Region administered by Pakistan as an administrative territory
A map of the disputed Kashmir region showing the Pakistani-administered region of Gilgit-Baltistan
|Established||1 Nov 1948|
|• Type||Self-governing territory of Pakistan|
|• Body||Government of Gilgit-Baltistan|
|• Governor||Raja Jalal Hussain Maqpoon|
|• Chief Minister||Hafeezur Rahman|
|• Chief Secretary||Muhammad Khuram Aga|
|• Legislature||Legislative assembly|
|• High Court||Gilgit-Baltistan Supreme Appellate Court|
|• Total||72,971 km2 (28,174 sq mi)|
|• Density||17/km2 (44/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+05:00 (PST)|
|ISO 3166 code||PK-GB|
|Languages||Balti, Shina, Wakhi, Burushaski, Khowar, Domaki, Urdu (administrative)|
|HDI (2018)||0.593 |
Gilgit-Baltistan (Urdu : گِلگِت بَلتِسْتان, Balti: རྒྱལ་སྐྱིད་ སྦལྟི་ཡུལ།), formerly known as the Northern Areas, is a region administered by Pakistan as an administrative territory, and constituting the northern portion of the larger Kashmir region which has been the subject of a dispute between India and Pakistan since 1947, and between India and China from somewhat later. It is the northernmost territory administered by Pakistan. It borders Azad Kashmir to the south, the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to the west, the Wakhan Corridor of Afghanistan to the north, the Xinjiang region of China, to the east and northeast, and the Indian-administered union territories Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh to the southeast.
Gilgit-Baltistan is part of the greater Kashmir region, which is the subject of a long-running conflict between Pakistan and India. The territory shares a border with Azad Kashmir, together with which it is referred to by the United Nations and other international organisations as "Pakistan administered Kashmir".Gilgit-Baltistan is six times the size of Azad Kashmir. The territory also borders Indian-administered union territories Jammu and Kashmir (union territory) and Ladakh to the south and is separated from it by the Line of Control, the de facto border between India and Pakistan.
The territory of present-day Gilgit-Baltistan became a separate administrative unit in 1970 under the name "Northern Areas". It was formed by the amalgamation of the former Gilgit Agency, the Baltistan district and several small former princely states, the larger of which being Hunza and Nagar.In 2009, it was granted limited autonomy and renamed to Gilgit-Baltistan via the Self-Governance Order signed by President of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari, which also aimed to empower the people of Gilgit-Baltistan. However, scholars state that the real power rests with the governor and not with chief minister or elected assembly. The population of Gilgit-Baltistan wants to be merged into Pakistan as a separate fifth province and opposes integration with Kashmir. The Pakistani government has rejected Gilgit-Baltistani calls for integration with Pakistan on the grounds that it would jeopardise its demands for the whole Kashmir issue to be resolved according to UN resolutions.
Gilgit-Baltistan covers an area of over 72,971 km² (28,174 sq mi) and is highly mountainous. It had an estimated population of 1.249 million in 2013 (estimated as 1.8 million in 2015 by Shahid Javed Burki (2015)). Its capital city is Gilgit (population 216,760 est). Gilgit-Baltistan is home to five of the "eight-thousanders" and more than fifty peaks above 7,000 metres (23,000 ft). Three of the world's longest glaciers outside the polar regions are found in Gilgit-Baltistan. The main tourism activities are trekking and mountaineering, and this industry is growing in importance.
The rock carvings found in various places in Gilgit-Baltistan, especially those found in the Passu village of Hunza, suggest a human presence since 2000 BC.Within the next few centuries after human settlement in the Tibetan plateau, this region became inhabited by Tibetans, who preceded the Balti people of Baltistan. Today Baltistan bears similarity to Ladakh physically and culturally (although not religiously). Dards are found mainly in the western areas. These people are the Shina-speaking peoples of Gilgit, Chilas, Astore and Diamir while in Hunza and in the upper regions Burushaski and Khowar speakers dominate. The Dards find mention in the works of Herodotus, Nearchus, Megasthenes, Pliny, Ptolemy, and the geographical lists of the Puranas. In the 1st century, the people of these regions were followers of the Bon religion while in the 2nd century, they followed Buddhism.
Between 399 and 414, the Chinese Buddhist pilgrim Faxian visited Gilgit-Baltistan,while in the 6th century Somana Palola (greater Gilgit-Chilas) was ruled by an unknown king. Between 627 and 645, the Chinese Buddhist pilgrim Xuanzang travelled through this region on his pilgrimage to India.
According to Chinese records from the Tang dynasty, between the 600s and the 700s, the region was governed by a Buddhist dynasty referred to as Bolü (Chinese :勃律; pinyin :bólǜ), also transliterated as Palola, Patola, Balur. They are believed to be the Palola Sāhi dynasty mentioned in a Brahmi inscription, and are devout adherents of Vajrayana Buddhism. At the time, Little Palola (Chinese :小勃律) was used to refer to Gilgit, while Great Palola (Chinese :大勃律) was used to refer to Baltistan. However, the records do not consistently disambiguate the two.
In mid-600s, Gilgit came under Chinese suzerainty after the fall of Western Turkic Khaganate due to Tang military campaigns in the region. In the late 600s CE, the rising Tibetan Empire wrestled control of the region from the Chinese. However, faced with growing influence of the Umayyad Caliphate and then the Abbasid Caliphate to the west, the Tibetans were forced to ally themselves with the Islamic caliphates. The region was then contested by Chinese and Tibetan forces, and their respective vassal states, until the mid-700s.Rulers of Gilgit formed an alliance with the Tang Chinese and held back the Arabs with their help.
