Month: November 2013
ISLAMABAD (ET): The three-day Silk Route Festival (SRF) 2013 has provided the locals of Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) with an opportunity to attract foreign and national tourists to experience their unique culture and landscape. The occasion gave the locals a chance to exhibit their art, culture and traditional heritage to the delegates of the Silk Route member states which include several countries such as China, Egypt, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Azerbaijan, Ukraine and Indonesia after almost 13 years.
The event was aimed at reviving tourism and trade in the region as the Silk Route was the first bridge formed to connect the East and West. G-B governor Pir Karam Ali Shah, who inaugurated the event at the Karakoram International University (KIU) said “G-B has much to offer to the rest of the world and its potential can be utilized by making investments in the region”.
Ukraine ambassador Volodymyr Lakomov became the first official from his country to visit Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B), after five of his Ukrainian compatriots were murdered alongside five other trekkers at Nanga Parbat in June this year. This incident was a serious setback to the region’s tourism industry. Chief Secretary Youns Dhaga in his speech said, “the objective of the event was to explore future collaboration between the Silk Route Countries, we are overwhelmed by the response of foreign delegates”. The event was not only focused on the tourism industry but it also involved the interaction of foreign delegates with the local communities. Through which the foreign delegates were exposed to the rich cultural legacies of this area.
Gilgit (BR): The Pakistan Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) Chairman Syed Raghib Abbas Shah Wednesday visited Diamer-Basha Dam (DBD) Project. He was accompanied by the senior officers of Wapda and the project authorities. Speaking on the occasion, the Chairman said that because of the keen interest taken by the Prime Minister of Pakistan and the concerted efforts put in by the Ministry of Water and Power and Wapda, about 17,000 acres state-owned land has been transferred by the Government of Gilgit-Baltistan to Wapda for DBD Project.
Terming it a significant development for implementation of the project, he thanked the Ministry of Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan (KAGB) as well as the Government of Gilgit-Baltistan for transferring the state-owned land to Wapda. He said that Wapda has also provided a sum of Rs 5.5 billion to the Government of Gilgit-Baltistan for its disbursement to the people for acquiring private land.
The Chairman said that the Government accords high importance to DBD Project and in view of its significance, the Ministry of Water and Power, through WAPDA, is implementing it as a priority project.
During his visit to the various sites of the project, the Chairman expressed satisfaction that the work for resettlement of the affectees at Harpan Das model village has been started. He also expressed satisfaction that construction work at Wapda offices, residential facilities, roads and other infrastructure at Thor and Shatial by-pass is progressing satisfactorily.
For DBD Project, acquisition of land, development of infrastructure in the project area and implementation of resettlement as well social action plan are simultaneously under way through the funds provided by the Federal Government. The process of selection of consultants for the project is in the final stage following submission of proposals by three internationally renowned consortiums.
GILGIT (ET): World Responsible Tourism Day was observed across Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) on Wednesday wherein schoolchildren got the rare chance to visit the historic Shigar Fort.
World Responsible Tourism Day has been observed on November 6 since 2005. Individuals, and organisations celebrate it globally to assist in building a sustainable future for the travel and tourism industry.
“It was an opportunity for schoolchildren to enjoy and understand cultural heritage and its impact on the local community,” explained assistant director tourism at Serena Hotels, Asghar Khan.
The schoolchildren were given fabric bags to promote an ecologically friendly habit.“G-B is home to diversified cultures and languages and is rich in heritage which is why we marked the day to promote a cleaner environment.” Various schools, the district administration, G-B tourism ministry officials and members of G-B Tour Operators Association also participated in an awareness walk in Gilgit.
GILGIT (APP): The Jewel of Pakistan, Gilgit-Baltistan offered its treasures of lofty snowy mountains, fresh water lakes, lush green fairy meadows, gentle breeze, singing birds, strong legacies of art and culture, and mosaic of ancient traditions to the member states of Silk Routes after 13 years.
The just concluded three-day Silk Route Festival 2013 gave a unique opportunity to the youth of Gilgit-Baltistan for showing their art, culture and traditional heritage aimed at boosting tourism, trade and cultural exchange of their area with the delegates of Silk Route member countries.
These include Ukraine, North Korea, South Korea, Azerbaijan, Kyrgystan, Syria, Egypt, Japan, China, Uzbekistan and Indonesia.
The Gojal/Hunza area which has long remained a corridor for researchers, merchants and writers would continue to serve as energy, tourism, trade and culture corridors.
The native people believe that the festival will help attract foreign and local tourists to get a taste of the unique landscape, promote values of peace and stability, regional cooperation and gender equity through sports and cultural activities.
The Silk Route Festival not only focused on performance by the tourism and cultural departments of Gilgit-Baltistan, but the major attraction for the visiting delegates comprising ambassadors, diplomats and tourists was the community involvement.
People of all ages participated in the events both in casual and traditional attires, and introduced the delegates with their rich heritage and legacies.
Besides colorful performances, “King of Games and Game of Kings,” polo match on drum beats, aroma of traditional foods and other legacies of the area, the local people sang in Wakhi language to introduce the participants with the songs that were sung during the journeys of traders on the Silk Route.
Federal Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan Muhammed Birjees Tahir says, the festival was an attempt to not only boost tourism industry of Pakistan, but open new avenues of trade and cultural exchange.
It was an historic event which linked the central Asia to the world and this festival will now open some potential avenues, because Gilgit-Baltistan is friendly to tourists because of its peaceful environment.
“The Silk Route Festival will be instrumental in promoting stability in
the region besides creating more opportunities for tourism with its several tourist attractions at one tourist haven”, he stressed.
Governor Gilgit-Baltistan Syed Pir Karam Ali Shah described the festival as an event based on glorious past of cultural and traditional exchange.
