Stories about Karakoram

Why do we exoticise the Kalasha yet continue to ignore their woes?

The mountainous communities of Pakistan who inhabit the valleys of Karakoram, Hindu Kush and Himalaya are on the margins, ignored and side-lined; dependent on external centres of power for knowledge that define and decide their identities, policies and power dynamics. The people of Pakistan largely don’t know much about these communities, their languages, cultures and history. This was glaringly evident during the media coverage coming out of the valley during the recent visit of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to one of the Kalasha valleys in the Kalashadesh in Chitral. Some reporters associated with certain famous media houses even thought that ...

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Pakistan’s melting glaciers: Our climate change crisis will destabilise Asia’s rivers

Pakistan is fortunate to be home to three great mountain ranges: the Himalayas, the Karakoram and the Hindu Kush. In fact, on the drive up the Karakoram Highway from Islamabad to Gilgit, I often stop at a place near Jaglote town where these three ranges actually meet. One can see the grand vista from the road, which could easily be missed if not for a sign nearby which reads, “The junction point of the three mightiest mountain ranges of the world.” The Karakoram includes the K2, the world’s second-highest peak, and is the most heavily glaciated area on the planet apart ...

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From Naran to Khunjerab Pass: A trip to the enthralling eighth wonder of the world and Pakistan’s very own heaven

It was the second week of September, and a bright sunny day, as we set out from Lahore on our journey to the northern areas of the country. My wife and I had been planning this trip for weeks but were still apprehensive on what was to come since we had never ventured this far up north. We hadn’t seen most of the places that we planned on covering but were excited nonetheless, since we were about to make our journey across Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) to Gilgit Baltistan (GB) all the way up to Khunjerab Pass. We left Lahore and made our way to Nathiagali, ...

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The Mecca of mountains in Pakistan’s Shangri-La

Towards the boundless northern areas of Pakistan, the world’s greatest mountain ranges merge as one. Pushed upwards by the subduction of the Indian subcontinent, their snowy peaks rise above parades of clouds providing a habitat for The Golden Eagle, Snow Leopard, Himalayan Ibex, and The Tibetan Wolf.  Photo: Mike McCaffrey This is where the Hindu Kush, Himalaya and Karakoram mountains merge, hosting five of the world’s 14 peaks which are higher than 8,000 meters (26,247 feet), including K2, the world’s second tallest peak after Mount Everest. Flying over this region provides perspective to the viewer, as a sea of snow-capped summits can ...

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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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Samina Baig and Mirza Ali: Pakistan climbs Mount Everest!

Amidst the hue and cry about rigging in elections, the political topsy turvy and the mercury rising and crossing the boiling point, there comes good news for Pakistan. Samina Baig and her brother Mirza Ali made history by climbing the world’s highest mountain Mount Everest without using supplemental oxygen. It is also a moment of great pride not only for Pakistan but also for India and all those who want peaceful relations between both the countries, as Samina and Mirza had in their team two Indian twin sisters, Nughsi and Tashi.


All four of them were ...

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