About Gilgit Baltistan
Gilgit's Rugged Beauty
Gilgit Baltistan is, perhaps, the most spectacular region of Pakistan in terms of its geography and scenic beauty. Here four of the world’s greatest mountain ranges – the Himalayas, Karakoram, Hindu Kush and Pamir- meet. Gilgit also hosts some of the largest glaciers outside polar regions, as well as a variety of rare fauna and flora. It is one of the most rugged regions in the world.
The Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) region has a geographical area of 72,496 sq. km, with an estimated population of 1.2 million inhabitants. About one percent of the land is cultivated, a roughly equal area is cultivable waste and about 22per cent is rangelands, four per cent natural forest and the rest is mountains, glaciers, riverbeds, scree and rock.This region forms Pakistan’s northernmost frontiers with Afghanistan, China, and the Indian and Pakistani controlled parts of Kashmir.
Cycle of Poverty in Gilgit
Though Gilgit has large reserves of mineral ores and gemstones including peridot, aquamarine, topaz, ruby and emerald, the region is one of the most under-developed, politically marginalised and ecologically fragile areas of Pakistan.
A recent study of eight countries of the Hindu-Kush Himalayas reveals that, with the exception of India, poverty is highest in the mountains A significant proportion of the mountain people live in difficult terrain, far from the centres of commerce and power, and exert little influence over the policies and decisions that influence and shape their lives and livelihoods.
Remoteness and inaccessibility add to the problem of poverty, as isolated areas have the least access to new information, technology and services. The result is a vicious cycle of poverty where over-development of arable land leads to more poverty, vulnerability and insecurity.