It serves as a key to the mountainous regions across Chinese and Indian borders.
This is why Gilgit Baltistan is important for Pakistan. Gilgit-Baltistan is the northernmost region administered by Pakistan as an autonomous administrative territory. Gilgit Baltistan comprises three divisions namely Chilas, Gilgit and Baltistan and further divided into ten districts. The population of Gilgit Baltistan is approximately 1.5 million. The literacy rate of Gilgit-Baltistan is approximately 72%. The population of Gilgit-Baltistan is entirely Muslim.
Many types of sports are in currency, throughout the region, but most popular of them is Polo. The region is bounded in the north by Wakhan strip (Afghanistan) and the Xinjiang province of China and on the south and south east by Indian Occupied Kashmir and the west by Chitral (KPK).The longest river of Pakistan, Indus originates from Manasarowar lake in Tibet. It flows through Tibet, Ladakh, Skardu, Gilgit and to Tarbella. The distance from its source to Skardu is 620 miles. The Terbella Dam, the largest earth filled dam is constructed on Indus. The river Indus is main source of agriculture, food and irrigation system specially the bread basket of province Punjab and Sindh. There are some of the important passes which link Gilgit Baltistan with China, Afghanistan and Indian Occupied Kashmir. Siachen glacier is situated in Baltistan has immense significance.
Tourism in Gilgit Baltistan
Gilgit Baltistan is the capital of tourism in Pakistan. It is home to some of the highest peaks in the world, including K2, the second highest peak in the world. It’s landscape includes mountains, lakes, glaciers and valleys. Gilgit Baltistan is not only known for its mountains — it is also visited for its landmarks, culture, history and people. K2 Basecamp, Deosai, Naltar, Fairy Meadows Bagrot Valley and Hushe valley are common places to visit in Gilgit Baltistan.
The economy of the region is primarily based on a traditional route of trade, the historic Silk Road. The China Trade Organization forum led the people of the area to actively invest and learn modern trade know-how from its Chinese neighbour Xinjiang. Later, the establishment of a chamber of commerce and the Sust dry port (in Gojal Hunza) are milestones.In early September 2009, Pakistan signed an agreement with the People’s Republic of China for a major energy project in Gilgit-Baltistan which includes the construction of a 7,000-megawatt dam at Bunji in the Astore District.
Magnificent glaciers and these glaciers feed rivers (River Indus) that accounts for 75 percent of the stored water supply in the country. The importance of Gilgit Baltistan increased initially with the construction Karakoram Highway (KKH) and now with the start of CPEC. The distance from Gwadar to Khunjerab is 2463 kilometres and the Gwadar port will save at least more than 16000 kilometres of distance for China.
Gilgit Baltistan holds pivotal position in this project as it is the gateway to CPEC. The CPEC covers almost 500 kilometres in Gilgit Baltistan, therefore the success of CPEC depends on Gilgit, the gateway. In November 2020, Pakistan granted Gilgit-Baltistan provisional provincial status.