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Showing posts from August, 2015

19 spectacular photos of Gilgit-Baltistan

Originally posted by   Long considered a no-go for Western tourists, perceived by too many as a lawless desert land, Pakistan is - would you believe it - rather beautiful. From its wild coast in the south, to the meeting point of three colossal mountain ranges in the north, via lush valleys and fertile fields, its landscapes might make you consider it again. Picture: Mazhar Nazir In spring time, the Hunza Valley, in Gilgit–Baltistan, blushes pink, as cherry and apricot trees unfurl their branches from the winter's cold. The scene may resemble an English meadow, but it is belied by the snowy slopes of the surrounding mountains, all of which reach more than 6,000 metres.  Picture: AP Other crops include honey-dew melons, apples, mulberries and peaches. In autumn, roofs are lined with trays where apricots are left to dry in the mellow sun. While the scenery is beautiful, those who travel here should be ready for rough roads, facilities are basi

Scaling Pakistan's mountains: A tale of expedition resilience

By  SAAD MOHAMED     —  Originally published on Dawn News Climbing mountains is an annual ritual for me; sometimes it’s even bi-annual. My siblings inherited the travel bug from our father, but for me, the decisive year was 1996, when I took my first ski course with Adventure Foundation Pakistan (AFP). For the next 10 years, a multitude of treks and adventure activities followed. Then, in 2006, my focus shifted to mountains.  What began with trekking peaks only in Shimshal, gradually expanded to other destinations. But I keep going back to Shimshal; it is, what I like to call, my training ground.  For people who are not familiar with Shimshal's location, it is a cluster of villages 55km off the Karakoram Highway (KKH) east of Passu (Gilgit Baltistan), accessible only through a narrow jeep road that runs through a rocky gorge perilously along a tumultuous river. It is from this cluster of villages that many major trekking trails and their variations sprout forth. 

Gilgit-Baltistan – A Historical Narrative

By   Syed Shamsuddin   Perceptibly, there abound divergent narratives and counter narratives wittingly or unwittingly churned out as to status of Gilgit-Baltistan which more often than not, have no bearing on and are sadly devoid of any substance when put in the correct historical perspective. In order to get the best and clearest possible picture, it becomes imperative to have a full view of and delve deeper into its background with a view to irrefutably place facts connected with the matter in the correct historical order by separating what is called the wheat from the chaff for the information of the readers as follows: Strictly speaking, the region fell on turbulent times and troublous waters during the second half of the nineteenth century which may, with profit, be called the period of uncertainty and the gloomiest transitional phase in Gilgit-Baltistan’s context. Synoptically, region consisted of and apportioned into a dozen tiny kingdoms each ruled by despotic, independ

GB’s Aspirations

By  Tahir Mehdi   GILGIT-BALTISTAN has spoken loud and clear. It has given an unambiguous mandate to the party ruling at the centre. This is no surprise as in the previous elections too the then-ruling PPP had mustered similar numbers. The PPP had taken all three major legal initiatives (in 1974, 1994 and 2009) to improve governance in this area. Being the sole champion of popular causes, it had deep roots in local politics. In this context, the PML-N can happily interpret the recent mandate as the democratic approval of its policy of infrastructure development, the cornerstone of which is the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. The party has secured, politically, the starting point of this ambitious road network. On the flip side, this enthusiastic yes to the Nawaz League must have raised expectations of GB’s people for reciprocity from Islamabad. And that’s exactly where Islamabad has always failed them. GB was given the local legislature in its present for