Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Pakistan snow leopard to have new home

By M Ilyas Khan
BBC News, Islamabad

The snow leopard has spent two years in a cage by the side of a road

Snow leopard
The snow leopard has spent two years in a cage by the side of a road
A snow leopard rescued by locals in northern Pakistan two years ago will be moved to a specially designed wildlife care facility next June, officials say.


For the past two years it has been living in a cage by the side of a road.

The local government ordered the animal to be moved after experts concluded it was not fit to be released in the wild.

Snow leopards are native to mountain regions of central and South Asia, but fewer than 6,000 are thought to be left in the wild.

Earlier this year, the government turned down a request by a Swedish zoo to adopt the snow leopard, saying it wanted to keep it to raise awareness about wildlife in Pakistan.

The regional government of Gilgit-Baltistan, a semi-autonomous province in Pakistan's extreme north, approved a site plan for the wildlife facility in November, and construction will begin in January.

The leopard and her keeper
The leopard was a 2kg cub when it was found
The facility is being funded by the United States embassy in Pakistan.


The leopard was a 2kg cub when it was found


'Yak meat'

The snow leopard, a female, was rescued on 31 December 2012 from a partly frozen river stream in the Wadkhun area of Sost, the last town on the Pakistan-China border in the Karakoram mountain range.

Pervez Iqbal, a game watcher from the Department of Parks and Wildlife who rescued the cub, told the BBC it weighed just over 4kg at the time.

It now weighs between 28kg and 30kg - the standard weight of an adolescent female.

"Initially we fed her milk with a feeder, and then switched to chicken, but it now consumes 3kg of yak meat in a day," Mr Iqbal said.

Local charity the Snow Leopard Foundation (SLF) is designing the new enclosure in partnership with international donors.

It is being built over 11,000 square feet in the mountainous Naltar region of Gilgit-Baltistan.

"We want to build a large enclosure which will be designed to keep human intervention at a minimum and allow the snow leopard to live in stress-free conditions," said Dr Ali Nawaz, head of the SLF.

Dr Nawaz said the animal had been in contact with humans for too long for it to be released into the wild.

"It was separated from her mother at an age when it learns to hunt and undergoes muscular build-up that helps it survive in the wild later," he said.

Another snow leopard cub, a male nicknamed Leo, was rescued by a farmer in the same region in 2006.

It was later donated by the Pakistani government to the Bronx Zoo in New York.
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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Hunza: another view


With reportedly the highest GDP per capita and a literacy rate of above 80pc, the Hunza valley, originally famous for its natural beauty and high life expectancy rates, has been dubbed as a successful model of development within Pakistan and abroad.

The models of poverty alleviation pursued by a number of non-profits were soon replicated in all Pakistani provinces and even in neighbouring countries.

Whether Hunza still remains a successful model of development in the developing world is debatable. Much has changed in the economics of poverty and development, and the combination of high income and high literacy rate might not have translated to societal improvement.

Contemporary economics of human development puts more weight on the quality of living standards, access to health and education, freedom of choice, ability to participate in local decision-making etc. Deprivation in these areas may lead to multidimensional poverty. Based on Mahbabul Haq’s human development foundations, Nobel laureate Amartya Sen introduced this path-breaking concept of multidimensional poverty.

This seems applicable to Hunza where conventional economics failed to capture the multidimensional aspects of well-being. Take health. Despite being the richest region in terms of per capita income, almost all Hunza villages are without basic health facilities. Hospitals in Aliabad and Karimabad, the two major towns, are hardly equipped to handle complicated pregnancies, major accidents or serious illnesses.

Likewise, Gojal, the upper part of Hunza, which remains cut off from the rest of the region due to the formation of the Attabad lake, is reported to have not even a single medical practitioner. Picture a situation where you get sick and are stuck in Gojal because of a frozen lake; even though you have enough money to pay the doctor, no medical service is available.

Ironically, life expectancy, a major development indicator in yesteryear Hunza, has plummeted, thanks to increasing diseases like cancer and other illnesses. The alkaline water, once the secret of longevity in Hunza, now seems to be the reason for disease, along with other factors. There have been reports that tap water is contaminated in the few villages lucky enough to have a drinking water supply.

Likewise, many primary school-going children in remote villages within Hunza have no access to quality education; their parents of course can sell their potatoes and cherries to pay for their children’s tuition fee but in some cases there’s no school within five kilometres of their residence. How parents manage to send their offspring to school is another story.

