The Everest is not spared from the plastic menace and littering. Many humans may not have conquered the world’s highest peak but their trash sure has dominated the previously pristine and sacred peak. That’s the case of most peaks that are being scaled.
In no country you can be asked so frequently a question like “What do you think about Pakistan?”. It is not an open question. The expectation is to hear the positive message you will deliver. But real life and real countries are more complicated. Particularly, when you have to talk about a state led by Imran Khan who waged months of a hybrid war against your homeland.
The origin of the less than 100,000 Wakhi people is Wakhan corridor from where they emigrated but also where they, sometimes, partly came back. Their movements are explained by religion changes (Zoroastrian, Buddhism, Islam), trade, pastoralism, wars (Chinese, Tibetan, Arabs…), oppressions from local rulers (Wakhan Mirs), or more distant ones (Badakhshan Emirs, Bukhara Emirs, Yarkand Khan…), Afghanistan’s harsh annexion with the Pashtun Abdur Raman, Russian and Chinese communism, etc.
On August 21, 2020, Zark Masood commented on my article: “Can we believe in what travelers say about Pakistan? Are they accurate, fair and independent?”. His local feed-back brings relevant points requiring additional explanations. This is the purpose of the following discussion.
Pakistan is a new eldorado for Vloggers and Instagrammers, especially young attractive ladies, who enjoy a support they could not find in other countries. Authorities and national companies find, here, an efficient PR tool in their attemp for creating a country new image. On their side, these travelers can enjoy a mass of followers they could not reach in other less gender seperated societies, offering them the precious status of “influencers”.
The Chinese “Belt and Road Initiative” (BRI), also known as the “New Silk Roads”, is a work in progress that raises many questions. Yet in Pakistan, the Karakoram Highway, commissioned in 1979, may provide us with some answers. Parallel to the challenged sovereignty of the country, it could be observed, until these last months, a religio-patriotic discourse with a questionable consistency and an expensive open or latent state of war seeming to assure a form of national cohesion.
Chapursan Valley, Pakistan, between Hindu Kush, Pamir and Karakoram ranges is mostly inhabited by Wakhi people, a small minority living in China and in Afghan or Tajik Wakhan. Not surpringly this population share a same faith and same religious traditions regardless the recent (on an historical point of view) borders.
In this Ex-Libris are some selected readings about history, traditions, religion, way of life and geographical locations of Wakhi people in High Asia. It was prepared for the travelers who intend to visit the Gojal Valley (Upper Hunza, Pakistan) or Wakhan Corridor (Tajikistan & Afghanistan). It could, also, be a post-travel tool to organise ground observations and to see them in a wider perspective.
Remote and isolated Zoodkhun, the high mountain village of Gojal in Gilgit Baltistan, is a remarkable place to observe and to photography night skies.
The last act of the “Great Game” or “Большая Игра” (Bolshaya Igra), was played where the Tsarist Empire, the British Empire and the Chinese Empire joined in one of the highest and, at that time, one of the most inaccessible places of the planet. There, bristling with giant mountains, Pamir, Hindu Kush and Karakoram ranges converge.