GILGIT: Two-day Bam-i-Dunya Film Festival kicked off in Gilgit on Friday to mark the International Mountain Day with the aim to promote responsible mountain tourism in Gilgit-Baltistan.

The inaugural ceremony of the event was held at the Karakoram International University.

WWF-Pakistan in collaboration with the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development, GB tourism department and other organisations is organising the event.

GB chief secretary Asif Khan, tourism secretary Rashid Ali, home secretary Mohammad Ali Randhawa, forest and wildlife secretary Sumair Syed, WWF’s regional head Haidar Raza, experts, researchers and students participated in the inaugural ceremony.

The event provides a platform to the filmmakers belonging to GB and Chitral as they are keen on documenting mountain ecology and socioeconomic and climatic changes occurring in the mountainous regions.

The organisers said the region was organising the biggest ever film festival for the first time.

The event will enable the youth to share and discuss local and regional challenges, opportunities, success stories, and provide the local researchers and filmmakers with an opportunity to interact, discuss, form networks and to foresee opportunities for joint ventures and play a role for effective policy recommendation.

Speaking on the occasion, chief secretary Mohammad Asif said purpose of celebrating the International Mountain Day was to create awareness about importance of mountains and their protection. He said mountains were facing threats from climate change impact.

Mr Asif said the government made policies from the ideas generated from such events. He said protection of mountains was their collective responsibility.

He announced to celebrate the day at government level in GB as the biggest festival.

GB secretary tourism Rashid Ali said the government was taking every step for promotion of sustainable tourism in the region.

WWF regional head Haidar Raza said unplanned tourist influx to GB was the biggest threat to environment.

Environmental experts explained the threats to mountains from environmental degradation. They emphasised the need for promoting ecotourism and awareness for safety of mountains and sensitive environment.

Published in Dawn, December 11th, 2021

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