The list of dirty laundry to be aired is too long. It ranges from the lack of proper sanitation facilities and of supply systems for drinking water to mounting income disparity, the absence of electricity and unprecedented corruption that has been inflicted on Hunza by imported development models. The failure of high per capita income and a high literacy rate to manifest themselves in societal development arises for two reasons: firstly, while the Western world was incorporating this aspect in its development models and public policies, the models that were executed here were more skewed corporate models that accentuated individualism rather than collectivism.

While Professor Elinor Ostrom was winning the Nobel Prize for encapsulating friendship, fairness, trust, and reciprocity as reasons for the enduring success of common resource pools in rural societies, the latter were relying on outdated Western development models of competition that neglected overall societal improvement.

Community decision-making is an integral part of politics says renowned political scientist Deborah Stone. Contrary to that, the parochial political culture in Hunza is an outcome of the desire of some to emerge as rapid game-changers rather than to facilitate the change stemming from within the society itself.

Secondly, the government has given short shrift to the entire development episode in Hunza, and shied away from its responsibility of providing basic civic amenities. More astonishing is the apathetic behaviour of the masses towards societal development as no noticeable voice has been raised for civic rights in the last many decades.

The bottom line is that, the flawed notion of development in Hunza undertaken by non-profits eventually gained currency among the masses and was accepted and pushed by governments to save their own funds.

The masses were thus mesmerised by an illusionary development metaphor and many believe they were in fact ‘developed’. For that reason, they might not demand their civic rights that are crucial to any society.

Until the public remains apathetic, neither the government nor the non-profits can have any reason to work for the genuine societal development of Hunza. ‘Development’ in Hunza, however, remains a success story for classical economists — the adherents of capitalism.

The writer is pursuing a doctoral degree on Gilgit-Baltistan.
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Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Local sightseers inject new life into Hunza valley

Tourists visit the Baltit fort in Karimabad, a town of the northern Hunza valley.
After a slump in foreign visitors triggered by a deadly attack last year, a new wave of local sightseers has saved tourism in Pakistan’s idyllic northern Hunza valley — but not everyone is happy.

Though there are no official figures, hotel owners say large numbers of domestic tourists are visiting in unprecedented numbers, heading north to escape the sizzling heat of summer that lasts well into October.

In the valley’s main town of Karimabad, they snap pictures at the ancient Baltit Fort, a resplendent 1st century redoubt from where they can take in breathtaking views of lush forests and snow-capped peaks that have attracted the best climbers from around the world.

International tourism once helped shape the Gilgit-Baltistan region but it has slowed to a trickle after the killing of 10 foreign climbers at the base camp of Nanga Parbat mountain last year ended a post 9/11 revival.

In their place have come visitors from eastern Punjab, and the city of Karachi.

Though their business is both welcome and vital, cultural differences also highlight the growing gap between the religiously conservative south and traditionally secular north,
according to observers.

Some complain the local guests can be disrespectful toward the liberal traditions that have long set the area apart from the rest of the country, and are prone to spoiling the region’s natural beauty by
littering.

Others say they don’t spend as much as foreign tourists.

“This year there are no foreigners, only Pakistanis and the Pakistanis don’t buy things from here as they don’t need it,” said Saddar Karim, who owns a forlorn-looking trekking shop, adding Pakistanis usually aren’t interested in climbing.

Bewitched by the region’s splendour, as well as the famed hospitality of its mainly Ismaili Muslim inhabitants, foreign visitors in the late 20th century helped create around a dozen schools and have invested heavily in hundreds of others that dot the villages of the countryside.

One such is Hasegawa Memorial Public School established in 1995 to commemorate renowned Japanese mountaineer Tuseno Hasegawa who is buried in the lap of the mountain, as per his will.

Schools like Hasegawa introduced English as the medium of instruction and played a major role in boosting the region, say locals.

“International tourism has made a tremendous contribution in the socio-economic uplift of Hunza and we should be thankful for that,” said Imtiaz Ali, owner of Hunza Holidays, a leading tour operator.

International tourism took a major hit after Pakistan joined hands with the US in its war against terror after 9/11.

Sherbaz Kaleem, manager of the ancient Baltit Fort, said that during peak season before 2001, “we used to receive almost 200 - 300 international community tourists” daily.

