Gilgit - Baltistan

Defining Northern Areas

By: Zulfiqar Ali Khan

The Northern Areas of Pakistan are in the spotlight, because of the ongoing terrorist activities, as the national and international media are projecting and propagating Swat, Kashmir, South and North Wazirstan as Northern Areas, official name of Gilgit – Baltistan.  

This is largely affecting tourism and development activities in the Gilgit-Baltistan region, euphemistically referred as Northern Areas of Pakistan.

There is a great need to define frontier of Northern Areas and start organised campaigns to sensitize the media and intelligentsia in this regard.

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  1. I do agree with Mr. Zulfiqar Ali Khan about the ongoing confusion prevailing in media about Northern Areas of Pakistan. First time this confusion came into media during earthquake of 2005 in northern part of Pakistan. Second time some foreign media reported baseless news about the hide about of Osama Bin Laden at mountains surrounded with K-2 and Karakorum. This newsflash brought a big change in tourism industry of Pakistan this year. Although, our government took notice on time but it was not as much fruitful as it was expected to be. Now for the 3rd time; the war against terrorism going on in FATA and some areas of North Western Frontier Province are often misunderstood with Northern Areas of Pakistan.

    2007 officially declared as “Visit Pakistan Year” but government could not achieve its targets at large. According to some experts, tourism in Pakistan is the third growing sector of economy but we could not earn valuable foreign exchange. There are many reasons behind it. It is need of the hour to adopt some extra ordinary measures to bring it in line with information technology and telecommunication sector.

    As far as misunderstanding about Northern Areas of Pakistan is concerned, it will become clear with the lapse of time once reality become known to majority of people. However, we have to play our role in defining Northern Areas individually and as a whole.

  2. Dear Zulfiqar it is good that again this issue is this regard i have cleared the office of AAJ TV about the boundaries, agencies districts and tehsils of FANA,FATA and PANA (with maps)and have requested the senior analysts to take a notice if any mistake committed again. Besides this i have talked to the news producers of Geo,Dawn and ARY TV in this regard. It further needs a clarification in this regard . Better if the govt clarifies this misconfusion.

  3. The most unfortunate aspect of this is that the national media in spite of their knowledge of the geographics of the area deliberately project Gilgit-Baltistan as part of the conflict zone. The Pakistani government, its various agencies and departments, the media, political and civil organisations in Pakistan have absolute no interest in the suffering of the people of Gilgit-Baltistan. For them it makes no difference if Gilgit-Baltistan is perceived in the world as a bastion of terrorist and where the most wanted Terrorists in the world are hiding.
    It is high time that Northern Areas should be scraped as the name of the region and should be done immediately. I know that there isn’t consensus on any particular name amongst the people of the area but for the time being lets call the area Gilgit-Baltistan, NALA should pass a resolution in this regard.

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