Between 644 and 655, Navasurendrāditya-nandin became king of Palola Sāhi dynasty in Gilgit.Numerous Sanskrit inscriptions, including the Danyor Rock Inscriptions, were discovered to be from his reign. In the late 600s and early 700s, Jayamaṅgalavikramāditya-nandin was king of Gilgit.
According to Chinese court records, in 717 and 719 respectively, delegations of a ruler of Great Palola (Baltistan) named Su-fu-she-li-ji-li-ni (Chinese :蘇弗舍利支離泥; pinyin :sūfúshèlìzhīlíní) reached the Chinese imperial court. By at least 719/720, Ladakh (Mard) became part of the Tibetan Empire. By that time, Buddhism was practiced in Baltistan, and Sanskrit was the written language.
In 720, the delegation of Surendrāditya (Chinese :蘇麟陀逸之; pinyin :sūlíntuóyìzhī) reached the Chinese imperial court. He was referred to by the Chinese records as the king of Great Palola; however, it is unknown if Baltistan was under Gilgit rule at the time. The Chinese emperor also granted the ruler of Cashmere, Chandrāpīḍa ("Tchen-fo-lo-pi-li"), the title of "King of Cashmere". By 721/722, Baltistan had come under the influence of the Tibetan Empire.
In 721–722, Tibetan army attempted but failed to capture Gilgit or Bruzha (Yasin valley). By this time, according to Chinese records, the king of Little Palola was Mo-ching-mang (Chinese :沒謹忙; pinyin :méijǐnmáng). He had visited Tang court requesting military assistance against the Tibetans. Between 723–728, the Korean Buddhist pilgrim Hyecho passed through this area. In 737/738, Tibetan troops under the leadership of Minister Bel Kyesang Dongtsab of Emperor Me Agtsom took control of Little Palola. By 747, the Chinese army under the leadership of the ethnic-Korean commander Gao Xianzhi had recaptured Little Palola. Great Palola was subsequently captured by the Chinese army in 753 under the military Governor Feng Changqing. However, by 755, due to the An Lushan rebellion, the Tang Chinese forces withdrew and was no longer able to exert influence in Central Asia and in the regions around Gilgit-Baltistan. The control of the region was left to the Tibetan Empire. They referred to the region as Bruzha, a toponym that is consistent with the ethnonym "Burusho" used today. Tibetan control of the region lasted until late-800s CE.
Turkic tribes practicing Zoroastrianism arrived in Gilgit during the 7th century, and founded the Trakhan dynasty in Gilgit.
In the 14th century, Sufi Muslim preachers from Persia and Central Asia introduced Islam in Baltistan. Famous amongst them was Mir Sayyid Ali Hamadani who came via Kashmir [ citation needed ]while in the Gilgit region Islam entered in the same century through Turkic Tarkhan rulers. Gilgit-Baltistan was ruled by many local rulers, amongst whom the Maqpon dynasty of Skardu and the Rajas of Hunza were famous. The Maqpons of Skardu unified Gilgit-Baltistan with Chitral and Ladakh, especially in the era of Ali Sher Khan Anchan who had friendly relations with the Mughal court. Anchan reign brought prosperity and entertained art, sport, and variety in architecture. He introduced polo to the Gilgit region and from Chitral, he sent a group of musicians to Delhi to learn Indian music; the Mughal architecture influenced the architecture of the region as well. Later Anchan in his successors Abdal Khan had great influence though in the popular literature of Baltistan he is still alive as a dark figure by the nickname "Mizos" "man-eater". The last Maqpons Raja, Ahmed Shah, ruled all of Baltistan between 1811–1840. The areas of Gilgit, Chitral and Hunza had already become independent of the Maqpons.
Before the demise of Shribadat, a group of Shin people migrated from Gilgit Dardistan and settled in the Dras and Kharmang areas. The descendants of those Dardic people can be still found today, and are believed to have maintained their Dardic culture and Shina language up to the present time.[ citation needed ]
In November 1839, Dogra commander Zorawar Singh, whose allegiance was to Gulab Singh, started his campaign against Baltistan.By 1840 he conquered Skardu and captured its ruler, Ahmad Shah. Ahmad Shah was then forced to accompany Zorawar Singh on his raid into Western Tibet. Meanwhile, Baghwan Singh was appointed as administrator (Thanadar) in Skardu. But in the following year, Ali Khan of Rondu, Haidar Khan of Shigar and Daulat Ali Khan from Khaplu led a successful uprising against the Dogras in Baltistan and captured the Dogra commander Baghwan Singh in Skardu.
In 1842, Dogra Commander Wasir Lakhpat, with the active support of Ali Sher Khan (III) from lKartaksho, conquered Baltistan for the second time. There was a violent capture of the fortress of Kharphocho. Haidar Khan from Shigar, one of the leaders of the uprising against the Dogras,was imprisoned and died in captivity. Gosaun was appointed as administrator (Thanadar) of Baltistan and till 1860, the entire region of Gilgit-Baltistan was under the Sikhs and then the Dogras.
After the defeat of the Sikhs in the First Anglo-Sikh War, the region became a part of the princely state called Jammu and Kashmir which since 1846 remained under the rule of the Dogras. The population in Gilgit perceived itself to be ethnically different from Kashmiris and disliked being ruled by the Kashmir state.The region remained with the princely state, with temporary leases of some areas assigned to the British, until 1 November 1947.