The numbers were reduced to a trickle, but began to pick up once again later that decade.

The slow recovery came to a screeching halt last June, when gunmen shot dead 10 foreign tourists at the base camp of the Nanga Parbat — giving a new meaning to its nickname among climbers “Killer Mountain”.

It was the deadliest assault on foreigners in the country for a decade.

Kaleem said many people cancelled visits to Hunza while those at Baltit fort came numbered two to three every day. “Even then they were afraid and many people told them that they should go back.”

Ali of Hunza Holidays said the industry was now re-orienting itself to focus on the local
market.

“I think it’s time now that we should focus on domestic tourism as unlike international tourism it is more viable and is not very much affected by the
political and security situation.”

It can help to create bridges of understanding between the various cultures of Pakistan,” he added.

Others are less enamoured of their new guests.

“The domestic tourists spread a lot of pollution in the area, they throw the trash everywhere,” grumbled Ahmed Ali Khan, a guesthouse owner.

Residents also complained that their cultural values, including their traditionally open and tolerant Ismaili Islam, were
under siege.

Aziz Ali Dad, a social commentator, said: “The difference between domestic and international tourists is that the international tourists are more conscious about the local values and respect them - which is not the case with the domestic tourists.”
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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Fashion Show: Safar-e-Balaad (The Creative Journey), 2014.



STEP we all know today has come a long way in the last one decade. A long journey in achievements though not so long in time and years. Started as an NGO SAEL movement (Synergist for Advancement in Educational Leadership) .STEP started its journey in 2003 with a small team but a big vision. Today, STEP is the parent body for multiple projects; the NGO SAEL, the Institute of Art, Design & Management - IADM, Mélange the beauty lounge & institute, Business and Management, English Language Centre, Mary Popins apparel, STEPWise consultancy, and Training & Development. Today, ninety above 90 % of our graduates are working progressively in the industry or have become successful entrepreneurs.

Institute of art design and Management rigorously promotes creative and innovative collection themes based on individual design ideas and synergized with local/regional concepts. Therefore last year show was “Ralli” conceived from culture of Sindh and this year, the thematic inspiration is taken from Gilgit Baltistan region, titled as “Safar-e-Balaad” (The Creative Journey).The annual Fashion Show “Safar-e-Balaad” (The Creative Journey) is arranged to exhibit the final collection  of  our  one  year  BTEC  Level  3 Diploma  students  of  Fashion  &  Clothing. These students hail from Bhawalpur, bhawalnagar, Vehari, Khanewal, Lodhra, Muzafargarh,Bhorewala, Rahimyar khan And Chistian. The show promises to help our students in communicating their creative conceptions with fashion industry and hence giving them a push in their career.








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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Hunza is situated at the point where Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tajikistan and China meet. It is over 2500 m above sea level and is surrounded by seven-thousand-meter-high mountains. But at this entirely mountainous elevation there are grown vegetables, various fruits and grains such as potatoes, beans, wheat, barley, watermelon, grape, cherry, apple, pear, peach and apricot.

The Inhabitants are great farmers and they have created their own system of irrigation and drainage; the drainage channels are called KULLS. The high snowcapped mountain, which is called RAKAPOSHI (ra kah posht – Albanian for fell downwards), supplies the valley with drinking water. Hunza people, who live in complete harmony and enjoy good health without the diseases of the time, are known in the world for their longevity.

They live up to approximately 100-140. Hunza mothers breastfeed their sons up to 3 years, whereas their daughters only up to 2 years. There is no separation of married couples in Hunza. They call themselves Hunza (=small nose in Albanian) people or Hunzakurt because of the Hunza valley’s shape like a nose. They speak BURRUSHASKI (burrërrishtja- Albanian for manliness language) which is an unwritten language.

Men wear SHALVARE, while women call their shirt KAMISHA (Albanian for Shirt). Their traditional dances are accompanied by drums, flutes or reed-pipes as they dance hand in hand forming a circle. On festive occasions men wear a woolen cape called Çuka. The wine (alcoholic beverages) festival is in October. Women do not cover their face or head with veils.

The most important holiday is the Solar New Year which is called NA UROSH (Albanian for Wish Us). All the year’s weddings are organized on a single day in December. Hunza people tell from one generation to another their story, how they have remained in the Hunza valley since 3rd century B.C., and that they have descended from the time of Alexander the Great.

