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GILGIT-BALTISTAN

Gilgit-Baltistan, also known as the Northern Areas, is a region in Pakistan. Here are some key points about it:

  • Location: It lies in the northern part of the larger Kashmir region.
  • Borders:
    • To the south, it shares a border with Azad Kashmir.
    • To the west, it borders the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
    • The Wakhan Corridor of Afghanistan lies to its north.
    • To the east and northeast, it shares a border with the Xinjiang region of China.
    • Finally, to the southeast, it is adjacent to the Indian-administered union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.

Gilgit-Baltistan has been at the center of territorial disputes between India and Pakistan since 1947 and between India and China since 1959. It’s a region of great natural beauty and cultural significance. 

  • Gilgit-Baltistan, often called “Pakistan-administered Kashmir,” is a region in Pakistan.
  • It’s six times larger than Azad Kashmir in terms of geographical area.
  • Originally known as the Northern Areas, it gained limited autonomy in 2009 under the name “Gilgit-Baltistan”.
  • The population has differing views on integration with Pakistan proper.
  • In 2020, it was announced that Gilgit-Baltistan would attain provisional provincial status after the 2020 Gilgit-Baltistan Assembly election. 
  • Area: It covers over 72,971 square kilometers and is characterized by rugged mountains.
  • Population: Around 1.8 million people reside there.
  • Capital: The capital city is Gilgit, home to approximately 216,760 inhabitants.
  • Economy: Agriculture and tourism are key contributors to the economy.
  • Natural Wonders:
    • Mountains: Gilgit-Baltistan boasts five eight-thousanders, including the famous K2.
    • Glaciers: It hosts three of the world’s longest glaciers outside the polar regions.
  • Tourism: Trekking and mountaineering are popular activities in this breathtaking region. 
Regions

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
Baltistan Ghanche 4,052 Khaplu 108,000 Skardu
  Shigar 8,500 Shigar  
  Kharmang 5,500 Kharmang  
  Skardu 8,700 Skardu 305,000*  
  Roundu NA Dambudas NA  
Gilgit Gilgit 14,672 Gilgit 222,000 Gilgit
  Ghizer 9,635 Gahkuch 190,000  
  Hunza 7,900 Aliabad 70,000 (2015)  
  Nagar 5,000 Nagar 51,387 (1998)  
  Gupis–Yasin NA Phander? NA  
Diamer Diamer 10,936 Chilas 214,000 Chilas
  Astore 5,092 Eidghah 114,000  
  Darel NA Darel NA  
  Tangir NA Tangir NA

Combined population of Skardu, Shigar, Kharmang, and Roundu 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, with an overall population growth rate between 1998 and 2011 of 63.1%, making it 4.85% annually . 

Geography and climate

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). 

Certainly! Gilgit-Baltistan, with its awe-inspiring landscapes, is home to some of the world’s longest glaciers and enchanting high-altitude lakes. Let’s explore these natural wonders:

  1. Glaciers:

    • Biafo Glacier: One of the longest glaciers outside the polar regions.
    • Baltoro Glacier: Another remarkable glacier in the region.
    • Batura Glacier: Known for its immense size and stunning ice formations.
  2. High-Altitude Lakes:

    • Sheosar Lake: Located in the Deosai Plains near Skardu.
    • Naltar Lakes: Found in the picturesque Naltar Valley in Gilgit.
    • Satpara Tso Lake: Nestled in Skardu, Baltistan.
    • Katzura Tso Lake: Also in Skardu, Baltistan.
    • Zharba Tso Lake: Located in Shigar, Baltistan.
    • Phoroq Tso Lake: Another gem in Skardu, Baltistan.
    • Lake Kharfak: Gracing Gangche, Baltistan.
    • Byarsa Tso Lake: Astore district.
    • Borith Lake: Upper Hunza, Gilgit.
    • Rama Lake: Near Astore.
    • Rush Lake: Close to Nagar, Gilgit.
    • Kromber Lake: Situated at Kromber Pass in Ishkoman Valley, Ghizer District.
    • Barodaroksh Lake: Found in Bar Valley, Nagar.
    • Ghorashi Lake: Hidden in Ghandus Valley, Kharmang.

These pristine lakes and glaciers contribute to the region’s natural beauty and are essential for the local communities. However, it’s crucial to recognize that climate change poses risks, including glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs), affecting both the environment and people in Gilgit-Baltistan.

Languages

Gilgit-Baltistan’s population is entirely Muslim, and it is denominationally the most diverse region in the country. Notably, it is the only Shia-plurality area in an otherwise Sunni-dominant Pakistan. Let’s explore the sectarian distribution across different districts:

Religions
  • Skardu District: Mostly Shia.
  • Diamir and Astore Districts: Sunni majorities.
  • Ghanche District: Noorbakhshi population.
  • Ghizar District: Ismaili majority.
  • Gilgit, Hunza, and Nagar Districts: A mix of all these sects.
  • Sects Percent
    Shia 39.85%
    Sunni 30.05%
    Ismaili 24%

Historically, Shias and Ismailis constituted about 85% of the population in 1948. However, General Zia ul-Haq’s policies led to demographic changes, encouraging Sunni migration from other provinces and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas. Recent surveys highlight differences in contraceptive usage and fertility rates between Shia Ismaili and Sunni women .

Data from Wikipedia.org

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K2 Travel Hub

Welcome to K2 Travel Hub, your trusted travel partner based in the beautiful city of Skardu, Pakistan. With over 70 years of experience in the travel industry, we specialize in offering a wide range of tours including City Tours, Multi-day Tours, Walking Tours, Eco Tours, Hiking & Camping Tours, Private Tours, and Day Trips. Our deep understanding of the region allows us to provide personalized, authentic experiences that truly capture the spirit of Skardu. We are committed to sustainable practices and strive to offer a seamless travel experience with our user-friendly interface and instant booking confirmations. Our professional, knowledgeable, and friendly staff are always ready to assist you. Join us at K2 Travel Hub for an unforgettable journey!

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