By Furqan Ali
From cradle to 16, I was Hunza! Spick and span weather, cherished environment, gracious people and where feminine get respect, where woman could travel without fear, or escort, irrespective of the color of her skin, or her age.
Other than its natural beauty, which attracts people from thousands of miles away to visit her, Hunza was also known for its peace, tranquility, silence, harmony and love for all creatures on earth.
Times have changed. More people, aware of the region’s beauty and charms, are visiting to spend summer vacations. And the people of Hunza welcome them, with open arms and hearts. Efforts are made to ensure that the visitors feel comfortable; mistakes, like breaking branches of fruit-laden trees, were forgiven, as has been the tradition.
Steadfastly, the flow of tourists has increased, changing the environment of our motherland. The noise of traffic, dumped garbage, tented meadows, tall buildings and traffic jams, yes, are the chaos that we had hoped our region would avoid. Even more disturbing are the reports that in our area, now some unscrupulous, criminal minded, tourists are harassing girls and making uncalled for advances, by passing remarks. This breaks my heart in a thousand pieces. It is a great trauma for me and every native Hunzai, because we never experienced this absurdity in our “mini heaven”, and we have never allowed this tradition to be a part of Hunza!
I am writing these words, because I want to be part of the solution. We shall not let such incidents go unchecked, and unpunished. There are laws, and traditions, to stand guard against those who cross their limits.
I would request local tourist to kindly not mess with our environment.
Do visit Hunza or any other part of Gilgit-Baltistan, and spend a great time, but do so without harming, or hurting, or harassing someone, or polluting our environment.
Respect and love our way of life, and we will reciprocate the same. Win respects, not loathing.