After Pakistan's independence, Jammu and Kashmir initially remained an independent state. Later on 22 October 1947, tribal militias backed by Pakistan crossed the border into Jammu and Kashmir.Local tribal militias and the Pakistani armed forces moved to take Srinagar but on reaching Uri they encountered defensive forces. Hari Singh made a plea to India for assistance and signed the Instrument of Accession.
Gilgit's population did not favour the State's accession to India.The Muslims of the Frontier Districts Province (modern day Gilgit-Baltistan) had wanted to join Pakistan. Sensing their discontent, Major William Brown, the Maharaja's commander of the Gilgit Scouts, mutinied on 1 November 1947, overthrowing the Governor Ghansara Singh. The bloodless coup d'etat was planned by Brown to the last detail under the code name "Datta Khel", which was also joined by a rebellious section of the Jammu and Kashmir 6th Infantry under Mirza Hassan Khan. Brown ensured that the treasury was secured and minorities were protected. A provisional government (Aburi Hakoomat) was established by the Gilgit locals with Raja Shah Rais Khan as the president and Mirza Hassan Khan as the commander-in-chief. However, Major Brown had already telegraphed Khan Abdul Qayyum Khan asking Pakistan to take over. The Pakistani political agent, Khan Mohammad Alam Khan, arrived on 16 November and took over the administration of Gilgit. Brown outmaneuvered the pro-Independence group and secured the approval of the mirs and rajas for accession to Pakistan. Browns's actions surprised the British Government. According to Brown,
Alam replied [to the locals], "you are a crowd of fools led astray by a madman. I shall not tolerate this nonsense for one instance... And when the Indian Army starts invading you there will be no use screaming to Pakistan for help, because you won't get it."... The provisional government faded away after this encounter with Alam Khan, clearly reflecting the flimsy and opportunistic nature of its basis and support.
The provisional government lasted 16 days. The provisional government lacked sway over the population. The Gilgit rebellion did not have civilian involvement and was solely the work of military leaders, not all of whom had been in favor of joining Pakistan, at least in the short term. Historian Ahmed Hasan Dani mentions that although there was a lack of public participation in the rebellion, pro-Pakistan sentiments were intense in the civilian population and their anti-Kashmiri sentiments were also clear.According to various scholars, the people of Gilgit as well as those of Chilas, Koh Ghizr, Ishkoman, Yasin, Punial, Hunza and Nagar joined Pakistan by choice.
After taking control of Gilgit, the Gilgit Scouts along with Azad irregulars moved towards Baltistan and Ladakh and captured Skardu by May 1948. They successfully blocked the Indian reinforcements and subsequently captured Dras and Kargil as well, cutting off the Indian communications to Leh in Ladakh. The Indian forces mounted an offensive in Autumn 1948 and recaptured all of Kargil district. Baltistan region, however, came under Gilgit control.
On 1 January 1948, India took the issue of Jammu and Kashmir to the United Nations Security Council. In April 1948, the Council passed a resolution calling for Pakistan to withdraw from all of Jammu and Kashmir and India to reduce its forces to the minimum level, following which a plebiscite would be held to ascertain the people's wishes.However, no withdrawal was ever carried out, India insisting that Pakistan had to withdraw first and Pakistan contending that there was no guarantee that India would withdraw afterwards. Gilgit-Baltistan and a western portion of the state called Azad Jammu and Kashmir have remained under the control of Pakistan since then.
While the residents of Gilgit-Baltistan expressed a desire to join Pakistan after gaining independence from Maharaja Hari Singh, Pakistan declined to merge the region into itself because of the territory's link to Jammu and Kashmir.For a short period after joining Pakistan, Gilgit-Baltistan was governed by Azad Kashmir if only "theoretically, but not practically" through its claim of being an alternative government for Jammu and Kashmir. In 1949, the Government of Azad Kashmir handed administration of the area to the federal government via the Karachi Agreement, on an interim basis which gradually assumed permanence. According to Indian journalist Sahni, this is seen as an effort by Pakistan to legitimize its rule over Gilgit-Baltistan.
There were two reasons why administration was transferred from Azad Kashmir to Pakistan: (1) the region was inaccessible to Azad Kashmir and (2) because both the governments of Azad Kashmir and Pakistan knew that the people of the region were in favour of joining Pakistan in a potential referendum over Kashmir's final status.
According to the International Crisis Group, the Karachi Agreement is highly unpopular in Gilgit-Baltistan because Gilgit-Baltistan was not a party to it even while its fate was being decided upon.
From then until 1990s, Gilgit-Baltistan was governed through the colonial-era Frontier Crimes Regulations, which treated tribal people as "barbaric and uncivilised," levying collective fines and punishments.People had no right to legal representation or a right to appeal. Members of tribes had to obtain prior permission from the police to travel to any location and had to keep the police informed about their movements. There was no democratic set-up for Gilgit-Baltistan during this period. All political and judicial powers remained in the hands of the Ministry of Kashmir Affairs and Northern Areas (KANA). The people of Gilgit-Baltistan were deprived of rights enjoyed by citizens of Pakistan and Azad Kashmir.
A primary reason for this state of affairs was the remoteness of Gilgit-Baltistan. Another factor was that the whole of Pakistan itself was deficient in democratic norms and principles, therefore the federal government did not prioritise democratic development in the region. There was also a lack of public pressure as an active civil society was absent in the region, with young educated residents usually opting to live in Pakistan's urban centers instead of staying in the region.
