DevelopmentGilgit - BaltistanPakistan

[Travelogue] Nepal Yatra

by Nur

My recent tour of Kathmandu, Nepal, revolved around Pamir Times. I had submitted a paper titled “Pamir Times: Blogging and Social Change in the Hunza valley” and, luckily, Panos South Asia, organziers of the conference, liked it. They invited me to present my paper at the conference to which i readily obliged. All costs incurred during the trip were reimbursed by Panos South Asia but I am really thankful to Mr Amin Baig and AKRSP for their help and support.

I was pleasently surprised to meet senior Pakistani journalists like Ghazi Salahuddin, GEO, Waqar Mustafa, SAFMA and Sheheryar Suhail Waraich, GEO, during the conference. Mr Ghazi had been invited by UNESCO while Waqar, Sheheryar and I were the guests of Panos. Talking to Mr Salahuddin about Pamir Times was an honor, for a guy of my stature. He was highly appreciative of the use of modern media technology for information dessimination in the region. I soon developed good relations with Waqar and Sheheryar, who are very accomodating and highly selfless.

The conference began on 3rd May and participants from Nepal, India, Sri Lanka, Bhuttan, Malaysia, China, Afghanistan and Pakistan presented their papers about the broader conference theme, “Freedom of expression in South Asia: New media and old challenges”. All the papers were insightful and offered unique perspectives on how the modern media technologies were transforming flow of information throughout South Asia and the far East. It was really disheartening to see that the Sri Lankan press is still under chains. The jouranlists told horrifying tales of how the press was being persecuted by government in Sri Lanka. Dilrukhshi, a senior journalist, couldn’t bring her laptop and USB to the conference because the airport authorities confiscate such ‘lethal’ objects from the journalists. The conference was being webcast live through a dedicated website.

I presented my paper during the first session, on 4th May. My presentation, which slightly went over the allocated twenty minutes, attempted to inform the audience about the geographic, poitical, cultural and economic realities of Gilgit – Baltistan broadly and Hunza valley, in particular. I dared to say that Pamir Times was the first organized indigenous media initiative of the Hunza valley. I agree that some people tried to introduce monthly magazines from time to time but sustainability issues didn’t make those magazines popular or even long lasting. Pamir Times, on the contrary, has been actively engaged in disseminating informaiton daily for the past twenty months, on continued basis. I also told the audience about the political status of our region, in the broader national context. Waqar and Sheheryar completely agreed with my observations about the inability of successive governments to provide basic citizenship rights to to the two million people of Gilgit – Baltistan. I further discussed the role that our citizen reporters and contributors were playing in making Pamir Times a successful model of community news. I told the audience that Pamir Times wasn’t an ordinary news source, it is virtual social space where ideas and emotions are exchanged by ordinary people of the region, living in all parts of the world.

The presentation was followed by questions and answers session in which pertinent questions about the dynamics of PT were asked by some of the participants. I also recieved some very useful suggestions on how to make PT an even more effective alternative media tool for the entire region. Some NGO representatives, present at the conference, pledged their support and assistance for the cause of Pamir Times. Mr Kishor Pradhan of Panos South Asia, at the end of the conference specifically mentioned Pamir Times as a unique model, working at the grass roots level. He pledged to work with us for removing some of the hurdles PT was facing, like professional training for the citizen reporters, ensuring that ethics of journalism are followed while reporting news, and conversion of PT into a complete, registered, website.

I regret to say that for the time being i wouldn’t be able to share with you the paper and the presentation because Panos is in the process of publishing the papers in a booklet.

The conference finished in the afternoon of May 4 and I was free to roam around Kathmandu.

On May 5, I roamed around the valley, going to temples, bazars, the gate of King’s palace (which has now been converted into a museum, and remains closed on Mangalwar and Budhwar, as the guard told me) and many more places. I found Kathmandu a developing city, similar in many ways to Abbotabad. On the streets of Kathmandu you can see the internal struggle the Nepali society is going through. There is poverty, despair and chaos in many places but you can also not ignore the subtle breezes of change, exhibited everywhere.

The prime minister of Nepal, Prachanda (meaning the “higher source of light and heat”, in the local language), resigned while I was in Kathmandu but trust me, I had nothing to do with his removal. Interestingly, when Prachanda resigned, it rained for two days in Kathmandu. Owner of the “MoMo restaurant”, who cooks wonderful Chicken Curry, told me that while Prachanda was on the seat, there was no rainfall in Kathmandu. Probably exit of the “higher source of light and heat” allowed the rain to return.

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  1. Congrats once again NOOR, we don’t have words to pay u tribute and wishes. KEEP IT UP. WE all are really proud of U.

  2. Congratulations to the management for your commitment and handwork that has led PT to success and this recent recognition on regional and international level in a short time of two years.

    Zulfiqar, Noor and many others who work so hard behind the scene are really doing a commendable job

    This success can be attributed to the zeal and zest of all the contributors for their invalueable contributions and the management for making this virtual common place so attractive for our youth and elders who have been on your back all the way.

    I would also like to request more of our elders to contribute through articles and comments as I personally feel very confident and privileged when I see contributions made by our leaders.

    A fully owned website is needed for the sustainability and further progress of PT. I am personally ready to contribute financially for PT’s own website. Let us all come forward and take a practical step forward in this direction.

    I want to see PT as a premier source of information and a social virtual space that will serve our coming generation for their future source of information and social KUCHA where we can come, meet and share our issues.

    Long live Pamir Times.

  3. Well done Noor, you are really a Torch Bearer for all of us, we all proud of you, please keep it up.


    Karamat Ali Shako

    AAJ TV

  4. Dear Noor
    i would like to congratulate you for this wonderful you have described in the above article it is really a ground reality that pamir times has played its role in educating its readers about various areas which could otherwise would had not been possible.Pamir Times has created a unity among people of a diverse culture besides giving us the news in the right time.By the time it has become the most popular website and its growth is mmanifolds and we pray that it continues in its successful journey with its great objectives.we really appreciate your efforts in this field and hope you come up with the expectations of the people in future as well.this is an example how each one can put his efforts to make the society more educated,socially responsible and play his role to the better future of the area and our youth.this exposure will altimately boost your morale and give you the confidence that those who struggle there is success for them.

    Sher Khan

  5. congrats Noor
    we really appreciate your committment and devotion. As i hav mentioned before” U r really the role model for our youths”.
    im really honoured to be in ur team

  6. Amazing work Noor. Congrats for all your endavours and achievements.

    All the best,


  7. Within just over a year you have achieved many milestones yet we have to go a long way, and climb many new heights. You have consistently shown commitment to public good, stood for the just causes, championed the free speech, and attempted to expose many of the unexamined myths about the development of Hunza. PT has certainly encouraged many of living in different parts of the world to come together and debate issues that are of critical concern for social transformation in Gilgit-Baltistan.

    I wish you my heartfelt congratulations on your achievements and pledge my support.
    Well done!

  8. Thanks Nur for sharing some of your experiences. I hope the exposure that you have received will go a long way in your own professional development and for making PT a more relevant and sustainable venture.

    Congrats and best of luck


  9. the one who has been putting his utmost efforts in developing a very sustainable plat form and more relaible in educating youths without any difference,kicking off the so-called cultures of baisness and nepotism or favoritism.
    this work is another mile stone of Nur, in personal and more common for learn and understand ourselves being real educated not merely certificate holders.
    best of luck Nur for the good works in the days ahead!
    We youths must common up with good thoughts,creativity, new idea’s and information to evaluate our standing and make this plate form more progressive and informative.

  10. Great effort Nur. Keep all youth in the loop to pull more humen resources for this initiative

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