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Karakoram Highway (KKH) Remains Blocked at Multiple Locations

After the devastating rainfall, Karakoram Highway (KKH) remains blocked at multiple locations. The blockade is spread across so many location from Khunjerab border to Chilas that the highway authorities have still not been able to open the roads for traffic. Road between Skardu and Gilgit, which is already in its worst condition, is also blocked at more than 3 dozen locations due to landsliding.

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Karakoram Highway - KKH blocked

After the devastating rainfall, Karakoram Highway (KKH) remains blocked at multiple locations. The blockade is spread across so many location from Khunjerab border to Chilas that the highway authorities have still not been able to open the roads for traffic. Road between Skardu and Gilgit, which is already in its worst condition, is also blocked at more than 3 dozen locations due to landsliding.

Here are some photos shared by Facebook user Waheed Anwar that he took during his cycle tour on KKH.

 

Karakoram Highway - KKH blocked

Karakoram Highway - KKH blocked

Gilgit

Hundreds of passengers stranded in Kohistan due to a landslide on KKH

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Kohistan Landslide
Kohistan Times

Nearly 400 passengers traveling between Gilgit and Rawalpindi have been stranded in Kohistan following a landslide that blocked Karakoram Highway (KKH). A landslide has blocked currently the only land access route between Gilgit and Rawalpindi near Sumar Nulla in Kohistan’s Dasu region. Passengers traveling on the route have been stranded for nearly 12 hours now.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa police have made arrangements for the safety and security of the passengers in the harsh cold weather. Meanwhile, Kohistan district administration has asked for a bulldozer and other necessary machinery to open the route for traffic.

The district administration has said that the landslide area will be cleared for traffic before Tuesday evening so that the passengers on both sides could proceed to their destinations.

The stranded passengers include women and children as well. Luckily, there are small hotels and shops nearby that will offer some relief of basic necessities in the hard times.

The northern region of Pakistan is facing an on-going spell of heavy snowfall. Karakoram Highway is prone to landslides during rainfall and snowfall. Lack of even the most basic facilities put passengers in a very difficult position in such times.

The two other routes that connect Gilgit to Rawalpindi, i.e. Shandur Pass and Babusar Pass, remain closed during winters due to heavy snowfall.

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Hunza

Journalist from Gilgit-Baltistan Shortlisted for the Foreign Press Association Media Awards 2018

Imran Ahmed Hunzai

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Wakhan Corridor
AFP / Gohar Abbas

Gohar Abbas from Hunza district of Gilgit-Baltistan has been shortlisted for Foreign Press Association Media Awards 2018 for his story Heaven and Hell: ancient Silk Road barter trade continues. Gohar works for Agence France-Presse (AFP) in Islamabad. He has been shortlisted under the category “travel and tourism story of the year”.

Gohar Abbas

Gohar Abbas

Gohar is competing against Fuchsia Dunlop of FT Weekend Magazine (Eating in North Korea) and Nicola Smith of The Daily Telegraph (Danger in Paradise).

The winners of the Foreign Press Association Media Awards 2018  in all categories will be announced on 26th November.

Another Pakistan correspondent and producer Asad Pabani Pakistan has been shortlisted for Thomson Foundation Young Journalist from the Developing World. He has covered stories like “The curious case of Youhanabad”, “Billion tree tsunami” and “President Weah appoints Attorney General with questionable integrity”.

Gohar Abbas

Gohar Abbas covering Faizabad Dharna for AFP

The Foreign Press Association Media Awards is regarded as the “Oscars of Journalism”. In an annual event, the association awards journalists, producers, documentary filmmakers and radio hosts in 13 categories. The Foreign Press Association also works to promote excellence in journalism.

Gohar Abbas is the first journalist from Gilgit-Baltistan to be shortlisted for this award. He hails from Gojal, Upper Hunza and covers stories from Gilgit-Baltistan region.

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Hunza

Seminar on Tourism and Its Socioeconomic, Political and Environmental Impact in Hunza

A team of 11 young researchers presented their case studies on responsible tourism at GB Boys Degree College, Hunza on 1st September 2018. The objective of the seminar was to sensitize local masses with the dire need to manage tourism and also to initiate discussions for the promotion of responsible tourism.

