Gilgit-Baltistan:Illegal Construction of a Lodge at Nanga Parbat Base Camp

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GILGIT (ET): A German woman has approached Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) chief secretary, complaining about the illegal construction of a lodge at the base camp of Nanga Parbat.

With a height of 8,126 metres, Nanga Parbat, also known as ‘The Killer Mountain’, is the second highest mountain peak of Pakistan and the ninth highest in the world. It is located in the Himalayan mountain range in the Diamer valley of G-B.

“Last year I was informed about the illegal construction of a lodge at Nanga Parbat Base camp West Face (Diamer/Bunar side),” wrote Marianne Klies from Germany to G-B Chief Secretary Sajad Hottiana in an email which Hottiana shared with his friends on his facebook account.

“Since summer last year, I am in contact with various Pakistani authorities, including former deputy commissioner Sibtain Ahmad, trying to prevent this illegal project. It damages and disturbs the peaceful environment of this completely untouched location at 4,200 metres. The locals do not want or need this building; on the contrary they find it disturbing.”

She said despite promises to stop or demolish the construction, no action has been taken.

In her email, Klies further wrote that the construction was done on the orders of a well-known Italian climber, Simone Moro, who constructed the lodge to help him during his winter climbing trips.

Klies said she met the G-B chief secretary in March when he was in Berlin to attend a cultural event.

“I remember your interesting presentation during the event, showing the beauty of natural wilderness of your country and pointing out future prospects for tourism and preserving nature.”

She said she has been travelling to Pakistan every year since 2005, staying for three months in the north, mainly the Gilgit-Baltistan’s Diamer region. “I have gone on many treks and done some voluntary work. I know the country and its people very well.”

She said the European trekkers who went to the site complained about the construction activities, afraid that this will set a negative example and soon others will follow.

“There have already been protests against this. People going there want nature and not houses.”

“I as Chief Secretary cannot sit back. Nanga Parbat is a world heritage. I have told her that everything will be done in a transparent manner,” Hottiana said.

He has asked the director of the Environmental Protection Agency to submit a report within one week. “Follow the law strictly and give a fair opportunity to all parties within the mandatory time frame,” he said.

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