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Shulay Maraka: Annual Mehfil-e-Mushaira Held in Ganish Hunza

The annual Mehfil-e-Mushahira under title “Shulay Maraka” was held in Ganish in the central Hunza district of Gilgit-Baltistan. A number of famed poets, lyricists and literature enthusiasts participated in the event on a rainy evening in the historic town of Ganish. The event was part of annual celebrations of Karawan-e-Adab, one of the largest and currently operational literary society in the Hunza valley.

Imran Ahmed Hunzai

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Ustaad Sherbaz Khan Hunzai at Shulay Maraka Mehfil-e-Mushaira in Ganish Hunza

The annual Mehfil-e-Mushahira under title “Shulay Maraka” was held in Ganish in the central Hunza district of Gilgit-Baltistan. A number of famed poets, lyricists and literature enthusiasts participated in the event on a rainy evening in the historic town of Ganish. The event was part of annual celebrations of Karawan-e-Adab, one of the largest and currently operational literary society in the Hunza valley.

Shulay Maraka Mehfil-e-Mushaira in Ganish Hunza

Burushaski poets reciting their poems at Shulay Maraka held in Ganish, Hunza

The event started with poem recitations by upcoming poets. Later, artists like Sherbaz Khan, Zulfiqar Ali Barcha, Wasim Abbas, Aftab Ilmi, Ikram Najmi, Arif Hussain, Irfan Ali Irfan Hunzai and many others recited their fresh poems and Ghazals.

Shulay Maraka Mehfil-e-Mushaira in Ganish Hunza Shulay Maraka Mehfil-e-Mushaira in Ganish Hunza Shulay Maraka Mehfil-e-Mushaira in Ganish Hunza

The program was followed by refreshment for the guests and participating poets. Later, a meeting was held to discuss a formal establishment of a literary society in Hunza to promote Burushaski writers and poets.

Shulay Maraka VideosKutz Kutz Kutz Kutz Bes Meibaan – Zulfiqaar Barcha

Kursi – Wasim Abbas

Videos with thanks to Ikram Najmi of Sujo Hunzo.

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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