In 1970 the two parts of the territory, viz., the Gilgit Agency and Baltistan, were merged into a single administrative unit, and given the name "Northern Areas".The Shaksgam tract was ceded by Pakistan to China following the signing of the Sino-Pakistani Frontier Agreement in 1963. In 1969, a Northern Areas Advisory Council (NAAC) was created, later renamed to Northern Areas Council (NAC) in 1974 and Northern Areas Legislative Council (NALC) in 1994. But it was devoid of legislative powers. All law-making was concentrated in the KANA Ministry of Pakistan. In 1994, a Legal Framework Order (LFO) was created by the KANA Ministry to serve as the de facto constitution for the region.
In 1984 the territory's importance shot up on the domestic level with the opening of the Karakoram Highway and the region's population came to be more connected with mainland Pakistan. With the improvement in connectivity, the local population availed education opportunities in the rest of Pakistan.Improved connectivity also allowed the political parties of Pakistan and Azad Kashmir to set up local branches, raise political awareness in the region, and these Pakistani political parties have played a 'laudable role' in organising a movement for democratic rights among the residents of Gilgit-Baltistan.
In the late 1990s, the President of Al-Jihad Trust filed a petition in the Supreme Court of Pakistan to determine the legal status of Gilgit-Baltistan. In its judgement of 28 May 1999, the Court directed the Government of Pakistan to ensure the provision of equal rights to the people of Gilgit-Baltistan, and gave it six months to do so. Following the Supreme Court decision, the government took several steps to devolve power to the local level. However, in several policy circles, the point was raised that the Pakistani government was helpless to comply with the court verdict because of the strong political and sectarian divisions in Gilgit-Baltistan and also because of the territory's historical connection with the still disputed Kashmir region and this prevented the determination of Gilgit-Baltistan's real status.
A position of 'Deputy Chief Executive' was created to act as the local administrator, but the real powers still rested with the 'Chief Executive', who was the Federal Minister of KANA. "The secretaries were more powerful than the concerned advisors," in the words of one commentator. In spite of various reforms packages over the years, the situation is essentially unchanged.Meanwhile, public rage in Gilgit-Baltistan is "growing alarmingly." Prominent "antagonist groups" have mushroomed protesting the absence of civic rights and democracy. Pakistan government has been debating the grant of a provincial status to Gilgit-Baltistan.
According to Antia Mato Bouzas, the PPP-led Pakistani government has attempted a compromise through its 2009 reforms between its traditional stand on the Kashmir dispute and the demands of locals, most of whom may have pro-Pakistan sentiments. While the 2009 reforms have added to the self-identification of the region, they have not resolved the constitutional status of the region within Pakistan.
The people of Gilgit-Baltistan want to be merged into Pakistan as a separate fifth province,however, leaders of Azad Kashmir are opposed to any step to integrate Gilgit-Baltistan into Pakistan. The people of Gilgit-Baltistan oppose any integration with Kashmir and instead want Pakistani citizenship and constitutional status for their region.
Gilgit-Baltistan has been a member state of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization since 2008.
The territory of present-day Gilgit-Baltistan became a separate administrative unit in 1970 under the name "Northern Areas". It was formed by the amalgamation of the former Gilgit Agency, the Baltistan District of the Ladakh Wazarat and the hill states of Hunza and Nagar. It presently consists of fourteen districts, 73,000 square kilometres (28,000 square miles), and shares borders with Pakistan, China, Afghanistan, and India. In 1993, an attempt was made by the High Court of Azad Jammu and Kashmir to annex Gilgit-Baltistan but was quashed by the Supreme Court of Pakistan after protests by the locals of Gilgit-Baltistan, who feared domination by the Kashmiris.has a population approaching one million and an area of approximately
Government of Pakistan abolished State Subject Rule in Gilgit-Baltistan in 1974, which resulted in demographic changes in the territory.While administratively controlled by Pakistan since the First Kashmir War, Gilgit-Baltistan has never been formally integrated into the Pakistani state and does not participate in Pakistan's constitutional political affairs. On 29 August 2009, the Gilgit-Baltistan Empowerment and Self-Governance Order 2009, was passed by the Pakistani cabinet and later signed by the then President of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari. The order granted self-rule to the people of Gilgit-Baltistan, by creating, among other things, an elected Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly and Gilgit-Baltistan Council. Gilgit-Baltistan thus gained a de facto province-like status without constitutionally becoming part of Pakistan. Currently, Gilgit-Baltistan is neither a province nor a state. It has a semi-provincial status. Officially, the Pakistan government has rejected Gilgit-Baltistani calls for integration with Pakistan on the grounds that it would jeopardise its demands for the whole Kashmir issue to be resolved according to UN resolutions. Some Kashmiri nationalist groups, such as the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front, claim Gilgit-Baltistan as part of a future independent state to match what existed in 1947. India, on the other hand, maintains that Gilgit-Baltistan is a part of the former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir that is "an integral part of the country [India]."
The Gilgit-Baltistan Police (GBP) is responsible for law enforcement in Gilgit-Baltistan. The mission of the force is the prevention and detection of crime, maintenance of law and order and enforcement of the Constitution of Pakistan.
Gilgit-Baltistan is administratively divided into three divisions: Baltistan, Diamer and Gilgit,which, in turn, are divided into fourteen districts. The principal administrative centers are the towns of Gilgit and Skardu.
|Division||District||Area (km²)||Capital||Population (2013)||Divisional Capital|
* Combined population of Skardu, Shigar and Kharmang Districts. Shigar and Kharmang Districts were carved out of Skardu District after 1998. The estimated population of Gilgit-Baltistan was about 1.8 million in 2015 and the overall population growth rate between 1998 and 2011 was 63.1% making it 4.85% annually.