Aristidh Kola, arvanitas historian writes in his book “Arvanites”: . . . Alexander the Great, Illyrian by his mother had expanded his army by choosing Illyrian soldiers. But the period after Cleitus was murdered by Alexander the Great constitutes a very significant moment because about 6 thousand Illyrian soldiers left the latter and stayed apart in Braktane until they settled in today’s Kafirstan. . .So we are referring to a large number of Illyrians (about 50 thousand of them) who have remained there since the time of Alexander the Great, since the invasion of Darius’s Kingdom of Persia. The region occupied by them was called Kafirstan (land of the infidels) because they did not accept Islamization. Hunzakuts lived for thousands of years as pagans until the early nineteenth century when Amir Abdur Rahman Khan converted them to Islam. (1895-1896).

After Emir of Kabul‘s conquest, the region was renamed Nuristan (Land of Light). Kafirstan had often been object of invasion before Emir and certainly their identity degraded, their “priests” were killed, religious centers were burned, young boys were forcefully recruited into the military forces, and young girls into Khans’ harems.

What is important is that Hunsakuts, just like our Illyrian ancestors, still drink wine mixed with water. They are tall, with a light skin and red cheek bones. Most of them have blue, green or gray eyes and blond hair, which distinguishes them from the Afghans, Pakistanis and Tajikistanis. Many of them are also red-haired.

High up in the mountains lives a peculiar tribe, the Kalash. The Kalash people are the last surviving animist in Central Asia. As a small group of 5 thousand persons, they have a slightly different history from the other Hunzakuts. Over the centuries Kafiristan was divided into two zones- the zone of the Black Kafirs who are the present day Kalasha people and the zone of Red Kafirs whose descendants still live in Nuristan. The latter subdued to Emir of Kabul’s jihad.

Black Kafirs still cling to Animism, the belief that all things have a soul even wood. For thousands of years Kalash people have survived and preserved their unique culture and their social and linguistic identity, but the new century has faced them with two great challenges: religious fundamentalism and climate changes.

fahri 5Studying Hunza and Hunzakuts is of great importance to Albanian culture, because they have lived for thousands of years apart from the rest of the world which has helped the preservation of Illyrian-Albanian customs and linguistic features.

It is interesting how our neighbors, although uninvited, have the courage to dance in our wedding. . . In fact Greeks for years have sent teachers, open schools and convinced the world of the Hunzapeople’s Greek origin, whereas Slavic-Macedonians have been sending Slavic linguists in Kalash since 1996. Their purpose is to find linguistic continuity between the Slavic-Macedonian language and the burrerrisht.

But the most ironic event took place in 2008 when the FYROM’s Prime Ministers Gruevski invited for a visit the Hunza Prince Ali Khan and Princess Gacanfer Roni Atika, as descendants of Alexander the Great. All of this was supposed to show the Slavic-Macedonian continuity with Hunza people (! ). . . . . . . On the other hand, Albanians have covered their wedding with a veil of oblivion and disregard.

Translated and edited by Margarita Paci
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French perspective: Noor shines at French film festival

The film is shot in Hunza Valley, Shandur Pass, along Karakoram Highway, Lahore and Rawalpindi. PHOTO: PUBLICITY

