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Mountains Day observed

December 12, 2005

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GILGIT, Dec 11: People of Northern Areas observed the World Mountains Day on Sunday to highlight the plight of mountain people, the ecosystem, natural heritage and challenges posed by uneven development to their societies. On the occasion, the Kohsar Community Development Organization, Dubani Community Development Organization and the IUCN-P in Gilgit held a function.

Speaking at the function, Syed Yahya Shah said Gilgit and Baltistan had a unique importance due to their natural beauty and mosaic culture, but lamented that the region had been grouped with the NWFP by major NGOs working for conservation of nature.

He said lakes, green valleys, turbulent rivers and endangered flora and fauna of Gilgit and Baltistan were shown as part of Malakand Agency, which he said was incorrect.

Wildlife expert Ghulam Rasool said they had nothing to preserve or conserve in the region as lopsided development together with greed had plundered everything including the cultural artefacts.

Mr Rasool said the construction of roads and buildings had destroyed and deprived the region of its forests and wildlife, casting a negative impact on tourism industry.

Ahsanullah Mir, an independent development consultant, also spoke on the occasion.