Pakistan emerged on the map of the world as an independent sovereign state on 14th August 1947, as a result of the division of the former British India. It lies between 23-35 to 37- 05 north latitude and 60-50 to 77- 50 east longitude. It touches the Hindukush mountains in the north and extends from the Pamirs to the Arabian Sea. It is bounded by Iran in the west, Afghanistan in the north-west, India in the east and south east and Arabian Sea in the south. There is a common border with China alongside Gilgit Baltistan in the north
Climatically, Pakistan enjoys a considerable measure of variety. North and north western high mountainous ranges are extremely cold in winter while the summer months of April to September are very pleasant. The plains of the Indus valley are extremely hot in summer with a cold and dry weather in winter. The coastal strip in the South has a moderate climate. There is a general deficiency of rainfall. In the plains annual average ranges from 16 centimeters in the northern parts of lower Indus plain to 120 centimeters in the Himalayan region. Rains are monsoon in origin and fall late in summers. Due to the rainfall and high diurnal range of temperature, humidity is comparatively low. Only the coastal strip has high humidity. The country has an agricultural economy with a network of canals irrigating a major part of its cultivated land. Wheat, cotton, rice, millet and sugar cane are the major crops. Among fruits: mangos, oranges, bananas and apples are grown in abundance in different parts of the country. The main natural resources are natural gas, coal, salt and iron. The country has an expanding industry. Cotton, Textiles, sugar, cement, and chemicals play an important role in its economy. It is fed by vast hydroelectric power.
Gilgit Baltistan is famous of its geography and scenic beauty. The world’s three mightiest mountain ranges, the Karakoram, the Handukuch and the Himalayans are lie in the region. The whole of Gilgit Baltistan is like a paradise for mountaineers, trekkers and anglers. The region has a rich cultural heritage and variety of rare fauna and flora. Historically, the area has remained a flash point of political and military rivalries amongst the Russian, British and Chinese empires. Immediately after the end of British rule in the sub-continent in 1947, the people of this region decided to join Pakistan through a popular local revolt against the government of Maharaja of Kashmir.
Five out of the fourteen mountain peaks with height of over 8000 meters including the K2 (8611m world’s second heights peak) and some of the largest glaciers outside polar regions are located in Gilgit Baltistan. Acknowledging the vast potential of tourism and its effects on downstream industries, the Government of Pakistan as well as the Gilgit Baltistan Administration are focusing on tourism for creation of employment opportunities, achieving higher economic growth and to introduce to the outside world, “the hidden treasures” of Gilgit Baltistan.
Beautiful landscape, unique cultural heritage and rich biological diversity given the Gilgit Baltistan a competitive advantage in attracting tourists from all over the world.
The number of tourists visiting Gilgit Baltistan has steadily increased over the years, not-withstanding the dip-in figures immediately following 9/11. However, the challenge ahead is not merely to increase the number of tourists visiting Gilgit Baltistan but also to consider how tourism can be better promoted without affecting the natural and cultural heritage of the area, while also improving the quality of life of people to the desired level.