Art imitates life in the case of ‘Noor’ — an independent feature film based on the life of a transgender by the same name. Fictionalised in parts, the film provides a rare insight into the life of the ambitious twenty-something who refuses to dub down to a tabooed existence and believes in realising his dream of companionship against all odds.
The film was screened at a two-day film festival ‘A French Filmmakers Perspective’ at the French embassy Friday evening. The festival introduces the new generation of French directors’ featured films inspired by social aspects of South Asia.
Brainchild of French-Turkish directorial duo, Guillauhme Giovanetti and Cagla Zencirci, the film follows Noor on a quest to be accepted and loved as a man. He no longer wants to be associated with the transgender community who he has lived with since he was a child and longs for a lasting romantic relationship with a woman who will accept him as he is.
Doing a man’s job in a truck decoration centre, he has made up his mind to search for that woman who will change his life forever. Riding a stolen truck, he travels uphill to a far flung lake which is fabled to have fairies that make wishes come true. With a burning desire to realise this dream, he drives over the rugged terrain through rain and shine, to meet Uzma who is reeling from the loss of her estranged husband.
United in their misery, they are an unlikely duo that makes perfect sense on the screen. Uzma’s delicate kathak moves and her husky by gentle voice is endearing, complementing the masculine persona of Noor.  Sitting by the lakeside overlooking snow-capped mountains, they epitomise new beginnings in a picturesque setting. Shot in breathtaking locations such as Hunza valley, Shandur Pass and along the Karakoram Highway, the film also integrates culturally-vibrant scenes from Lahore and Rawalpindi.
The widescreen, panoramic photography is surreal and comes alive with the powerful lighting and rich colours of traditional art and natural landscape. Like Noor, other intermittent characters such the dhol walla at a shrine and an old hospitable woman in a village up-north, are playing their own roles except for a drunk rapist who Noor escapes from in his truck.
Speaking about the filmmaking process ahead of the screening, the filmmakers said they had scouted people all over the country before they met Noor, who inspired them and agreed to play his part in the film. The duo who has been visiting the country for about a decade, took seven years to make the film. They said that their experience in the country was in stark contrast to the reasons that the country makes headlines for, adding that they were pleasantly surprised to meet the locals who they could relate with.
Emulating a fairy tale, the film also has a documentary feel and comes with its own share of loopholes. For example, how Noor conveniently traverses the 4,000 feet-high-peak to search for love and is not stopped or checked anywhere along the way. Also how Uzma, who is first shown as a runaway trekker, changes into pristine white costume and ghungroos to dance by the lakeside.
But all in all, it is a poignant tale of the perpetual search for one’s identity, living with grace and taking in stride the challenges that crop up along the way. However, for a subject so serious, the film is not overtly intense and comes with a light dash of humour.
Alia Zafar, an audience member, commented that the film was very touching and realistic. “Noor was a natural actor, he was so effortless and convincing,” she said.
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Friday, November 21, 2014

High in Hunza mountains, women break taboos

HUNZA - A group of young girls sit on a carpeted floor listening as their teacher writes on a whiteboard, preparing his students for the rigours of climbing some of the world’s highest peaks.
This is Shimshal Mountaineering School, tucked away in a remote village in the breathtaking mountains of country’s far north, close to the border with China.
While most of Pakistan’s overwhelmingly patriarchal society largely relegates women to domestic roles, in the northern Hunza Valley, where most people follow the moderate Ismaili sect of Islam, a more liberal attitude has long prevailed.
Now the women of the region are breaking more taboos and training for jobs traditionally done by men, including as carpenters and climbing guides on the Himalayan peaks.
“You have to be careful, check your equipment and the rope, any slight damage can result in death,” Niamat Karim, the climbing instructor warns the students. Karim is giving last-minute advice to the eight young women who are about to embark on a practical demonstrations of climbing class.
They are the first batch of women to train as high altitude guides at the Shimshal Mountaineering School, set up in 2009 with support of Italian climber Simone Moro. The women have spent the last four years learning ice and rock climbing techniques, rescue skills and tourism management.
At 10,000 feet above sea level, Shimshal is the highest settlement in the Hunza Valley, connected to the rest of the world by a rough jeep-only road just 11 years ago.
The narrow, unpaved road twists through high mountains, over wooden bridges and dangerous turns with the constant risk of landslides to reach the small village of 250 households.
There is no running water and electricity is available only through solar panels the locals buy from China, but despite the isolation, the literacy rate in the village is 98 percent - around twice the Pakistani national average.
It has produced some world famous climbers including Samina Baig, the first Pakistani woman to scale Mount Everest.
The people of Shimshal depend on tourism for their income and the village has produced an average of one mountaineer in every household.
The eight women training as guides have scaled four local peaks, including Minglik Sar and Julio Sar, both over 6,000 metres.
For aspiring mountaineer Takht Bika, 23, the school is a “dream come true”.
“My uncle and brother are mountaineers and I always used to wait for their return whenever they went for a summit,” Bika told AFP.
“I used to play with their climbing gear, they were my childhood toys - I never had a doll.” For Duor Begum, mountaineering is a family tradition - and a way of honouring her husband, killed while climbing in the Hunza Valley.
“I have two kids to look after and I don’t have a proper means of income,” she said.
Begum joined the mountaineering school with the aim of continuing the legacy of her late husband and to make a living.
“I am taking all the risks for the future of my children, to give them good education so that they can have a better future”, she said. But while the women are challenging tradition by training as guides, there is still a long way to go to change attitudes, and so far Begum has not been able to turn professional.
“I know it’s difficult and it will take a long time to make it a profession for females but my kids are my hope”, she said.
Lower down in the valley, away from the snowy peaks, Bibi Gulshan, another mother-of-two whose late husband died while fighting in the army has a similar tale of battling to change minds.
She trained as a carpenter under the Women Social Enterprise (WSE), a project set up in the area by the Aga Khan Development Network to provide income opportunities for poor families and advocate women’s empowerment at the same time. Set up in 2003, the WSE now employs over 110 women, between 19 and 35 years of age.
“I want to give the best education to my kids so that they don’t feel the absence of their father,” Gulshan told AFP.
“I started my job just 10 days after my husband was martyred, my friends mocked me saying instead of mourning my husband I had started the job of a man but I had no choice - I had to support my kids.” With the 8,000 rupees a month she earns in the carpentry workshop, Gulshan pays for her children to go through school, and she has also used her skills to build and furnish a new house for her family.
As well as giving poor and marginalised women a chance to earn a living, the WSE project, funded by the Norwegian embassy, also aims to modernise local skills.
Project head Safiullah Baig said traditionally, male carpenters worked to a mental plan of houses they were building - a somewhat unscientific approach.
“These girls are using scientific knowledge at every step right from mapping and design and their work is more feasible and sustainable,” Baig said.
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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

