, public policies, and systems of behaviour, democratic societies tend to flow in accordance with the dominant paradigm. With the evolutionary emergence of the liberal capitalist order, sustainable economic development is considered to be the most dominant paradigm which relates comprehensive national power to economic development since, the national interests of ...

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10 lessons Pakistan can learn from the UK general elections 2015

On May 7, 2015, the 56th general elections of the United Kingdom were held to elect 650 members to the House of Commons. Victory of ruling Conservative (Tory) Party, led by Prime Minister David Cameron, surprised many. However, from purely a Pakistani perspective, there are many lessons to draw. Ten of them are mentioned here: 1. As a party leader, if you lose, you resign This might sound alien to Pakistani ears, yet it is true. Unlike the land of the pure, ethics is a hall mark of British politics. For me, as a Pakistani, it was quite surprising that within hours of ...

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Gilgit-Baltistan elections: The nth nail in the coffin of women equality

Religion has deepened its roots into Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) once again, where the Legislative elections are set to be held in June, 2015. The first symptom of this religiosity is the allegations against various party leaders for using mosques and imambargahs as launching platforms for their political activities. The second symptom is the current unanimous decision of a so-called jirga (local council) which bars women to vote, as it would put the religious, cultural and social honour of the region at stake – according to a report by BBC Urdu. The jirga was held in Diamir, one of the seven districts of G-B. Whereas ...

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Dear Imran Sahib, as a PTI supporter, I think you need to take a step back

Dear Sir, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) supporters across the country celebrated the party’s 19th foundation day a few days ago. Indeed PTI has come a long way since then, through your sheer perseverance and determination. Today, PTI stands as the second largest party in the country and has positioned itself as a challenger to the status quo. You yourself have said that, “PTI is an idea whose time has come.” However, going from number two to number one is perhaps the most difficult step. As they say, the last mile is the hardest. And the way PTI is going right now, I am afraid that it may not make it. Being ...

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Travelling through Pakistan with my (fake) husband

I am travelling to Pakistan with a stranger I met on a layover in Hong Kong. Within minutes of meeting each other, we knew we could travel together. We hatched a plan over lukewarm Tiger Beer while sitting on smurf-sized chairs in Hanoi. Out of respect for Islamic values, and as precaution, we decided to pretend to be husband and wife from elsewhere, anywhere but America. We rendezvoused in Guangzhou and entered Pakistan from Western China down the Karakoram Highway. As I stood at the airport waiting, I thought, Do I know what he looks like? I wondered for the briefest moment if ...

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When six single women travelled from Karachi to Skardu

It was our Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (DDLJ) moment. Six single women, in their 20s, boarded the Business Train to Lahore – the first destination of our trip from Karachi to Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B). Karachi Cantt Station. As we settled in to our cabin, we revelled over our triumph of coaxing our parents into saying: “Ja Simran ja, ji le apni zindagi.” (Go Simran go, live your life) But we were scared too. After all this was no Euro-rail. The afternoon was bright and sunny, and after taking in the cabin amenities, we were content. The cabin door, with a stable, iron lock and ...

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The army may be helping Gilgit-Baltistan but where is the Pakistani government?

Trekking is my craze, hiking is my pastime and mountaineering is my obsession. And to observe and do research about the conditions of people belonging to Pakistan’s neglected regions is something that I like to do. So you can understand my excitement when, last summer, I availed the opportunity of visiting Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B), also largely known as the northern areas of Pakistan. I went up to a height of 17,000 feet, well beyond tree-line, whereupon I came across something spectacular. I witnessed the glory of the Pakistan army, helping its people out even so far above ground. I saw officers of the military doing ...

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10 things you probably didn’t know about Pakistan

“Pakistan is going through difficult times.” “The future looks bleak.” “Hope seems to be a luxury we cannot afford.” Statements such as these are common nowadays. However, I tend to disagree. I don’t believe there is anything as bad about Pakistan that can’t be fixed by what’s good about it. Pakistan is a beautiful country that has proven to be the epitome of resilience in the most difficult of times. Here’s to celebrating everything that makes Pakistan a country so beautiful and so strong. Here’s to the breath-taking beauty and unimaginable strength. Here’s to things you probably didn’t know about Pakistan. 1. The world’s 26th largest economy It is a nuclear power ...

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Women’s empowerment and literacy: Have we underestimated the Northern areas?

The people of Northern Pakistan do not just reside on a higher altitude; in fact they are above us in many ways. They are healthier, wealthier and wiser. The northern areas of Pakistan, in addition to being one of the most beautiful places on earth, house some of the most brilliant people in our country (some of whom I’ve had the privilege to meet). Although I have had many friends from this area, I came abreast with their true potential and capabilities about six months ago, when I attended a residential youth camp with participants from all over Pakistan. A ...

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Were the Taliban really behind the Gilgit-Baltistan tourist attack?

“Pakistan suspends expeditions after tourist massacre” read the latest news headlines in Pakistan after one of the worst incidents in the country’s tourism history where nine foreign tourists, and their Pakistani tour guide, were shot at point blank range by militants on the base camp of Nanga Parbat, in Gilgit-Baltistan region. The Tehreek-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) were also quick enough to claim responsibility for this high profile attack, stating that their faction, Junud-e-Hafsa, was the main perpetrator of the attack. According to them, the attack was in response to the drone strike that killed Waliur Rehman, an influential TTP ...

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