Tourists and traders have linked up the living style of Silk Route member countries through this festival and Gilgit-Baltistan is serving as a gateway to the Silk Routes, he said.
The festival featured an art and craft show, gems and jewelry expo, polo match, visits to ancient Budha site, view points of popular peaks connected to old Silk Routes, visits of delegates to Altit and Baltit forts, traditional food fiesta, traditional dances and instrumental performances to show the regional attires and way of living of the people of Gilgit-Baltistan.
The delegates from the silk route member states also visited the affected area of Atta Abad lake and discussed the ways to facilitate the residents of Gulmit area, which lost its road connection to Gilgit due to the lake. The Kashmir Minister has also announced to make a tourist resort at the viewpoint of Atta Abad Lake near Gulmit.
They lauded the role of government for holding the international festival after 13 years and hoped that it will promote cultural exchange, regional stability and develop more tourism opportunities in the area.
Gilgit-Baltistan, endowed with the most unique geographical features in the world, has collection of some of the highest band precipitous peaks in the world. It boasts more than 700 peaks above 6000 meters and more than 160 peaks above 7000 meters.
This mountain wealth makes Pakistan an important mountainous country as the compelling charm of these high, challenging, endless sea of rugged rock and ice pinnacles, attracting large number of climbers, adventure seekers and nature lovers from across the world each year.
Gilgit (PT): “The Government of Pakistan should either accept one of our three proposals, or face a movement for restoration of the defunct Islami Jamhuria Gilgit, after 1st November 2014”, lawyers warned at a conference held here on the independence day of Gilgit-Baltistan. The three proposals put forth through a declaration were;
- Make GB the fifth province after amending Pakistan’s constitution
- Introduce AJK-like constitutional parliamentary governance system in the region, 0r
- Conditionally integrate/annex/fuse/join (انضمام) Gilgit-Baltistan with Azad Kashmir, under a constitutional arrangement
They termed the period from 1st November 2013 to 31st October 2014 as the deadline year, urging the government to bring an end to the violation of International Human Rights Charter and the orders (SCMR 1379) of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, decreed in 1999.
The lawyers passed a resolution saying that the people of Gilgit-Baltisan were being treated as “third-class citizens” and they were deliberately being kept deprived of their due legal and constitutional rights.
The convention had been called by the Supreme Appellate Court Bar Association and attended by bar councils members and lawyers from all seven districts of Gilgit-Baltistan.
The lawyers also expressed anger at the 66 years long legal and constitutional deprivations of the Gilgit-Baltsitan region, terming it a uniquely deprived part of the world. The lawyers’ convention also observed that segments of people in the region have been so anguished by the deprivations that they are now talking not just of nationalism, but also separatism. They said that it is in Pakistan’s best interest to address grievances of the people before it is too late.
Speakers at the convention also highlighted the geo-strategic and political importance of Gilgit-Baltistan, refuting the impression that it is a burden on the economy of Pakistan.
The lawyers also rejected the claims that provision of constitutional rights to Gilgit-Baltistan will affect the Kashmir dispute. They said that people in the Indian Kashmir and AJK were being governed under constitutional setups but the same rights are not being given to Gilgit-Baltistan in the name Kashmir dispute. The lawyers also said that the revolutionary council of Gilgit Scout had acceded the newly formed state of Gilgit to Pakistan but the rulers refused to accept the annexation request and pushed the region towards a constitutional limbo. They also said that the states of Hunza and Nagar, as well as the regions of Darel and Tangir had acceded to the state of Pakistan, which was never honored by the rulers of Pakistan.
The lawyers also said through a joint resolution that the Gilgit-Baltistan was liberated by the people of the region and it is not an occupied part of Pakistan. They said that ruling the region through a “remote-controlled setup” is unacceptable.
Islamabad (BR): Chief Minister Gilgit-Baltistan Syed Mehdi Shah visited Air Headquarters and held a meeting with President Pakistan Ski Federation Air Marshal Athar Hussain Bukhari, Acting Chief of the Air Staff.
According to an ISPR release here on Friday, both the dignitaries discussed matters pertaining to development of the Naltar Ski Resort. President Ski Federation of Pakistan briefed the Chief Minister on aims and objectives of Pakistan Air Force for the development and uplift of the area into an International Standards Ski City.
Chief Minister commended the efforts of Pakistan Air Force and the Ski Federation for their role in the general welfare of the people with special emphasis on education to the locals.
The Chief Minister assured all out support for the development of infrastructure namely Gilgit-Naltar road, electric supply for ski chairlift and planned uplift of ski resort surroundings.
Both the dignitaries also exchanged souvenirs at the occasion.
GILGIT (Dawn): The 66th independence day of Gilgit-Baltistan was on Friday celebrated with traditional zeal and fervor throughout the region with renewed pledges to continue making untiring efforts for the prosperity and integrity of Pakistan.
The day was dawned with special prayers in mosques for the liberation of occupied Muslim lands, including Kashmir.
Glowing tributes were paid to the heroes of the liberation war in special ceremonies held in Gilgit and other districts.
All governmental and non-governmental organisations organised different gatherings to mark the day in a befitting manner.
Main function in this connection was held in historic Chinar Gardens here where Governor Gilgit-Baltistan Pir Syed Karam Ali hoisted national flag and laid down flowerer wreath at the Yadgar-i-Shuhada. He offered Fateha at the graves as a contingent of Gilgit-Baltistan Scouts and police presented guard of honour. Speaking on the occasion, the governor paid glowing tribute to those died in the liberation war of 1947-48.
Army’s Commander for Northern Command Maj-Gen Hafiz Masroor Ahmed praised role of soldiers of Gilgit-Baltistan during the war. He said the troops would not hesitate in sacrificing for the defence of motherland following footprints of their heroes.—Correspondent