Thu. Oct 22nd, 2020

Op-Editorial: Finding a Suitable Name for the Northern Areas –it is never too late!

by Mutabiat Shah

One can’t agree more with Raja Zafar on the points he has raised in his rejoinder to a news item. ‘Northern Areas’, the misnomer for the erstwhile Gilgit – Baltistan, has been damaging economic interests and tarnishing its image for the last many decades. The people of the area have never accepted the term ‘northern areas’ as a name for their region, because it is a super-imposed one and does not signify any of the characteristics of the area. This name has also created an identity crisis for the people, with some serious political implications for the people of this region…The ambiguity lies at the core of term northern areas which tends to hide the constitutional and political non-representative nature of the area and can potentially divert the attention of international community from the real issues faced by the people of this region. The national media has contributed to make the ambiguity fussier by excluding this region even from the vague portrayal of the northern parts of NWFP and parts of AKJ as northern areas. In media parlance, the area is an anonymity, even it does not exist on the face of earth. This sense of deprivation expressed in identity politics of the people of this region can further be aggravated if its existence is not recognized with an all encompassing name to reflect its distinguished character.

The current name therefore needs to be replaced, soon, with a suitable and representative one. There have been efforts to change the name in question, but there seems to be no consensus on a single name so far. It is never too late, as they say. Efforts are however still continuing to come up with a suitable name, and this endeavor from my end could be seen in the specific context of the debate over naming the northern areas.

The urgency to name this region has now gained paramount importance in the face of the converging international interests as a beginning of the Neo-Great Game. The Northern Areas (the tribal belt connected with Afghanistan, India and China) are geographically placed to be the heartland of this Neo-Great game. The people of this region, therefore, must unite under one name to have their stake in the new surge of international interests in the area.

The polemics of naming the Northern Areas have reached new heights in recent years with a plethora of options, all ending up in disagreements. The lack of consensus stems from the cultural and ethnic heterogeneity of these areas with little historical evidence to support a common name acceptable to all ethnic groups.

The context of naming an area in the modern sense comes from the collective memories of being similar regardless of cultural and political diversity. The binding force of common identity may vary from one sociopolitical context to another but the collective aspiration of human beings to create a universal system of values has constantly been witnessed in human history. Modernity is a system of meta- narrative, universal ethics and grand theories to explain historical progress, social change and political movements. Thus, modernity is a way of exploring a common nomenclature for a people living in a certain area. The art of naming an area lies in outlining the quintessential geographical features of the area that remain constant in the process of melting social and political identities. A geographically significant name has potential to ward off the ongoing controversies, and petty squabbles between political groups over the naming of the Northern Areas and hence paving way to resolve the potential conflicts shrouded in the identity crisis debate. .

Sifting through the polemical debates of naming the Northern Areas I found it rather intriguing to suggest a name with narrowly defined political connotations. Primarily, naming a people comes from the most significant characteristics that place them on a unique position in relation to others. The unique character of the Northern Areas lies in their geographical location, full of snow-capped mountains, freezing weather and coping strategies reflected in cultural practices.

The geo-climatic setting of the area gives it advantage to name without having recourse to a particular brand of political nomenclature.

I propose Zemistan as the name for the Northern Areas including all the seven districts i.e. Gilgit, Hunza/ Nagar valleys, Ghizer, Diamer, Astore, Skardu and Gangche.

Zemistan is a Wakhi word to describe the winter season and the severity of cold. There are many other Wakhi names for some of the great mountains and places within the Northern Areas and Chitral. For instance Tirich Mir means Darkness King or King of darkness in Wakhi language. Likewise Khunjrab means bloody stream and the famous Shandur pass between Gilgit and Chitral is also derived from Wakhi language, just to cite a few examples.

Zemistan, as translated from Wakhi, carries a great deal of symbolism beyond its immediate sense of winter and severity of cold. It has soothing effect, tranquility and calmness that signify pristine state of being, purity and elegance. Zemistan- the land of snow- captures the surrealism of nature and both the stiffness and tenderness of the natives whose stiffness helps to face the harsh reality of nature and whose tenderness makes them hospitable, loving and passionate. It is worth noting that over 60% of the land of the regions is believed to be covered by glaciers. Our region is home to gigantic glaciers such as Concordia, Siachin, Biafo, Buttara and many other smaller ones, outside the polar caps.