You wanna eat chocolate? 

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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Faces of karimabad Hunza
I have a small business since 15 years. Before 9/11 there was enough profit in handicrafts and jewelry . Now Its too hard make profit from my business. 

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Photo by @paleyphoto (Matthieu Paley). Loving the mood of this place. After breakfast of chai and chapati, a mother looking over her young son, in the old fortified village of Altit, #Hunza region, #Pakistan. Part 4 of my @natgeo story on the Evolution of diet - how we are what we ate - coming out soon. #latergram #evolutionofdiet #Karakoram @thephotosociety @natgeocreative
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Shimshal شمشال (in Urdu) is a village located in Gojal, Hunza–Nagar District, in the Pakistan-administered Gilgit–Baltistan formerly known as Northern Areas of Pakistan. It lies at an altitude of 3,100 m above sea level, and is the highest settlement in Hunza Valley of Pakistan. It is the bordering village that connects Gilgit-Baltistan province of Pakistan with China. The total area of Shimshal is 3,800 km2 and there are around two thousand inhabitants with a total of two hundred and forty households. Shimshal is made up of four major hamlets; Farmanabad, Aminabad, Center Shimshal and Khizarabad. Farmanabad is a new settlement that comes first on reaching Shimshal. Aminabad is announced by vast fields of stones hemmed in by dry stone walls, and fortress-like houses of stone and mud. As you approach Shimshal look for a glimpse of Odver Sar (6,303m) also known as Shimshal Whitehorn. Shimshal has hydroelectricity from Odver stream for five months (June–October) of the year (when the water isn't frozen). Non availability of electricity for seven months is a big problem of the local community because during this period they have to rely on kerosene oil, firewood, solar plates and compressed natural gas in cylinders as an alternative .
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Saturday, March 15, 2014

story of Attabad lake

A natural disaster occurs when an intense geological, meteorological, or hydrological or any other event exceeds the aptitude of a society to handle the issue. This study aims to determine, how the accidental formation of Attabad Lake affects the social and economic conditions of district Hunza. A set of 80 respondents were selected from the Lower, central and upper Hunza through random sampling techniques. The study shows that a number of problems are caused by the Attabad Lake, few of the most important problems includes “financial crisis, lack of transportation facilities, lack of infrastructures and mental sickness. Results also reveal the high uncertainty about their future, because the accidental creation of Attabad Lake has affected their income generation sources which includes agriculture sector, livestock due to the destruction of Karakorum Highway (KKH).

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Friday, March 14, 2014


Wandering the cobbled streets of Karimabad I came across a number of woodwork shops selling beautiful hand carved spoons, forks, knives and bowls. One of the artisans who has opened a small shop is a gentlemen called Shafqat Karim.

I sat in his workshop chatting to him about this age old craft that was dying out in the Hunza valley until a handful of artisans started some 10 years ago reviving the craft.

