By: Zulfiqar Ali Khan
Hunza, June 18: A joint committee has been formed during a meeting held at Kashghar, China to find out ways for possible collaboration between Khunjerab National Park and Taxkorgan Natural Reserve, China. The meeting was participated by high officials from Northern Areas and representatives of Ministry of Environment, WWF, UNDP, AKDN/FOCUS and ICIMOD as well as high official from China.
The officials have discussed the potential of natural reserves and socio-economic aspects of communities living both sides of the border in order to exploit these specificities for regional development. The participants have also agreed to develop tourism between Kashghar and Gilgit along with collaborating in national parks.
The newly formed committee will be chaired by Aashique Ahmed, Special Advisor WWF and co-chaired by a Chinese official. The committee will held a joint meeting during October this year in Gilgit.
Khunjerab National Park is the third largest national Park of Pakistan, covers around 2,270 sq km which is adjacent to Taxkorgan Natural Reserve (1,400,000 hectares) in China. Both parks provides habitat for a number of endangered and threatened species like the snow leopard, Marco Polo sheep, and Himalayan ibex.
The two countries have already evolved an exemplary cooperative relationship in political, defence and diplomatic arena. The communities living both sides of the border are thus hoping that this initiative will help to restore the historical ties among the communities living both sides of the border. It is also hoped that not only Pakistan and China but also Afghanistan and Tajikistan will join this initiative in order to establish an international trans-frontier Peace Park for the benefit of wildlife, the habitat, and local people.