I hope that the proposed name; Zemistan would strike a chord among the thinkers of the Northern Areas and would earn popular acclaim in the face of an increasing confusion generated by media by linking this otherwise peaceful region with North West “terrorists” belt. The term of Northern Areas has created a lot of confusion in the context of terrorism and thus earning a bad name to the region, besides creating an identity crisis there.

Naming a place in geo-climatic terms is not a new practice- a tradition as old as human civilization itself. For instance, Scandinavia is derived from the geographical feature of high elevation for a group of North European countries like Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Ireland and Finland etc. Likewise the word Himalaya is a combination of Him and laya which means the abode of snow. Kohistan being a most appropriate name has already been adopted for the mountainous valleys beyond Chilas and Besham, in the downstream Indus.

Thus in the context of the Northern Areas a geographically determined name Zemistan has all the potential to unify the varying socio-cultural mosaic of its people, by giving them a name above the parochial differences and short term political gains by certain groups.

It is hoped the readers would express their honest opinion, accepting the proposed name – Zemistan to replace the current term ‘northern areas’.

—————-

The contributor is a highly experienced development professional belonging to Gojal, Hunza.

32 thoughts on “Op-Editorial: Finding a Suitable Name for the Northern Areas –it is never too late!

  1. The name proposed by Mr. Mutabiat Shah is good efforts, he has highlited the facts; although we have no direct concern with NA but we strongly recommmend to change the name as Zemistan. In future we expect that Zemistan and Chitral would be the fifth province of Pakistan.

    Shamsuddin
    Chitral- Pakistan

  2. Dear Mutiabiat Shah
    I am really impressed to read your article-that emanates wisdom , wit and is ladden with analytical depth. Zemistan can be the best choice because it embodies a complete sense of geo-climatic and cultural millieu of the region.
    With best regards
    Amir Hussain Nihal
    Islamabad

  3. Dear team of Pamirtimes
    the nam of northern areas i suggest must be a combination of all the languages of northern areas……Wakhi is not a language that spoken by all in northern areas so ……..u Know what i am telling about….

  4. Fantastic!!! I really appreciate Mr. Mutabiyat Shah for choosing the name Zemistan. According to the location, the season its perfect name but the question raised here is how many people accept it? because the political parties from north have already selected name for the region.

  5. I congratulate Bech Mutabiat for his contributions, he has been doing since he was a student in Karachi. I am deeply touched by his scholarly contribution such as this article and proposing a name for this unfortunate region, which has been treated as an orphan (we are truely politically orphan) since our independence i.e. November 01, 1947. The identity crisis being faced by the people is the evidence of treatment of a step child by the political leadership of Pakistan.

    The spirit of voluntarily accession to Pakistan by our leaders has been betrayed by the successive governments of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. We have been denied our right of representation in the parliament of the country and even after a laps of over 60 years we are not sure we will ever be given this basic human right.

    It is high time that we rise today for our rights including identity of our region, our status if we are citizen of this country, our due financial rights in the case of the mega projects like KKH and Diami- Bhasha Dam. We need true leadership, who are educated, enlightened and with a clear vision of the future of this region to come forward. I am sure and optimistic about our people that they will follow them as the current political leadership of this region have no vision at all. They have been working on agendas of different political and religious parties of the south who have no interest in our wel-being.

    Be God with us.

    Kareem jon

  6. Admittedly, the term Northern Areas is a misnomer and it certainly obscures cultural, social, and even political diversity of the inhabitants of the people living in the beautiful valleys of Karakorum and Himalayas. In the current great confusion and climate of chronic political instability in Pakistan the careless and effortless use of the term Northern Areas in the Pakistani media and government press briefings to describe, report, interpret and anayse the ongoing so called ‘war on terror’ in Swat and elsewhere does nothing but sprinkles salt to the injuries of decades of repression in Giligit-Baltistan. This is an insult to the intelligence, courage and culture of our great and brave people. Indeed it is perhaps the right time that we rise up and snatch our rights and complete the course of justice.
    Now the whole question of naming Giligit-Baltistan is a messy and a complicated business. While Mutabiat sahip’s suggestions and ideas are always welcome but it must be pointed out that there have already been many attempts from various quarters to suggest names of a range of varieties ranging from exotic to exhilarating. I joyously wonder if we will ever be able to evolve a consensus that satisfies and at the same time signifies the cultural diversity and sensibilities of our people in the process of naming and categorising them. Indeed such colossal tasks require great leadership, unflinching commitment and a vibrant political community: it is to be seen if we live upto what we really are up to.