Shafqat gave up being a policemen to follow his passion for wood work and carving – a totally self taught artisan who loves sitting in his workshop experimenting with different local woods from the Hunza valley such as walnut, almond, apricot, cherry and pear.

He spends a lot of the autumn months travelling through the Upper Hunza valleys of Shimshal, Nagar and Gojal looking for old trees that have fallen down during the winter months. Never in his wildest dreams would he cut down an old tree – Shafqat is not only a budding artist but also a serious conservationist.

When you next visit Hunza support Shafqat and the other Hunza artisans who are passionate about reviving what was a dying art. I went home one happy customer – salad servers made from apricot wood, bowls made from cherry wood and wonderful serving spoons made from walnut wood
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Today is micro fashion

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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Original Hunza People.

The story of Hunza is thought to have begun with Alexander III or Alexander the Great (July 356 BC to June 10, 323 BC), son of King Philip of Macedon (Ancient Macedonia west of Greece). Alexander was a brilliant warrior, more capable than his father. After his father's murder, Alexander set out toward the east to conquer neighboring kingdoms. He conquered Greece in short fashion and continued toward Persia where he eventually burned the capital and the national library in a great defeat of the Persians.

Three generals in Alexander's army are said to have married Persian women. The generals betrayed Alexander by giving the Persians his plans. When Alexander heard of the betrayal he sought to take revenge, but the generals, wives, and a band of many soldiers fled. The valley of Hunza is thought to have been their valley of refuge because of its remote and secure location.

It is likely that the Hunza valley was already sparsely inhabited when the Macedon generals arrived. Certainly these tough fighting warriors made quick work of slaughtering the ancient inhabitants of Hunza. Though this is purely speculation, it is highly probable. The desolate rocky valley could not have supported the Macedonians unless some farms had been slowly built by others over the preceding centuries.

Hunza became an independent kingdom with a monarchy. The King used the title of Mir. The British disrupted the ruling organization of the Hunza people.

"The Mir, or ruler, of Hunza believed his tiny kingdom to be the equal of China, and likened himself to Alexander the Great from whom he claimed descent. When the British turned up in the 1870s, he took them for petitioners seeking to make Queen Victoria his vassal. Not wishing to waste time arguing, the colonial officials had him deposed, replacing him with an amenable brother whom the Mir had carelessly neglected to murder on his way to the throne."
A Kind of Kingdom in Paradise.

Hunza Rajah and Tribesmen in 1981.The British reported a population of about 8,000 people who were in good health and lived long lives, although their ages could not be verified since the Hunza people had no written records. The people were relatively healthy, especially when compared to the citizens in England where obesity, diabetes, cancer, and heart disease ravaged the British due of their high carbohydrate diet of grains, bread, sugar, honey, fruit and potatoes. The Hunza people were slender, healthy, and athletic compared to relatives of the British solders at home in England who were fat and sickly.

The Hunza tribesmen are shown in the picture. Click the picture to see an enlargement.

The Hunzakuts had lighter skin than the neighboring tribes and appeared to be of Caucasian origin. In 1950, John Clark reported seeing children with black, brown, and blond hair and an occasional redhead. They probably chose the Hunza River Valley because of its sheer isolation, but the men took wives from neighboring peoples. Hunza women were said to have been beautiful. This is highly probable since the Persian women taken as captives were likely the best looking. See page 69 in John Clark's book.

The Hunza people were land poor since there was never enough space to provide plenty. Shortage was always present, and people lived in fear of the springtime starvation when food ran desperately low.

Hunza had no soil as such. The glacial silt that formed the terraced gardens was simply ground rock. All of the animal manure was spread on the gardens to fertilize the crops and trees. The people defecated directly on the garden, and the soil was deficient in lime and phosphates, causing the trees and plants to suffer. The garden yield was considerably less than in the United States and elsewhere where good soil is available. The nitrate fertilizer from animal and human excrement was quickly flushed from the silt by the weekly flooding with glacial water.