Gilgit-Baltistan borders Pakistan's Khyber Pukhtunkhwa province to the west, a small portion of the Wakhan Corridor of Afghanistan to the north, China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region to the northeast, the Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir to the southeast, and the Pakistani-administered state of Azad Jammu and Kashmir to the south.
Gilgit-Baltistan is home to all five of Pakistan's "eight-thousanders" and to more than fifty peaks above 7,000 metres (23,000 ft). Gilgit and Skardu are the two main hubs for expeditions to those mountains. The region is home to some of the world's highest mountain ranges. The main ranges are the Karakoram and the western Himalayas. The Pamir Mountains are to the north, and the Hindu Kush lies to the west. Amongst the highest mountains are K2 (Mount Godwin-Austen) and Nanga Parbat, the latter being one of the most feared mountains in the world.
Three of the world's longest glaciers outside the polar regions are found in Gilgit-Baltistan: the Biafo Glacier, the Baltoro Glacier, and the Batura Glacier. There are, in addition, several high-altitude lakes in Gilgit-Baltistan:
The Deosai Plains are located above the tree line and constitute the second-highest plateau in the world after Tibet, at 4,115 metres (13,501 ft). The plateau lies east of Astore, south of Skardu and west of Ladakh. The area was declared as a national park in 1993. The Deosai Plains cover an area of almost 5,000 square kilometres (1,900 sq mi). For over half the year (between September and May), Deosai is snow-bound and cut off from rest of Astore and Baltistan in winters. The village of Deosai lies close to Chilum chokki and is connected with the Kargil district of Ladakh through an all-weather road.
There are more than 50,000 pieces of rock art (petroglyphs) and inscriptions all along the Karakoram Highway in Gilgit-Baltistan, concentrated at ten major sites between Hunza and Shatial. The carvings were left by invaders, traders, and pilgrims who passed along the trade route, as well as by locals. The earliest date back to between 5000 and 1000 BCE, showing single animals, triangular men and hunting scenes in which the animals are larger than the hunters. These carvings were pecked into the rock with stone tools and are covered with a thick patina that proves their age.
The ethnologist Karl Jettmar has pieced together the history of the area from inscriptions and recorded his findings in Rock Carvings and Inscriptions in the Northern Areas of Pakistanand the later-released Between Gandhara and the Silk Roads — Rock Carvings Along the Karakoram Highway. Many of these carvings and inscriptions will be inundated and/or destroyed when the planned Basha-Diamir dam is built and the Karakoram Highway is widened.
The climate of Gilgit-Baltistan varies from region to region, surrounding mountain ranges creates sharp variations in weather. The eastern part has the moist zone of the western Himalayas, but going toward Karakoram and Hindu Kush, the climate dries considerably.
There are towns like Gilgit and Chilas that are very hot during the day in summer yet cold at night and valleys like Astore, Khaplu, Yasin, Hunza, and Nagar, where the temperatures are cold even in summer.
The economy of the region is primarily based on a traditional route of trade, the historic Silk Road. The China Trade Organization forum led the people of the area to actively invest and learn modern trade know-how from its Chinese neighbor Xinjiang. Later, the establishment of a chamber of commerce and the Sust dry port (in Gojal Hunza) are milestones. The rest of the economy is shouldered by mainly agriculture and tourism. Agricultural products are wheat, corn (maize), barley, and fruits. Tourism is mostly in trekking and mountaineering, and this industry is growing in importance.
In early September 2009, Pakistan signed an agreement with the People's Republic of China for a major energy project in Gilgit-Baltistan which includes the construction of a 7,000-megawatt dam at Bunji in the Astore District.
Gilgit-Baltistan is home to more than 20 peaks of over 6,100 metres (20,000 ft), including K-2 the second highest mountain on Earth. Other well known peaks include Masherbrum (also known as K1), Broad Peak, Hidden Peak, Gasherbrum II, Gasherbrum IV, and Chogolisa, situated in Khaplu Valley. The following peaks have so far been scaled by various expeditions:
|Name of Peak||Photos||Height||First known ascent||Location|
|1.K-2||(28,250Ft)||31 Jul 1954||Karakoram|
|2. Nanga Parbat||(26,660 Ft)||3 Jul 1953||Himalaya|
|3. Gasherbrum I||(26,360Ft)||7 Jul 1956||Karakoram|
|4. Broad Peak||(26,550Ft)||9 Jun 1957||Karakoram|
|5. Muztagh Tower||(23,800Ft)||6 Aug 1956||Karakoram|
|6. Gasherbrum II||(26,120Ft)||4 Jul 1958||Karakoram|
|7. Hidden Peak||(26,470Ft)||4 Jul 1957||Karakoram|
|8. Khunyang Chhish||(25,761 Ft)||4 July 1971||Karakoram|
|9. Masherbrum||(25,659 Ft)||4 Aug 1960||Karakoram|
|10. Saltoro Kangri||(25,400Ft)||4 June 1962||Karakoram|
|11. Chogolisa||(25,148 Ft)||4 Aug 1963||Karakoram|
Gilgit Baltistan is the capital of tourism in Pakistan. Gilgit Baltistan is home to some of the highest peaks in the world, including K2 the second highest peak in the world. Gilgit Baltistan's landscape includes mountains, lakes, glaciers and valleys. Gilgit Baltistan is not only known for its mountains — it is also visited for its landmarks, culture, history and people.K2 Basecamp, Deosai, Naltar, Fairy Meadows Bagrot Valley and Hushe valley are common places to visit in Gilgit Baltistan.