  7. Important point well written by Mr. Mutabiat Shah.

    I personally love this name, however I sense a pure wakhi flavor in the name suggested, which the majority may not know or accept. Of course the area is immured by high mountains and glaciers, however, there are pleasant spring and summer seasons too, which makes it land of flowers, Gulistan (a name, I remember, was suggested by Mr. Fazal Amin Beg in one of his articles in a newspaper half year back).

    Best of luck

  8. Zemistan is good name to replace the word ” northern areas ” but it meaning is not easily understandable for all linguestic group of northern areas and outsiders, the most suited name is Kohistan, (which unfortunately exist with bad reputation). another alternative name i will suggest is ” Kohdara ” Koh means mountain and Dara means valley,

    Dilawar Khan Parbat
    Islamabad

  9. Though, Mutabiat Shah Sb, has suggested a name, all Wakhi people would love to have for the area, but what about others? would they also agree?

  10. A very creative initiative by a very talented and serving son of the Region–Gilgit-Baltistan. The proposed name ‘ZEMISTAN’ sounds well to the geo-ecological nature of the the entire region of the ‘Roof-of-the-world’. The word is not only of the Wakhi language but, it is also spoken in the Persian and Urdu speking world. So one should not feel that some minority are imposing or trying to impose themselves. We have the example of the name ‘Ghizar’ for the former states of yasin ,Gupis, Punial and Iskoman ; how harmoniously the people named the district after a sub- valley of the the region. So let it be the name ‘Zemistan’ a region of/ in Pakistan.

  11. …. Great suggestions, ….can our representative will move it and many more forward through mutual consensus and legislations. ?

  12. Thankx for the Idea and starting a brain stoming session on this web based media. The name really attracts me, but the question is opened and not zipped-up, I personally request to all for their inputs good or bad based on every individuals knowledge experiences, social, cultural, political and relagion relations and paradime of time.
    The name no doubt, attracts because of TAN, which is a common sample of the Nighbour countries of central asia including Industan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Uzbukistan, Kergiztan, Turkiministan etc.
    ZAM, in the local language is called for Snow and no doubt all the area of Gilgit-Baltistan, are famous for its Mountains and glaciers, so the name ZAMISTAN sounds good, as suggested by MUTABIYAT SHAH.
    Inspite of all above points the Name of GILGIT-BALISTAN attracts me, because from centuries the area has Historical, Cultural, Relgio-political and many many other refrences and historical back ground in above refrence Name GILGIT-BALTISTAN.
    The second thought- can the ligustic experts of Gilgit Baltistan some very special name from the existing names of the District of GILGIT-BALISTAN, IF the name relects a sound of pluralizim and choherences of the people that, the PM time team should circulate for debate.
    Third opetion if some very representive name we can derived from the langues spoken in Gilgit-Baltistan, which really binde and make us clouser to one another, this is now the job of the litutre people of Gilgit-Baltistan.
    Why we r persuing only for a new name just secreficing all our refrences in History og Gilgit-Balistan. I do accept that, NORTHERN AREA is not a faie presentation of the Area, Which is called GILGIT-Baltistan.
    In my openion with any new NAME we loose some of the very important refrerrial points that, ll definetely effect on the comming generations which has its own effects.
    In refrence of the two bench mark points of “DISTRICTS NAMES & SPOKEN LANGUAGES IF, we did not had a consences and the derived did not present the oness of Gilgit-Balistan, then we ll go for the final voting adopting the very common way of democracy.
    In conclusion, we all have to suggest at least three NAMES and mazimum Five Names just for brain stroming, in this way the PMT should collect all the name list and should make of lists of members to agree or not agree to give it afinal shape fro the final CONCLUSIONS.
    SUGGETED NAMES OF U/SIGN

    1- GILGIT-BALTISTAN
    2- BOMEE DUNYA
    3- DARDISTAN———

    COMMENTS ON THE SUGGESTIONS LL BE HIGHLY APPRECIATED.—————

  13. Dear all

    I think the name is fantastic. It, surely, depicts the ‘surrealism’ that is the essence of our region’s cultural and geographic composition.