The Hunzakuts called this "the land of just enough." The truth is Hunza was always a land of never enough, and everything was in short supply including the usable land which was limited to five acres (20,000 sq. m) per family. Animals were limited because of the lack of grazing pastures in the lower valley. The goats, sheep, and Yaks were moved to the higher mountains in summer in search of the sparse vegetation. The herdsmen had an excess of milk while the people in the valley suffered a shortage. This is the reason summer visitors to Hunza see a people eating a low-fat, near-vegetarian diet. The winter diet was vastly different.
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Saturday, February 22, 2014

Friday, February 21, 2014

Hunza Culture dress
Hunza people wear unique dress In Pakistan. in old days they wear (Tawchin) means socks which is made from leather ( shoka) jacket which is made from wool (kupaltine) Pajamas which is also made from sheep wool and (Kurdi) made also from Sheep wool . In the above picture the girl is wearing the marriage dress  . Hunza hat is particular unique all of women wear this cap and men also wear a cap which is different from women cap

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Hunza culture is still alive and people of Hunza isolate the culture even today . Hunza culture is a unique in Pakistan these people lives  between the narrow mountains of Karakorum range . Humans of Hunza also called white skinned people because there color is unique from Asian people . these people are very broad minded people the literacy  rate is above than 95% . the people of Hunza are very humble and peaceful people and they are famous for there hospitality  . Humans of Hunza live long than 95 to 120 years the secret behind there health is Hunza food it is also a unique food.

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Sunday, February 16, 2014

Why humans of Hunza live long ?  most of people are really amazed by this question .
well humans of Hunza eat simple and pure food like Fiitti which is made from flour and Water . Hunza butter is also famous around the world . in Breakfast most of people eat above things like fitti , tea, egg is eat very rarely and Butter daily .

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Football is like life - it requires perseverance, self-denial, hard work, sacrifice, dedication and respect for authority
                                                        Seen at Karimabad Hunza
                                             Ever shine football club Aliabad Hunza Players
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Friday, February 14, 2014

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Mohd Karim Receiving HPL cup 2012 

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Friday, January 31, 2014

Thursday, January 30, 2014

"What comes to your mind when you think of fear-
what is your biggest fear, for instance?"
"Hm... a really good question.....
I guess my biggest fear would be to be alone.
All alone. To be without family, yes."


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Wednesday, January 29, 2014


ISLAMABAD: 
Hundreds of people from Hunza residing in the twin cities came together for an evening of traditional tunes and merriment to celebrate their culture. The day-long “Hunza Cultural Festival” was organised by the Hunza Cultural Forum here on Sunday.
A large canopy hosted approximately 1,500 people from up north. The stage was lit up for an enthralling show by 31 artists who had specially come in from Hunza. The crowd also enjoyed performances such as sword dances, instrumental music, songs, and various other acts. Dressed in shiny golden robes and maintaining upright postures to balance their traditional hats, the dancers were in sync with the music and did not miss a single beat. It was awe-inspiring and heart-warming to see younger performers learning about the culture of their ancestral homes and working to carry on centuries-old art forms.“Suppression, aggression and then celebration are the lessons taught through the ethics of traditional music originating from Hunza Valley,” said Rehmat Karim, one of the event organisers.
He said that the number of urban settlers from the northern areas was growing with each passing year. Karim is among the hundreds of settlers who feel the need to remain connected to their roots, no matter how far they may have come. However, he feels that their younger generations suffer from an identity crisis. “I moved here 20 years ago. My children are growing up here, and they are very disconnected from their roots,” lamented Karim.
Soheena Ghazi, a BSc student, concurs with Karim’s statement. She said that the younger generations raised in urban cities rarely visit their villages, and have little knowledge of their roots, thus, “Such events are educational and entertaining at the same time,” she said.
Traditional food items were also on offer. A number of barbeque, rice and other delicacies from the north made by the locals were on sale. Safeeda Bibi, 77, who hails from Hunza, was making special ‘giyal’ and ‘bursshapil’ bread with yogurt and onion filling and special oils. Other specialties such as mantus seemed to have run out of stock due to high demand.
Taqdees Iqbal, 9, had come to the event with her family. She said that the annual event was always fun. “I always get to reconnect with my friends and enjoy good food and music,” she said. “Although we move away from our cities, our culture moves with us,” said another volunteer, Ashdar Ayub.
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                                   “Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know.”
                                                  Seen at Hunza cultral Mela Islamabad
                                                         Photo credits : Arslan Haider

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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Do you think that there should be farming awareness in Hunza ?
yeah i think it should be proper classes and seminars about farming now a days diseases two much which spoil our fruits and other things
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Tuesday, January 7, 2014