Before 1978, Gilgit-Baltistan was cut off from the rest of the Pakistan and the world due to the harsh terrain and the lack of accessible roads. All of the roads to the south opened toward the Pakistan-administered state of Azad Kashmir and to the southeast toward the present-day Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir. During the summer, people could walk across the mountain passes to travel to Rawalpindi. The fastest way to travel was by air, but air travel was accessible only to a few privileged local people and to Pakistani military and civilian officials. Then, with the assistance of the Chinese government, Pakistan began construction of the Karakoram Highway (KKH), which was completed in 1978. The journey from Rawalpindi / Islamabad to Gilgit takes approximately 20 to 24 hours.
The Karakoram Highway connects Islamabad to Gilgit and Skardu, which are the two major hubs for mountaineering expeditions in Gilgit-Baltistan. Northern Areas Transport Corporation (NATCO) offers bus and jeep transport service to the two hubs and several other popular destinations, lakes, and glaciers in the area. Landslides on the Karakoram Highway are very common. The Karakoram Highway connects Gilgit to Tashkurgan Town, Kashgar, China via Sust, the customs and health-inspection post on the Gilgit-Baltistan side, and the Khunjerab Pass, the highest paved international border crossing in the world at 4,693 metres (15,397 ft).
In March 2006, the respective governments announced that, commencing on 1 June 2006, a thrice-weekly bus service would begin across the boundary from Gilgit to Kashgar and road-widening work would begin at 600 kilometres (370 mi) of the Karakoram Highway. There would also be one daily bus in each direction between the Sust and Taxkorgan border areas of the two political entities.
Pakistan International Airlines used to fly a Fokker F27 Friendship daily between Gilgit Airport and Benazir Bhutto International Airport. The flying time was approximately 50 minutes, and the flight was one of the most scenic in the world, as its route passed over Nanga Parbat, a mountain whose peak is higher than the aircraft's cruising altitude. However, the Fokker F27 was retired after a crash at Multan in 2006. Currently, flights are being operated by PIA to Gilgit on the brand-new ATR 42–500, which was purchased in 2006. With the new plane, the cancellation of flights is much less frequent. Pakistan International Airlines also offers regular flights of a Boeing 737 between Skardu and Islamabad. All flights are subject to weather clearance; in winter, flights are often delayed by several days.
A railway through the region has been proposed; see Khunjerab Railway for details.
The population of Gilgit Baltistan is 1,492,000 now and it was 873,000 in 1998.Approximately 14% of the population was urban. The estimated population of Gilgit-Baltistan in 2013 was 1.249 million. The population of Gilgit-Baltistan consists of many diverse linguistic, ethnic, and religious sects, due in part to the many isolated valleys separated by some of the world's highest mountains. The ethnic groups include Shins, Yashkuns, Kashmiris, Kashgaris, Pamiris, Pathans, and Kohistanis. A significant number of people from Gilgit-Baltistan are residing in other parts of Pakistan, mainly in Punjab and Karachi. The literacy rate of Gilgit-Baltistan is approximately 72%.
In 2017 census, Gilgit District has the highest population of 330,000 and Hunza District the lowest of 50,000.
Gilgit-Baltistan is a multilingual region where Urdu being a national and official language serves as the lingua franca for inter ethnic communications. English is co-official and also used in education, while Arabic is used for religious purposes. The table below shows a breakup of Gilgit-Baltistan first-language speakers.
|1||Shina||It is a Dardic language spoken by the majority in six tehsil s (Gilgit, Diamir/Chilas, Darel/Tangir, Astore, Puniyal/Gahkuch and Rondu).|
|2||Balti||It is spoken by the majority in five tehsils (Skardu/Shigar, Kharmang, Gultari, Khaplu and Mashabrum). It is from the Tibetan language family and has Urdu borrowings.|
|3||Burushaski||It is spoken by the majority in four tehsils (Nagar 1, Hunza/Aliabad, Nagar II, and Yasin). It is a language isolate that has borrowed considerable Urdu vocabulary.|
|4||Khowar||It is spoken by the majority in two tehsils (Gupis and Ishkomen) but also spoken in Yasin and Puniyal/Gahkuch Tehsils. Like Shina, it is a Dardic language.|
|5||Wakhi||It is spoken by the majority of people in Gojal Tehsil of Hunza. But it is also spoken in Ishkomen and Yasin Tehsils of District Ghizer. It is classified as eastern Iranian/ Pamiri language.|
|Others||Pashto, Kashmiri, Domaaki (spoken by musician clans in the region) and Gojri languages are also spoken by a significant population of the region.|
The population of Gilgit-Baltistan is entirely Muslim and is denominationally the most diverse in the country. The region is also the only Shia-plurality area in an otherwise Sunni-dominant Pakistan.People in the Skardu district are mostly Shia, while Diamir and Astore districts have Sunni majorities. Ghanche has a Noorbakhshi population, and Ghizar has an Ismaili majority. The populations in Gilgit, Hunza and Nagar districts are composed of a mix of all of these sects. According to B. Raman, the Shias and Ismailis constituted about 85% of the population in 1948. The proportion was brought down by General Zia ul-Haq through a conscious policy of demographic change by encouraging the migration of Sunnis from other provinces and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas. The policy is said to have been motivated by a desire to counter the growing sectarian consciousness of the Shias after the Iranian Revolution in 1979.
Gilgit-Baltistan is home to diversified cultures, ethnic groups, languages and backgrounds.Major cultural events include the Shandoor Polo Festival, Babusar Polo Festival and Jashn-e-Baharan or the Harvest Time Festival (Navroz). Traditional dances include: Old Man Dance in which more than one person wears old-style dresses; Cow Boy Dance (Payaloo) in which a person wears old style dress, long leather shoes and holds a stick in hand and the Sword Dance in which the participants show taking one sword in right and shield in left. One to six participants can dance in pairs.