    Zemistan is, strictly speaking, not a Wakhi word, only. It is a Persian word. Fasl-e-Zemistan is the Persian term for Winter Season. From Persian it has been taken by Urdu, as well. So, we can find it in Urdu poetry and prose where the term Zemistan is extensively used for depiction of the severity of cold season. Famous poets like Ahmad Nadeem Qasmi, Faraz and Qateel Shifayi have also used this term in their poetry.

    Since languages like Khowar, Chitrali, are also derived from Persian we can also see this term being used in that language as well.

    So, in my opinion, saying that the term is only understandable to the Wakhis is wrong and too narrow an assumption.

    Additionally, can someone tell me the origin of the terms “Hunza”, “Gilgit”, Diamir, “Astore”, what do these names mean in the local languages? Or, for that matter, the meaning of Gojal!! What does Gojal mean in Wakhi? Is Hunza a Burushaski, Wakhi or Shina terminology?

    Further, what about the terms like Karakuram, Balawaristan, Dardistan? At least Balawaristan is not an indigenous term. It is purely a Persian term. Dardistan is a hybrid term – containing a Persian suffix.

    Gulistan – an exotic term, is also a Persian term. Karakuram or (Qera-Qurum) has a meaning in the Wakhi language “Meaning Extreme/Optimum and Densely Packed” – depicting the densely packed boulders, mountains, of the region.

    Gilgit – Baltistan is a term used by the regional press to depict the Northern Areas, but it leaves rest of the five districts in oblivion. It, surely, is not a consensus name, as well.

    For all these reasons, I think Zemistan is not a bad – or narrowly defined name for the region. If we are able to leave our ‘ethnic’ and ‘lingual’ spectacles aside, for a while, at least, I think we would soon be reaching a consensus.

    Who would not agree that we live in the ‘land of snow’? Who wouldn’t agree that almost all regions in the name have been inspired from languages that are not ‘local’ in the real sense.

    Nur

  14. Dear Readers,
    It’s real good to know the suggested name for the region which remained nameless on the map of world for last 60 years. Because of this we not only lost our identity but also included us in the least of terrorist effected areas by Pakistani Media. Now its time to agree on one central point that we have change the name to restore our identity (cultural) and we have to work for our political identity as well.
    As per the name “Zimistan” is concerned and uncle Mutabiat has suggested is not as controversial as someone has misinterpreted it. I think he did suggest it being a wakhi so we have to be clear about it and I think we have to be democratic and need to show our concern with valid reasons not as Wakhi, as a Brushu, as a Shina, as a Kohistani, as Balti etc. I not apposing your ideas but I am trying to make a point here is that we have to need no concern with languages but with the name. I must welcome and appreciate the suitable name weather it’s from Burushaski, Shina, Khuwar, Balti, Kohistani or Wakhi language. Now I would like to clear you all about the word or name suggested by Uncle Mutabiat is not actually Wakhi word. It’s a Persian word and Wakhi speakers have adopted it from Persian because as per my knowledge Persian is older then Wakhi. I agree with this name because it’s a Persian word and most of us (Burushaski, Shina, Khuwar, Balti, Kohistani or Wakhi) have relation with this language and tradition. I hope you will review this name in the context of our geography and history rather then in the context of languages.
    We are here not to make someone win and someone defeat but we are here to show our strength which I think is UNITY.

    With best wishes
    Hameed Tajiki (GLT)

  15. Mr. MUTABIYAT SHAH suggested name is good one to replace the misinterpreted name the “Northern Araes” but may this word is attractive for wakhi speaking people only because of our biased minds, I also suggest and prefer such name which present the beauty and nature of our region not the language and region or district names, if people listen about Gilgit, there is always sectarian problem…..
    The name should present the four season of the region, or the mountain range name which is known in the world.

