Month: November 2013

Gilgit-Baltistan: SRF-2013 To Attract Tourism in GB

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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-Baltistan: 17 Thousand Acres of Land Transferred for DBD Project

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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-Baltistan: World Responsible Tourism Day Observed Across GB

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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-Baltistan: The Jewel of Pakistan (GB), Offered its Treasures

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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-Baltistan: Lawyers Propose Three Solutions on Status of GB

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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;

  1. Make GB the fifth province after amending Pakistan’s constitution
  2. Introduce AJK-like constitutional parliamentary governance system in the region, 0r
  3. 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.

Gilgit-Baltistan: Naltar Ski Resort to be Developed into an International Standards Ski City

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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-Baltistan: Independence Day of GB Celebrated with Traditional Zeal Throughout the Country

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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

Gilgit-Baltistan: SRF Concluded in Gulmit, Hunza

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GULMIT (Web Desk Monitoring): The Silk Route Festival in Gulmit, Gojal Baltistan Pakistan, concluded on October 29, 2013 that was attended by a large number of foreign delegations and diplomats including from Central Asia. Diplomats from about 22 countries in Pakistan also visited the Silk Route Festival 2013 in Karimabad. They were accompanied by Speaker Gilgit Baltistan, Legislative Assembly Wazir Baig, and Adviser to CM on Tourism, Culture and Youth Affairs Sadia Danish.

The diplomats were welcomed to the festival in Hunza by the Hunza-Nagar district administration officials and then accompanied to Altit Fort, where a large number of traditional items were presented. Local elders welcomed the diplomats in their traditional style besides presenting traditional dance. The guests were amused by traditional and folk songs and music.

The festival was organized by the GB Tourism Department in collaboration with a number of organizations, including the Karakoram International University (KIU), AKRSP, Serena Hotel, WWF, KADO, AKCSP, and others.

Events under the festival were also held today in Nagar. The festival will conclude tomorrow in a large event in Gulmit, Gojal, where preparations for the event have been finalized.

Gilgit-Baltistan: Interior Ministry Presents Terrorism Incidents Toll in NA

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ISLAMABAD (Nation): According to figures of National Crisis Management Cell (NCMC) of interior ministry, 1732 law enforcement agencies personnel and 4233 civilians were martyred in the four provinces, FATA, AJK, Gilgit Baltistan and Islamabad.
The terrorism incidents included attack on personnel of law enforcement agencies, bomb blasts, hand grenade explosions, improvised explosive devices and mine explosions, firing of missiles and rockets,sectarian violence and suicide attacks.
According to the year wise break up, 502 law enforcement personnel and 1454 civilians were killed in 2010 in 2061 incidents while 1383 LEAs personnel and 3964 civilians were injured in the same year.
NCMC said 408 law enforcement personnel and 948 civilians lost their lives in 2011 in 1680 incidents. While 1097 LEAs personnel and 2553 civilians were injured in the same year.
Three hundred and forty seven law enforcement personnel and 816 civilians were martyred in 2012 in 1316 incidents and 727 LEAs personnel and 2619 civilians were injured that year.475 law enforcement personnel and 1015 civilians were killed till October 3 in 2013 in 1047 incidents. While 815 LEAs personnel and 3545 civilians were injured in the same period.
According to the province wise break up,in Punjab,69 law enforcement personnel and 390 civilians died in 155 terrorist incidents in four years.
In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 566 law enforcement personnel were martyred and 1457 civilians died in 1528 incidents during this period.
In Sindh,108 law enforcement personnel were martyred and 274 civilians died in 422 incidents.
In Balochistan, 361 law enforcement personnel were martyred and 867 civilians died in 1714 incidents.
In Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), 617 law enforcement personnel and 1355 civilians lost their lives in 2222 incidents.
About 59 law enforcement personnel and civilians lost their lives in dozens of incidents in Islamabad, Azad Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan in four years.

Gilgit-Baltistan: Dignitaries of 15 Countries Participated in Opening Ceremony of Silk Route Festival

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GILGIT (ET): Foreign delegates from 15 countries landed in Gilgit on Sunday on the first day of Silk Route Festival.

The three-day festival is being held after 13 years in G-B, a region which recently witnessed the Nanga Parbat massacre in which 10 foreign climbers were killed.

Named after the ancient Silk Route, which formed the first bridge between the East and West and was a source of trade between the ancient empires of China, India, Persia and Rome, the event is aimed at reviving tourism in the region

Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) Governor Pir Karam Ali Shah inaugurated the event at the Karakoram International University (KIU). Dignitaries from 15 countries, including Ukraine, Korea, and Syria, were flown in from Islamabad. They will travel to Hunza and Gojal today (Monday) to partake in the rest of the events.

“G-B has much to offer to the rest of the world and its potential can be utilised by making investments in the region,” said the governor. He also spoke of G-B’s history, calling it a melting pot of influences from Kashmir, Central Asia and China where five ethnic groups speak five different languages with 36 dialects.

The objective of the event is to explore future collaboration between the Silk Route countries, said Chief Secretary Younus Dhaga in his speech. “We are overwhelmed by the response of foreign delegates.”

According to KIU Vice Chancellor Dr Najma Najam, the idea of globalisation was actually introduced by the Silk Route. “It’s a symbol of friendship,” said Najam, “We are more similar than different.”

The guests also visited various stalls at the campus which showcased regional culture and traditions.