Stories about Gilgit-Baltistan

Gilgit Baltistan: You have taken away our livelihood

Yesterday was a sad day for Pakistan. 10 foreigners, who were in Nanga Parbat to witness first hand the country’s beauty, were murdered in cold blood, allegedly to avenge a death caused by drone strikes. How these innocent travelers are related to drone strikes is beyond me.  You know what is even sadder? Reportedly, local tour guides have started to receive emails from tourists who were to visit the area in July and August. They do not wish to visit Pakistan anymore; they have requested for the cancellation of their reservations. If you thought this lone incident would bear no affect on the country, think ...

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Which area of Pakistan suffered the most in 2012?

In the terrorist’s arsenal, the bomb is perhaps the most devastating and cost effective. Its cost effectiveness is apparent when compared with armed assaults or other types of attacks. Detonate a bomb from a distance, and you don’t lose any of your people, strap it on to one of yours, and that turns him/her into the worlds smartest smart bomb, one that is capable of doing the maximum damage by fine tuning its target till the final moment. As a country that has been rocked by bombings since the 80s, Pakistan is one of the worst victims of bomb attacks. ...

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G-B massacre: The government is all talk, no action

It was perhaps the first time that an international forum as prestigious as the United Nations took strong exception to sectarian violence, referring to the massacre of passengers belonging to the Shia community at Babusar Top, two days prior to Eidul Fitr. This was not the first incident where passengers were disembarked from a bus, identified and killed on the basis of their religious sect. Such brutal assassinations of innocent commuters in broad daylight, in some cases in front of their families, have occurred on the Karakoram Highway (KKH) and other routes in the country. Secretary General of the United ...

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Will Imran Khan win hearts (and votes) in Gilgit?

As chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), Imran Khan is busy trying to woo the masses for a ‘change’,  a small but highly committed team of professionals of the Imran Khan Foundation (IKF) is quietly paving the way for the ‘tsunami’ to head towards Gilgit-Baltistan. Without giving top priority to the political agenda of the PTI, the team ventures into valleys to get a feel of the real issues that rural communities in Gilgit are confronted with. Based on first-hand information, the professionals have come to the conclusion that poverty is the biggest issue plaguing the region. So this year, they distributed ...

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Gilgit-Baltistan: Paradise turned bloody

The bloodbath in Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) has started yet again, as a severe wave of sectarianism has revisited the landlocked, but strategically key, part of the country. It began on February 28 when masked miscreants forced passengers travelling in four buses out at gunpoint and shot dead 16 of them in Hurban area of Kohistan. Since then, the law and order situation in G-B has worsened. On the morning of April 10, violence erupted again in the tense city of Gilgit when masked men riding on a motorcycle hurled a hand grenade on Sunni activists who were trying to force shopkeepers ...

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Gilgit is to blame for this bloodshed

‘Paradise on earth’ might be a cliché, but it is the only locution that describes the beauty of Gilgit. Its elegance is matchless, but the sectarian violence that has plagued this area has reduced this city to a mere shadow of the beauty it once boasted.  Spring had always filled Gilgit with a rosy fragrance, but this spring, all anyone can smell is the unmistakable stench of blood. It is truly baffling how the gardener has lit his own garden on fire. People from different sects are killing each other ruthlessly, and one doesn’t dare to venture out on the streets unless ...

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Typing with frozen hands in Gilgit-Baltistan

To be a journalist in Gilgit-Baltistan, one requires extraordinary patience not because of the many security threats in the region, but also because of the unfavorable working conditions, especially in winter. Access to information is not a challenge in Gilgit. It can be gathered under all circumstances ­ be it times of peace or turbulence ­ provided one has sufficient sources willing to cooperate. In fact, the G-B Supreme Court had recently ruled that access to official information is the right of a journalist, making it easier for journalists. As far as the threats are concerned, a journalist working for an ...

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Fighting over Rs130

On a recent visit to a market in Gilgit, I witnessed two men beating up a vendor. When I inquired about the cause of the fight, I was told it was a result of bitter haggling over the price of a jacket. The two men had offered Rs100 for a jacket while the vendor insisted that he couldn’t give it for less than Rs230. The mere difference of Rs130 triggered a verbal debate, which then culminated in violence. While many may find this shocking, I thought the incident wasn’t unusual. We have come across similar cases of a much more serious ...

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The ‘Great Game’ in Gilgit Baltistan

The latest allegation by India about the presence of Chinese troops in Gilgit-Baltistan has sparked a new debate in the region. Some accuse India of attempting to malign Pakistan and say that it is time-tested friend China through ‘baseless’ propaganda; while others construe it as the beginning of a new “Great Game.” The term “great game” is not new to the region of Gilgit-Baltistan, as the mountain-locked area has suffered a history of invasions. The British captured Gilgit-Baltistan during the 19th century and ruled over it for years, in order to keep a check on the increasing ...

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Floods make victims vulnerable to Taliban risk

As the country is waking up to one of the most devastating floods of its history the response of the rescue and relief agencies has been slow to say the least. The death toll has crossed the 1,000 figure and the number is still rising.  According to the UN, almost one million people have been affected. Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, the province already facing the brunt of war against militancy and terrorism, has suffered the most from these floods. Areas as far as the tribal agencies in the west have been inundated and with the poor structure of governance prevailing there rescue and ...

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