  16. how we will pronounce it in wakhi language or in English,,,, or in urdu,, other wise its nice ,,…………..

  17. Dear all,
    Lets thanks for the contribution of Uncle Mutabiat Shah and Pamir Times for reminding us to have a word on the constitutionally neglected land “Northern Area” (Gilgit-Baltistan)

    I am happy like other commentators on the suggested name “Zemistan” by uncle Mutabiat Shah, but historically “Gilgit-Baltistan” sounds me more attractive because of its usage and acceptance to the common masses.

    Thanks and regards
    Sharif Khan

  18. Taking cue from the cogent arguments put forth by Nur in the context of Mutabiat Shah;s article I would add that “local” is not necessarily a notion untouched by exotic influences. In the sense of an uncorrupted state of being, unaffected by external influences, there is nothing one can term as “local”
    Without going further into the semantics of “local” I would say that we live in a world of globalization and in here there is nothing immuned to external influences. Historically these areas have been the melting pot of varying identities which in the course of time synthesized into a pluralistic society. What has remained constant, however, is its geo-climatic reality of being the home of snow and glaciers-the unique character that formed its culture, mores and customs. What unifies a people of so diverse ethenicity is a beat of drum that goes beyond ethenicity and religiosity. A percurssion of drum is all the more powerful tool to ditch the ethenic differences than a thousand years of proselytization. The impact of Zemistan has potential of percussion of a drum with great political and cultural repurcussions.
    The dichotomy of local and setller is a legacy of colonial rule in that bifurcated system of citizenship was introduced through legal segregation of people. The idea of local has the same echo of colonial metaphore for a group of people ruled by customary laws. Nationalist politics in the northern areas is the mirror image of this dichotomy and the discourse of liberation is immersed with the imagery of local being authentic. We live in a post-natinalist world, determined by global currents of change in that local is difffused into form glocal (Global +Local) and Zemistan as name has all the character of being a Glocal name.

    Amir Hussain Nihal

  19. Dear All,

    Nice debate. I just want to share with you the name proposed by Fazal Amin Beg through Dawn newspaper, September 21, 2007.

    Zulfiqar

    Proposed names for the Northern Areas

    By Fazal Amin Beg

    THE Northern Areas of Pakistan, an area of regional and cultural diversity, is the point where Central and South Asia and China meet.

    It is also where the world’s great mountain ranges — the Karakorams, the Himalayas, the Hindukush and the Pamirs meet. These attributes make the Northern Areas one of the most strategic regions in the subcontinent.

    Before August 1947, the Northern Areas had their own political identity with princely states established in different valleys. After the emergence of Pakistan, the region’s political entities were endangered as there was no unifying force holding them together. The princely states had emerged on the basis of their ethnic composition and religious beliefs as was clear in the case of Hunza, Nagar, Baltistan and Yasin. After these came under Pakistan’s control, they were given a common name, the Northern Areas.

    Thus the Northern Areas had no adequate logical and historical basis. Several names were suggested for this entity based on its political history. But unfortunately, names such as Baloristan, Burushal, Sargin, Dardistan, etc did not catch on because of the cultural and political diversity of the region.

    Recently, the Northern Areas Legislative Council (NALC) set up a committee to invite proposals, review suggestions and finalise a name for the Northern Areas of Pakistan. This was a positive move, coming after six decades of neglect. After considering a number of names, the committee opted for Arz-i-Gulistan. But this name came to be disputed and was not considered a good omen for a territory whose status was disputed. Literally, ‘arz’ in Arabic, from where it is derived, means land; and ‘stan’ as a suffix comes from the Persian meaning land or place. So, it makes little sense to call a place “the land of flowers’ land” or “the land of land of flowers”. Metaphorically, this name also raises questions with regard to the region’s representation.

    I have been concerned about the new name for the Northern Areas of Pakistan for the last five years. I deliberated on the issue. The new name should be representative of the people. There are two key religious groups inhabiting these valleys, namely, the Sunni and the Shia, the latter being further divided into the Ithna’asharis and the Ismailis.

