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Hunza

First Ever Hunza Marathon Concludes in Karimabad

The much anticipated Hunza Marathon has concluded in Karimabad today. More than 200 local, national and international runners participated in 3 different categories; the 4th one being a practice-run to be arranged later this week down the hill from Khunjerab Pass. Prizes were distributed among the winners at a ceremony attended by Governor of Gilgit-Baltistan Mir Ghazanfar Ali Khan and many others at Baltit Serena Inn.

Imran Ahmed Hunzai

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Hunza Marathon 2016

The much anticipated Hunza Marathon has concluded in Karimabad today. More than 200 local, national and international runners participated in 3 different categories; the 4th one being a practice-run to be arranged later this week down the hill from Khunjerab Pass. Prizes were distributed among the winners at a ceremony attended by Governor of Gilgit-Baltistan Mir Ghazanfar Ali Khan and many others at Baltit Serena Inn.

Starting at 5:00 AM in the morning, the 42-km long full marathon was kicked off. A total 7 laps were covered between Zero Point in Karimabad and Tutan Shun in Hyderabad town. The 10-km and 5-km long segments were started at 9:00 AM with the same starting and return points. The awards distribution and closing ceremony was held at Baltit Serena Inn later in the evening.

While talking to GBee.PK, Ziyad Rahim, who had first envisioned the Hunza Marathon, showed his satisfaction about the participation of runners and services of the volunteers. He said he is looking forward to continue the marathon next year with even better arrangements.”

Earlier, he talked about how he got to meet Mirza Ali and Samina Baig while they were returning from their Antarctica expedition.

“I met these two after their return from Antarctica. I shared the idea of a marathon in Hunza which they agreed to collaborate. We were lucky to have Serena Hotels as our main sponsor. Things were smoother than expected due to the collaboration.”

He added:

“I have seen great potential in the athletes of this region. I am sure with proper training, we can have world class runners from Hunza. We will continue the marathon as part of Pakistan Running Series.”

Babar Khan, who was one of the participants of the 5-km marathon was excited to finish the race, but at the same time he had some reservations about management. He said “There were some cases of mismanagement that I encountered during the race,” He added: “Since this was the first ever such marathon in the town, I expect a better event next year. I will participate again next time with better preparation.”

Ramiz Ali, another participant of the marathon was unhappy about the traffic which was not diverted or stopped during the marathon. He said that government should also take stake in such events and coordinate with the management for a better marathon experience. He pointed out that some of the runners of 5-km long marathon cheated by taking a ride in places where no management was present.

Medals and certificates were distributed among the winners by Mir Ghazanfar Ali Khan. He showed his interest to support such events in the future.

The winners of Hunza Marathon are as under:

Cateogry Position Name Country
Full Marathon Male (42-KM) Winner Semjon Parker Germany
Full Marathon Female (42-KM) Winner Nadine Gill Germany
Half Marathon Male (10-km) Winner Rizwan Karim Pakistan
Half Marathon Female (10-km) Winner Kishwar Karim Pakistan
Half Marathon Male (5-km) Winner Sajid Hussain Pakistan
Half Marathon Female (5-km) Winner Nimla Karim Pakistan

Imran Hunzai is a Digital Media Consultant and activist based in Islamabad, Pakistan. When free, he likes to travel, do photography and play Rabab. He also runs a HONY inspired blog called Humans of Hunza. Follow him on Twitter @ihunzai.

Chitral

7 Photo-stories on World Water Day 2020 from Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral (GBC)

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AKAH Pakistan World Water Day 2020 Stories
AKAH Pakistan

World Water Day is celebrated every year on 22nd March as an observance day to highlight the importance of freshwater. The day is used to advocate for the sustainable management of freshwater resources.

As part of the World Water Day 2020 celebrations, Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (AKAH) shares these stories of people from Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral whose lives have been deeply impacted by water and sanitation-related projects in the region.