Haider Buluk

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Seminar on Tourism and Its Socioeconomic, Political and Environmental Impact in Hunza held in Aliabad

The researchers tried to shed light on the importance of preservation of culture, tradition, heritage and most importantly environment while maintaining the hospitality tradition of Hunza people. The researchers collectively argued that tourism industry should translate into rural development through strategies of pro-poor policies and resisting urbanization.

Seminar on Tourism and Its Socioeconomic, Political and Environmental Impact in Hunza held in Aliabad

The presentation also included a dialogue between young researchers and the audience. A major research report tracing demographics, perceptions, preferences and behavioral patterns of tourists was shared. It was followed by other case studies on topics like women’s earning pattern, infrastructure, the commodification of local food, waste management, child labor, women’s mobility and presence in public spaces, career choices among youth and loss of locals’ ownership of land. The researchers were open to feedback on their work with due consideration of the study’s limitations.

Asst. Prof. Sher Ali

Asst. Prof. Sher Ali

Principal GB Govt. Boys Degree College Hunza, Asst. Prof. Sher Ali welcomed the team and said, “it is heart-warming to see youth of Hunza contributing their time and efforts for the society and it is very promising to see them investing their energies in research”.

Elucidating the theme of conference Iram Shaista Khan, the team lead, presented the major research and briefed the participants about the dire need of social mobilization, community resilience and policy guidelines for the management of tourism in Hunza. She opened the stage for critical assessment of how irresponsible tourism is effecting Hunza both socially and environmentally.

Iram Shaista Khan

Iram Shaista Khan

She said that out of the total, 97% of tourists use private transportation and only 2.1% of visitors are using public transportation to come to Hunza. This statistic is alarming, with respect to carbon emissions and the urgent threats posed due to vulnerabilities of the region. Her research provided significant findings which can be used in the future to come up with an informed policy for tourism in GB.

Safiullah Baig, the guest speaker, shared his views on how drastically the culture and ecology of Hunza have been affected in the last few decades. He said managing tourism is important because it has become a matter of survival for the poor indigenous people.

Sultan Madad

Sultan Madad

The main findings of the case studies include the increase in unplanned constructions, congestion in Public Spaces, lack of parking areas, restrictions on local female mobility, increase in earning opportunities for women, increased demand for local food leading to modifications, loss of locals’ land ownership due to monopoly business practices of non-locals, possibility of commodification of natural resources, absence of construction by-laws, low capacity of waste management institutions, incineration of huge amounts of plastic, lack of awareness about environmental issues, students leaving school to start tourist enterprises, child labor, increased employment opportunities for youth and seasonal employment.

Haider Ali

Haider Ali

Gari Khan’s study highlighted the issues of waste management. He revealed that out of total waste 82.3% consists of plastic and the only waste processing method is incineration in open areas. “Due to non-local monopoly businesses the locals are getting stripped of their land,” said Haider Ali, further elaborated how this is likely to lead towards privatization of natural resources. Other speakers include Nasira Bano, Bibi Fatima, Humaira Bano, Sadia, Naheed Akhter and Bibi Nelofar.

Sultan Madad, a senior activist of Gilgit-Baltistan, appreciating the hard work of the researchers said that people have to take immediate actions to manage tourism in Hunza by reinforcing the existing village rules and customary laws. He asked for the mobilization of youth to work for the betterment of the society. Tajir Hussian Lecturer, Development Studies appreciated the presenters for spreading awareness and stressed on the importance of grassroots research for the informed policymaking.

Asghar Khan, Manager Hunza Serena Hotel (Baltit Inn) described in detail the concept of Responsible Tourism. He highlighted the importance of maximizing benefits for the local community through the utilization of local material and local human resource.

In conclusion, the audience stressed that every region of GB should benefit from the emerging tourism industry and such kind of research should be conducted, in order to, prepare locals for “Responsible Tourism” management; which should benefit local economy while minimizing risks for society and ecology.

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