    It was thought that the least controversial would be to put together the abbreviations of the great mountain ranges of the world that converge here. In this regard, Baqahistan was proposed four years ago but was not released to the media. The literal meaning of Baqahistan is derived from its two main syllables: ‘baqah’ from Arabic meaning life, and ‘stan’ for place. Baqahistan thus means the “life place” or the “living place”.

    Metaphorically, ‘baqah’ represents the great mountain ranges: for instance, ‘ba’ for Bom-e Dunyo (roof of the world), that is the Pamirs; ‘qa’ for the ‘Qarakorum’ (distorted form of Karakorams); ‘hi’ for the Himalaya and Hindukush; and ‘stan’ for the place where these mountains are located and for the people residing in their valleys.

    The second name for the Northern Areas that is being proposed is Kuhimir, literally meaning the “mountain chief” or the “mountain leader”. ‘Kuh’ in Persian means “mountain” and ‘mir’ in Arabic (shortened from amir) means “leader”. But conceptually, Kuhimir has been abbreviated from the names of the great mountain ranges of the world: i.e., ‘ku’ taken from the Karakorams; ‘hi’ representing the Himalaya and Hindukush, and ‘mir’ for the Pamirs.

    Kuhimir gets its logical position within the geographical locations of the Pamir to its north and Kashmir to the south. More importantly, Kuhimir cannot be controversial like Sargin, Dardistan, Burushal or Boloristan which are derived from their political/ethnic/linguistic affiliation to different groups.

    This would certainly lead towards pluralistic unity of the diverse cultures (ethno-linguistic groups) and regions/valleys of the Northern Areas. It should also be noted that even though the four giant mountain ranges extend beyond the region, the name has been confined to the Northern Areas of Pakistan as that is the point where they converge.

    In conclusion, I would earnestly request the readers and the inhabitants of the Northern Areas to explore ideas to hit on a name that is representative and wins the unanimous approval of the different geographical, cultural, religious and political entities of the region. It is now up to the readers and the leaders of the region at all levels to be objective and deliberate honestly and rationally on this issue.

    The writer is an international researcher and consultant specialising in cultural and social anthropology.

    fazalaminbeg@gmail.com

  20. The proposed names for our region are indeed a good subject for debate. I am hopeful that our educated youth as well as elders from all over the region will find a suitable name.

    I appreciate the number of people taking part in this debate. Uncle Fazal had raised this issue last year and from time to tome people have been touching upon this issue.

    I would also like to take this opportunity and propose a name, I think would be acceptable to the majority of Gilgit Baltistan. The name I propose is PAMIRISTAN or WADI-E-PAMIR.

    Sher Karim

  21. The fresh lead by Mutabiat Sahib regarding a much needed and urgent matter of naming the region of ‘Gilgit-Baltistan’ a name which has been adopted to replace the official ambiguous and obsequious name ‘Northern Areas of Pakistan’ is highly appreciated. An overwhelming involvement by the readers through their comments itself indicates the importance of this crucial matter to the people of the region.

    ‘Zaminstan’ a name introduced and backed up with scholarly argumentation to support the symbolic representation of the ecological characteristics of Gilgi-Baltistan is highly alluring. It is really a beautiful name with sufficient ingredients to represent the features of the area apolitically. However, like many other commentators I fear if the linguistic origin as Mutabiat Shaib traced in Wakhi may hinder its popular acceptance. I wish conscious minds will look beyond the linguistic boundaries and will give this beautiful and well thought name a fair hearing as a good alternative.

    In order to highlight the importance of the renaming the so called Northern Area’s beyond the ongoing debate, it would be more appropriate to take it to an organized institutional level till the objective will be achieved. In this regard I will humbly suggest for Karakorum International University (KIU) as mother institute of the area to take a lead through organizing seminars and debates by involving people from all walks of life with the best possible media involvement. The objectives of this project may be, a) Creating a consensus on a name from existing pool as well as looking for other possible alternatives, or, developing a procedure to be agreed on a name, b) It should create awareness among the masses regarding the importance of the name of our region, c) It should put necessary pressure on political system to immediately take action to meet this long standing demand of the people of the Gilgit-Baltistan.

