Sunday, 17th December 2017

Special persons given Ramzan package


GILGIT : More than 30 disabled persons were given Rs4500 and food packages in Gilgit this week.

The financial assistance was given in a ceremony chaired by Agha Rahat Hussain, prayer leader at central Imamia mosque.

In his speech he promised to start a project for the special persons of the region.

Speaking on the occasion chairman vision welfare foundation Irshad Hussain Kazmi thanked Agha Rahat and highlighted work of Vision Welfare Foundation for the special persons. 

BREAKING: Hafeez nominated CM, Nawaz to announce it in Gilgit



ISLAMABAD: Sources close to prime minister on Tuesday confirmed Hafeez ur Rahman has been nominated as next chief minister of Gilgit – Baltistan [G-B].

He was picked from amongst two other hopefuls, a source, who witnessed the developments taking place in the prime minister house, told Outpost on Tuesday.

Hafeez, who is president of PML-N Gilgit – Baltistan is in Islamabad where he is called by the prime minister to discuss formulation of G-B government.

“The decision will be announced by Nawaz Shaif in Gilgit where he is expected this month.”


Published in Outpost on June 15, 2015

Shimshalis respond as govt ignores


                                                                                                       Photo by Abdul Joshi


GILGIT:  Bereft of government development schemes in the region, the people of Shimshal Valley, the last village near Pakistan’s border with China, have begun digging a water channel on self-help basis to irrigate their fields.

The canal was deemed necessary because as spring approaches, time is running out for ploughing. Government help is hard to come by in this remote valley located 300 kilometres from Gilgit, and if the channel is not built, locals might lose the season’s yield.

The building of the Korband channel began earlier this month and is being undertaken by scouts and volunteers led by Sifat Khan and Abdul Hassan, respectively.

A group of men flatten the land, smash rocks and cut through the mountains without any protective measures to pave way for the four-kilometre Korband channel in the valley which is inhabited by nearly 2,000 people.

However, this is not the first project that has been initiated and completed entirely by the locals, according to Abdul Joshi, a resident of Shimshal. “Dozens of other schemes have been completed by communities on their own,” Joshi told The Express Tribune.

Since the Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) government has failed to address issues like load-shedding and law and order in the regional capital, Gilgit, it is least expected to do wonders for Shimshal. For this reason, the locals don’t often look to the government for help.

“Our elected representatives have failed us. We wanted our leaders to do  what former chief minister Mehdi Shah did for his hometown Skardu,” said another resident.

The 55-km-long road that connects Shimshal Valley with the rest of the country tells the story of locals’ resolve; it was constructed in 2003—56 years after independence—with overwhelming support from the locals. The road, unpaved and narrow, twists through high mountains and over wooden bridges, and has reduced the duration of the journey to the valley from three days to three hours by jeep.

In Shimshal, there is no running tap water in homes and electricity is available only through solar panels the locals buy from neighbouring China. However, despite its remoteness and lack of government aid, literacy rate in the valley is 98%—almost double the national average.

Though Shimshal is one of the most remote regions of G-B, its residents are serving across the country in various fields including government service and the media. The people of Shimshal depend on tourism for income and the village has produced one mountaineer on average from every household. Renowned mountaineer Samina Baig, the first Pakistani woman to scale Mount Everest, also belongs to the valley.

According to former speaker of the G-B Legislative Assembly, Wazir Baig, the people of Shimshal are resilient and know how to meet their needs on their own. “We did try to provide relief to them during our government,” said Baig, referring to a 200-kilowatt power project which is under construction in the valley.

The first settlement in Shimshal is estimated to have arrived some 400-500 years ago when the valley was under the rule of the Mir of Hunza who sent criminals and society outcasts to Shimshal for punishment.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 20th, 2015.

Landslide damage houses in Skardu as residents escape miraculously



GILGIT: A landslide, triggered by the rains, has damaged homes and trees in the Borgay Kushmara area of Skardu town in Gilgit - Baltistan.

The tragedy occurred two days back [Wednesday] not only robbed the poor villagers of their valuables but also left them without a shelter in an area 15 kiometers from Skardu – the main town of Baltistan region.

According to locals, at least seven houses were damaged and three dozen trees were swept away by the landslide, dealing a blow to the income of the poor villagers who income depends mostly on agriculture.

“The villagers were back to work that day after a spell of rains,” a resident Muhammad Ismail said on Thursday.