AKAH Pakistan World Water Day 2020 Stories
Over half of the people across Pakistan lack access to safe and clean water and have no choice but to consume water from whatever source exists in their villages, regardless of quality. Aga Khan Agency for Habitat, aiming to improve quality of life, is implementing water supply schemes across mountain communities in Pakistan.
AKAH Pakistan World Water Day 2020 Stories
In mountainous parts of Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral, traditional wells are used as water reservoirs collecting the water coming from streams through canals. This water, coming directly from open sources, is unsafe as it is contaminated due to its exposure to both humans and animals. Without access to another source of water, people use this unsafe water for different purposes including drinking, cooking, and other domestic purposes.
AKAH Pakistan World Water Day 2020 Stories
Clean drinking water has always been a huge problem for communities living in mountainous areas of Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral. Women and children are impacted the most as they must travel long distances to fetch water for cooking, washing, and laundry. AKAH’s work to connect each household to safe and clean with a water tap in their home enables women to keep their children safe from waterborne diseases, spend more quality time with their families, and also reduces time and labor lost to fetching water.
AKAH Pakistan World Water Day 2020 Stories
Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (AKAH), with the help of communities, identifies water sources in the village, tests the water quality using its technical expertise, develops water infrastructure, constructs water reservoirs, and provides each family with a water tap in their home. More than 500,000 people across Pakistan now have access to safe drinking water in their homes, through AKAH’s efforts.
AKAH Pakistan World Water Day 2020 Stories
Aga Khan Agency for Habitat’s WASEP model uses a community-based approach to help mountain communities get year-round all-season access to safe water. AKAH’s approach uses deep digging and other techniques to ensure that water does not freeze in the pipes despite the fact that these villages are covered in snow for more than five months of the year.
AKAH Pakistan World Water Day 2020 Stories
“I enjoy taking freshwater from this tap in my home; you would say I am in love with it that’s why I stand here many times a day”.
AKAH Pakistan World Water Day 2020 Stories
Aga Khan Agency for Habitat, with its mandate to improve quality of life, is helping women and young girls across Pakistan enjoy a healthy life, by providing access to safe water in their homes, reducing their exposure to water-borne diseases, allowing them to spend more quality time with families.
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Crime

Hunza Police Raids and Seizes 230 liters of Araq, arrests illegal Hunza Moonshine maker

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Hunza Police Raids and Seizes 230 liters of Araq Moonshine - Hunza Water
SHO Hunza (Facebook)

Hunza Police had raided an illegal Hunza moonshine distillery in Altit town of Central Hunza Valley and seized around 230 liters of Araq. According to a post published on Facebook by an account associated with SHO Hunza District, the police raided the illegal moonshine factory based on a tip.

The successful operation was led by SHO Hunza himself. A team of policemen who participated in the raid posed for a photo with an illegal moonshine maker after seizing Araq and distillation equipment.

The post further mentions that an FIR has been lodged against the owner of the factory. The distillation equipment and 230 liters of Araq, some of which were already filled in reused mineral water bottles, were seized from the illegal moonshine factory.

Hunza Police Raids and Seizes 230 liters of Araq Moonshine - Hunza Water
Araq (Hunza Moonshine) filled in reused mineral water bottles seized by Hunza Police.

Raids of such kind are not new in the Hunza district. Despite a rise in making and selling of the Hunza Moonshine, locally known as Araq and sometimes referred to as Hunza Water by tourists, authorities have failed to formulate address the issue.

During the past five years, at least seven such raids have been made but the real issue is far from being addressed.

Hunza Police Raids and Seizes 230 liters of Araq Moonshine - Hunza Water
Illegal Hunza moonshine distillation equipment seized by Hunza Police.

According to a survey in 2015 by a youth organization, 3 out of every 5 men in Hunza consume Araq at least once in a month. Due to a ban on publicly buying and selling of alcohol, the illegal moonshine makers find a way to fill the gap.

In Gilgit-Baltistan, the local moonshine making industry is thriving in the districts of Hunza and Ghizer.

BBC reported in 2013 that despite a public ban, alcoholism is becoming a rising issue in Pakistan. Despite excise taxation on liquor, beer, spirits and alcohol, there is no written national policy in Pakistan adopted to address the many issues related to alcoholism.

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