    Abbas Ali (AKU-ISMC, London, Alumni)

  22. In response to Mr. Zafar’s comment I would like to say that Zamistan is not a Wakhi word, it is a Persian word used for winter season. As far the use of the word is concern it has been adopted and been used in most of the dialects of the Northern Areas. I appreciate the discussion process uncle Mutabiuat has initiated. At least people of the area will think for a suitable name. Zamistan, Tabistab or Baharistan, or even Badakhshan, I think the more suitable name is Badakhshan

  23. Dear Editor,

    I would highly appreciate Mr. Mutabiat Shah for his intellectual and sincere approach for proposing name Zemistan for Northern Areas The proposed name is not only representing the geographical location, cultural & tradition of NA but also attracts the surrounding areas of Wakhan Belt i.e. China, Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Chitral. I agree with the proposed name of Zemistan for Northern Areas.

    Regards,
    Mohammad Yousuf Zond,
    Mastuj, Chitral-Pakistan

  24. gud to see different opinions…
    but i think “Northern Areas” is a very good name!
    i suggest 1st we should give all basic rights and basic identity to our region (which needs voluminous efforts to be done) then changing the name will be a matter of only a single resolution. comeonnnnn guyz discuss facts and events…whats so special in the name???? perhaps our region has a partial affiliation with PAKISTAN rather being a part!!!! when a child is born a gud name is given to him/her , and in my opinion that will be the right time to suggest a name when it is a newly born Province or so……….
    K.A.B?

  25. First i would like to congratulate Mutabiat Shah sb for his scholaristic approach and suggested an attractive name “Zamistan” to replace the so called name of Northern Areas to this beautiful pice of land on the earth.Indeed it is a matter of concern that we are still nameless and without identity after lapse of half century of our affiliation with Pakistan.The name of Nothern Areas has badly publisized by the media during earthquack in NWFP and Kashmir and now the terrorism in FATA which is labled as” Northern Areas”.The elected representatives of NALA are nither unable to pass a resolution against the medias misrepresentation of the region nor their constituted committee has the capacity to develop a consensus among the diversified ethnic and linguistic groups for a representative name.The PT has provided plateform to intellectuals and professionals to debate on such important issues and this should be shared to the print media and to the politicians of the area to proceed further for its mplementation.

  26. Cheers Mutabiat for putting a rationale, cool, logical and meaningful name for Northern Areas of Pakistan. The proposed name very well signifies the common features of Northern Areas.

  27. Dear Editor,
    It is really bold step taken by the Northern Area Legislative Council toward renaming Northern Areas as Gilgit-Baltistan. The name proposed by the NALC is only representing two districts out of seven districts. It is suggested the NALC should re-debate on the renaming of Northern Areas involving elected representatives of Ghizer, Astore, Hunza, Diamer, Gilgit, Skardu and Ghanche to propose reprentive name for the NA like Zemistan etc.

    Regards,
    Mohammad Yousuf Zond
    Mastuj, Chitral.

  28. I read the article it is indeed a though provoking timely article. However, my only critic is that the author has associated the word with only Wakhy, where as my understanding is the word is also used in Persian language for the same thing. Had the author introduce the root of the word in Persian literature it would have become more acceptable for the critics, as Persian language is more accept to the people of all region because of the rich literature that has contributed to Islam.

    Aafiyat Nazar

  29. Dearest Uncle ,
    The name you have suggested along with the justifications, historical backgrounds, support of geographical justifications etc. is exuberently amazing and preferrable. But, recently we came to know that the NALA has passed a legislation in which the name of northern areas is to be changed to Gilgit Baltistan. I think this name represents only the two districts of Gilgit and Baltistan. What about the representation of the the other districts of northern areas in this proposed name of Gilgit Baltistan?
    There’s a saying among prospectors: “Go out looking for one thing, and that’s all you’ll ever find.”
    (Robert Flaherty)

  30. This article is articulate and makes an excellent case for “Zemistan” as the name of our area. Apart from being glamorous this name is less or would prove to be less controversial and so has greater chance to be accepted by great majority of the population if not accepted unanimously. I concur that the name should be based on geographical features which remain constant over centuries, is common to every part of our region rather than on demographic, ethnic, linguistic or political connotation which change significantly within a short period of time.

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