Many types of sports are in currency, throughout the region, but most popular of them is Polo.Almost every bigger valley has a polo ground, polo matches in such grounds attract locals as well as foreigners visitors during summer season. One of such polo tournament is held in Shandur each year and polo teams of Gilgit with Chitral participates. Though very internationally unlikely, but even for some local historians like Hassan Hasrat from Skardu and for some national writers like Ahmed Hasan Dani it was originated in same region. For testimonies, they present the Epic of King Gesar of balti version where king gesar started polo by killing his step son and hit head of cadaver with a stick thus started the game they also held that the very simple rules of local polo game also testifies its primitiveness. The English word Polo has balti origin, that is spoken in same region, dates back to the 19th century which means ball.
Other popular sports are football, cricket, volleyball (mostly play in winters) and other minor local sports. with growing facilities and particular local geography Climbing, trekking and other similar sports are also getting popularity. Samina Baig from Hunza valley is the only Pakistani woman and the third Pakistani to climb Mount Everest and also the youngest Muslim woman to climb Everest, having done so at the age of 21 while Hassan Sadpara from Skardu valley is the first Pakistani to have climbed six eight-thousanders including the world's highest peak Everest (8848m) besides K2 (8611m), Gasherbrum I (8080m), Gasherbrum II (8034m), Nanga Parbat (8126 m), Broad Peak (8051m).
Ladakh is a region administered by India as a union territory, and constituting a part of the larger region of Kashmir, which has been the subject of dispute between India, Pakistan, and China since 1947. It is bordered by China (Tibet) to the east, the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh to the south, Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan to the west, and the southwest corner of Xinjiang across the Karakoram Pass in the far north. It extends from the Siachen Glacier in the Karakoram range to the north to the main Great Himalayas to the south. The eastern end of Ladakh, consisting of the uninhabited Aksai Chin plains, has been under Chinese control since 1962. Until 2019, Ladakh was a region of the state of Jammu and Kashmir. In August 2019, the Parliament of India passed an act by which Ladakh became a union territory on 31 October 2019.
The administrative units of Pakistan consist of four provinces, two autonomous territories and one federal territory. Each province and territory is subdivided into divisions, which are further subdivided into districts, which are further subdivided into tehsils, or taluka, which are further subdivided into union councils.
Baltistan, also known as Baltiyul or Little Tibet, is a mountainous region of Pakistan near the Karakoram mountains just south of K2. Baltistan is bordered by Gilgit to the west, Xinjiang (China) to the north, Ladakh to the southeast, and the Kashmir Valley to the southwest. Its average altitude is over 3,350 metres (10,990 ft).
Gilgit is the capital city of Gilgit-Baltistan, a territory in Pakistan-administered Kashmir. The city is located in a broad valley near the confluence of the Gilgit River and Hunza River. Gilgit is a major tourist destination in Pakistan, and serves as a hub for trekking and mountaineering expeditions in the Karakoram Range.
Skardu is a city in Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan, and serves as the capital of Skardu District. Skardu is located in the 10 kilometres wide by 40 kilometres long Skardu Valley, at the confluence of the Indus and Shigar Rivers at an elevation of nearly 2,500 metres. The city is an important gateway to the eight-thousanders of the nearby Karakoram Mountain range. The town is located on the Indus river, which separates the Karakoram Range from the Himalayas.
The Gilgit Agency was a system of administration established by the British Indian Empire over the subsidiary states of the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir at its northern periphery, mainly with the objective of strengthening these territories against Russian encroachment.
The Trans-Karakoram Tract, also known as Shaksgam or the Shaksgam Tract, is an area of more than 2,700 sq mi (6,993 km2) north of the Karakoram, including the Shaksgam valley and Raskam. The tract is administered by the People's Republic of China as part of its Taxkorgan County in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region, but it was regarded by Pakistan as part of Kashmir until the 1963 Sino-Pakistan Agreement. It is claimed by India as part of the union territory of Ladakh.
Balawaristan (Urdu:بلاورستان) is the historical name of Gilgit-Baltistan that has regained some prevalence in recent years through political movements in Pakistan. The archaic English spelling for the name was Boloristan or Baloristan, and its first known documented usage is in Chinese sources from the 8th century AD. Balawaristan includes Chitral, Gilgit, Skardu, Hunza, Nagar, Ishkoman, Punial and Yasin. In addition, the regions of Baltistan, Ladakh are also considered to be a part of Balawaristan by the nationalist parties of Gilgit.
Kargil is a town in Kargil district and the joint capital of the Indian administered Province of Ladakh. Kargil is the second largest town in Ladakh after Leh. It is located 60 km and 204 km from Drass and Srinagar to the west respectively, 234 km from Leh to the east, 240 km from Padum to the southeast and 1,047 km from Delhi to the south. Kargil was the location of centre at the time of Ladakh wazarat till 1979 which consists of 3 prominent places that are Skardu, Kargil and Leh.
Bunji (Urdu:بنجی) is a small town in Astore District, Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan. it is historically important being in the end of Dogra Rule before 1948 and on the brim of Ancient Yagistan. It was economically hub for Barter trade between Yagistan and Dogras. The distance from Bunji to Gilgit is about 50 kilometres (31 mi) on the Karakoram Highway. Bunji, located at the junction of Three Great Mountain Ranges, has its historical importance. The Village has its prominent traces in the socio-political and economical situations of the region in History. River Indus covers the village from North to west while from eastern side it is connected with river Astore. Baltistan region joins its territory from the North-East.
