A tourist’s reflections about the graffiti on walls along the Karakoram Highway

Ahsan Jahangir

 I visited Gilgit-Baltistan recently for some business. Being a travel enthusiast, on my return from Skardu, I opted to go by road.
The road goes along the Bhasha Dam site passing through Kohistan district, Hazara division, and then to Islamabad. Army and FC posts are visible all over the area and security has been tightened after the sectarian violence in 2012.
As I entered Kohistan district, I was shocked to see graffiti and slogans painted along the road by a banned outfit against a specific sect. Despite the area being under the control of LEA personnel, the sectarian wall chalking that is to be seen over a long area gave a really unpleasant look to the whole region.
I appreciate that army and FC personnel are doing their job to protect the locals and tourists alike and my appeal is to the local administration and LEAs to do something about the wall chalking.
This issue is serious as graffiti by banned outfits on the one hand challenges the authority of the state, which is responsible to protect all citizens, and on the other hand, is destroying the peaceful image of one of the most beautiful places in the world. The war against terror and sectarian violence has to be fought at all levels and in all the areas of Pakistan.

The letter was originally published in the daily Times

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