Fall In Love With The Natural Beauty of Gilgit-Baltistan

Hunza Valley / Photo: Fida Karim 

Due to its spectacular beauty and unique culture, Gilgit Baltistan is the one of best place to visit in Pakistan.  It has a pure natural beauty which attracts every person towards it. The gigantic mountains and streams and rivers of fresh water always welcomed national and international tourists. Gilgit Baltistan has five mountains that are above 8000 meters that are K2, Nanga Parbat (9th largest), Gasherbrum I (11th highest), Broadpeak (12 highest), Ghesherbrum II (13 highest) respectively. It has also the longest glaciers outside the polar region notably Biafo Glacier, Baltoro Glacier and Batura Glacier. Travelling the Karakuram Highway (KKH) - the 8th wonder of the world - makes this journey more amazing.  Whoever visited Gilgit Baltistan, he/she fell in love with the natural beauty of the Valley.  
Sikander Ayoub with his friends at Naltar Ski Resort, Gilgit

Gilgit Baltistan is located in the north of Pakistan, its economy mainly dependents on the tourism industry. Unluckily this industry was badly affected after 9/11 and subsequent incidents of terrorist attacks and deteriorating law and order condition in Pakistan. But after the startup of Zarb e Azb Operation in Waziristan and Khyber Agency, the security of the country becomes immensely improved; thus positively affected the overall tourism industry, economy and security condition of Pakistan.  This operation recovered the image of Pakistan nationally and internationally.
this operation  also affected positively the picturesque Gilgit Baltistan. The Increase in the number of National and International Tourists on KKH to reach Gilgit Baltistan is the proof of the betterment of security of the country. The peaceful environment of country encouraged all and sundry to visit GB and explore it’s untapped natural beauty. According to a recent report of PTDC and local media reports, more than 1 million tourists visited Gilgit Baltistan from last year to explore the unnoticed beauty of the valley. This ratio of national and international tourists in the region is highest in this year in the tourism history of Gilgit Baltistan. The industry is blooming and flourishing after the betterment of National security. 
The historic Altit Fort and Baltit Fort situated in Karimabad Hunza

Gilgit Baltistan has 6 districts in which Hunza Valley is the most scenic town. It takes 2 or 3 hours to reach Hunza from the Gilgit city. The picnic schedules of tourists become incomplete unless they visit Hunza Valley. The 900 and 500 year old Baltit Fort and Altit Fort, Duikar meadow, Rakaposhi view, Atabad Lake, Kunjarab Top and beautiful and kind hearted people are the main reason of tourist’s attraction in the valley. The cold streams of glacier water and breeze of fresh air compel the visitors to fall in love with the Valley. Everyone who visited Hunza Valley is wishing to spend summers in Hunza Valley every now and then in their coming life.
The stunning glaciers of GB are the key attractions of expedition teams 

During the season, I saw the flood of National and international tourists in Hunza. The Unexpected number of tourists in Hunza and surrounding areas made some critical issues for the locals and traffic police. High number of tourist vehicles in Hunza resulted in road jams and lack of availability of hotel rooms made the situation worse. Taking the benefit of this issue, many people in Hunza convert this problem to a source of income; they provided their empty houses to the tourists. This seems great and pleasant situation to both tourists and locals of the valley.
Annual ski championship  is the hallmark of picturisque Naltar Valley

Despite of all of this I see the usual mismanagement of Government. Improper planning of local government during the days of Ramadan made difficulties for Locals and tourists in the season. One of my friend said that,” I visited heaven and I see that heaven hasn’t light” this is an alarming situation for the people and tourism industry in GB. The government should take long standing steps to address energy crisis in GB in general and picturesque Hunza Valley in particular. It also needed to devise a proper mechanism to collect and dump garbage thrown by tourist and locals alike.  Similarly, concern Government bodies are lethargic in promoting natural beauty of GB. Therefore, it is high time for the government to take tangible steps to promote tourism in Gilgit Baltistan. Due to lack of Advertisement and promotion of Gilgit Baltistan many tourists didn’t visited beautiful places like Naltar, Phandar and Rama and Astore Valley. These valleys are amazingly beautiful. The local government can collect a lot of income from tourism industry by promoting its natural beauty internationally. The local government will not be dependent on federal government for the funds if it takes serious and long lasting steps for the betterment of Tourism. This will generate much needed employment opportunities in GB where a large number of people and families’ livelihood is directly or indirectly associated with tourism industry. 

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