“But then at about 5 pm a deafen noise frightened us. It was a landslide that was coming down to us,” he told Outpost.

Though the landslide caused loss to the property, the villagers managed to escape the nature’s wrath. The heavy boulders flattened the houses and then trees whichever came first in the way.

“There was hue and cry in the village as boulders roll down trampling. But tank God no one was hurt in the end. An aged man and his grandson sitting in a home were hit by boulder but they remained unhurt.”

The other villagers – who are also relatives – were however quick to offer whatever they could. They offered food and shelter keeping the traditions alive. But that wasn’t enough to bring the routine life back.

“The villagers are poor and so can’t afford reconstructions. We want government to help us out,” said the villager.

While the panic that gripped everyone was intense, the reconstruction and rehabilitation was what weighed heavily on their minds.

“The government helps. The NGOs come but not after making considerable delays,” says another villager.

Programme manager at Al Khidmat Foundation Tahir Rana said his organization would provide food items up to two months for the affected families.

The government however has made an assessment to recompense the affected villagers. According to an assessment prepared by assistant commissioner Skardu, a family who lost their house would be provided Rs30,000 as compensation while those houses damaged partially would be provided Rs15000 each.

 The amount was however deemed too little to help affectees.

“The amount is insufficient for a minor repair let alone reconstruction of a house,” said Imtiaz Haider, social workers in Skardu. “And nobody knows how long it will take to reach the affected families,” Haider said.

“We just hope the government revises the compensation amount based on market rates and reaches out to them without wasting time.”

More awards for Chitrali youth



PESHAWAR: Awards are pouring in as Rehmat Chitrali makes inventions. The latest in the series is "Yasirullah Shaheed Talent Award 2015".

Tehreek-e-Jawanan-e-Pakistan (Chitral Wing) presented the award this week for his outstanding services in the field of language and culture documentation, promotion of mother languages and Software development.

According to a press release, Rehmat Aziz Chitrali, linguist and poet from Chitral District, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has been awarded “Yasir Ullah Shaheed Talent Award  2015” by Tehreek-e-Jawanan-e-Pakistan (Chitral Wing) for his outstanding services in the field of language and Culture Documentation and best performance in his profession, observed & selected by Tehreek-e-Jawanan-e-Pakistan Award Committee(TJPAC).

The Yasirullah Shaheed Talent Award 2015 was awarded in a ceremony held at Archives Hall, Peshawar organized by Tehreek-e-Jawanan-e-Pakistan (Chitral Wing) on 30th January, 2015.

Rehmat Aziz Chitrali is a Pakistani Linguist, Mother-Language's Rights Activist and an activist against Human Rights. He wrote many Children Books on regional languages of Pakistan i.e. Khowar, Urdu, Punjabi, Pashto, Hindko, Saraiki, Balti, Shina, Kalasha, Brahui and English. He founded the Khowar language Wikipedia and has acted to protect the rights of more than 69 languages of Pakistan. It is largely because of Rehmat Aziz Chitral's work and activism that Marya Memon, Member National Assembly presented a Language Bill in the National Assembly regarding inclusion of Khowar, Balti, Shina, Saraiki and many other regional languages in the national syllabus.

His work is recognized through various national and international honours, Gold Medals and awards including the International Innovation Award 2014, Pride of the Nation Award & Gold Medal 2014, Innovative Youth Award 2014, Shandoor Award, Chitral Human Development Award, Sanad-e-Lisaniyaat, Rising Star Award, Sanad-e-Fazeelat, Pakistan Barnstar Award of National Merit 2014, Yasirullah Shaheed Talent Award 2015. He has also been nominated for N-Peace Award of 2014 and Queens Young Leaders Award 2015.

The Tehreek-e-Jawanan-e-Pakistan(Chitral Wing) organized a Seminar on "Role of Youth" & "Yasirullah Shaheed Talent Award" Ceremony at Archives Hall, Pakistan on 30th January 2015. The main objective of the seminar was to create awareness among youth about their role for improving governance and fighting against corruption and terrorism. Lt.Gen(Retd) Mumtaz Gul, Ex Vice Chancellor Peshawar University, Abdullah Gul, President Tehreek-e-Jawanan-e-Pakistan, Umair Khalilullah, Abdul Wali Khan Abid Advocate, Bahar Ahmed, Saifullah Mangol, Inayat Jalil Ambar and many others spoke on the occasion. Some of his writings in Pakistani languages can be found at


09/07/2015, 18:03 OUTPOST
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