Gilgit-Baltistan has been under Pakistan administration since 1947 and was given self-governing status on August 29, 2009. Gilgit-Baltistan comprises 10 districts within three divisions. The four districts of Skardu Kharmang Shigar and Ghanche are in the Baltistan Division, four districts of Gilgit Ghizer Hunza and Nagar districts which were carved out of Gilgit District are in the Gilgit Division and the third division is Diamir, comprising Chilas and Astore. The main political centres are the towns of Gilgit and Skardu.
Jammu and Kashmir, also known as Kashmir and Jammu, was a princely state during the British East India Company rule as well as the British Raj in India from 1846 to 1947. The princely state was created after the First Anglo-Sikh War, when the East India Company, which had annexed the Kashmir Valley, Jammu, Ladakh, and Gilgit-Baltistan from the Sikhs as war indemnity, then sold the region to the Raja of Jammu, Gulab Singh, for rupees 75 lakh. (75,00,000)
The Gilgit Scouts was a paramilitary force of the Gilgit Agency in the northern Jammu and Kashmir. They were raised from the local populations of the Gilgit Agency in 1913, and commanded by British officers. In November 1947, under the command of Major W. A. Brown, they overthrew the Governor of the Jammu and Kashmir state, and declared accession to Pakistan. Colonel Aslam Khan took over the command of the force on behalf of the Government of Azad Kashmir and conquered Skardu, leading to the eventual formation of Gilgit-Baltistan which continues to be under Pakistani control. The force was continued till 1975 when it was integrated into the Northern Light Infantry of the Pakistan Army.
Gilgit Baltistan is an administrative territory of Pakistan, that borders the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to the west, Azad Kashmir to the southwest, Wakhan Corridor of Afghanistan to the northwest, the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China to the north, and the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir to the south and southeast.
The history of Azad Kashmir, a part of the Kashmir region administered by Pakistan, is related to the history of the Kashmir region during the Dogra rule. Azad Kashmir borders the Pakistani provinces of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to the south and west respectively, Gilgit–Baltistan to the north, and the Indian union territory of Jammu and Kashmir to the east.
Chorbat Valley is a valley in Khaplu tehsil, Ghanche District of Gilgit–Baltistan the region of Pakistan and in south east of Nubra valley, Ladakh, India. It stretches from the northeastern half of Shyouk valley from Abandon village of Pakistani administrated ghanche district to Bogdang village of Indian administrated Nubra valley. Churbat on many occasion is incorporated with Khaplu valley, although virtually it also took it own distinction, Even sometimes it is consider differently. It is the last northeastern valley from where the geography of Baltistan ends, while Ladakh begins.
Tourism in Gilgit-Baltistan, an administrative unit of Pakistan, focuses on the mountains. Gilgit-Baltistan borders Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province to the west, a small portion of the Wakhan Corridor of Afghanistan to the north, Xinjiang, China to the northeast, the Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir to the southeast, and the Pakistani-administered state of Azad Kashmir to the south.
Brigadier Muhammad Aslam Khan (1918–1994) was a Pakistani military officer, who led the Gilgit Scouts and Azad rebels in the First Kashmir War. Using the nom de guerre of 'Colonel Pasha', he organised a force of 1200 rebels and local recruits in Gilgit, and led an attack on the Indian Army from the north, conquering Skardu and Kargil and advancing within 30 miles of Leh. Even though the Indian Army eventually repulsed the attack beyond Kargil, Skardu remained part of the rebel territory, coming under Pakistani control at the end of the war.
Jammu and Kashmir is a region administered by India as a union territory, and constituting the southern portion of the larger Kashmir region, which has been the subject of a dispute between India and Pakistan since 1947, and between India and China since 1962. The region of Jammu and Kashmir is separated by the Line of Control from the Pakistani-administered territories of Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan in the west and north respectively. It lies to the north of the Indian states of Himachal Pradesh and Punjab and to the west of Ladakh, which is also subject to the dispute as a part of Kashmir, and administered by India as a union territory.
Instead of the chief minister, the order rests all administrative, political and judicial authority with the governor, which makes him the supreme authority and portrays the assembly as a toothless tiger. At best, the order legitimises Pakistan's occupation and claims political rights for the locals without changing the power equation.
But it falls short of the main demand of the people of Gilgit- Baltistan for a constitutional status to the region as a fifth province and for Pakistani citizenship to its people.
Many of the 1.5 million people of Gilgit-Baltistan oppose integration into Kashmir and want their area to be merged into Pakistan and declared a separate province.
Nearly 70 years ago, the people of the Gilgit Wazarat revolted and joined Pakistan of their own free will, as did those belonging to the territories of Chilas, Koh Ghizr, Ishkoman, Yasin and Punial; the princely states of Hunza and Nagar also acceded to Pakistan. Hence, the time has come to acknowledge and respect their choice of being full-fledged citizens of Pakistan.
MUZAFFARABAD: Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) Prime Minister Chaudhry Abdul Majeed warned the federal government on Wednesday against any attempt to convert Gilgit-Baltistan into a province of Pakistan.
... he agreed with Grierson in seeing Rajasthani influence on Pahari and 'Dardic' influence on (or under) the whole Northwestern group + Pahari [...] Sindhi and including 'Lahnda', Dardic, Romany and West Pahari, there has been a tendency to transfer of 'r' from medial clusters to a position after the initial consonant ...
Based on historical sub-grouping approximations and geographical distribution, Bashir (2003) provides six sub-groups of the Dardic languages ...
... drakhat 'tree' ...
polo was originated in baltistan.