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Over the horizon: Gilgit-Baltistan’s jack of all trades

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GILGIT, HunzaNews,February 9th,  2016: Gilgit may have produced many famous personalities, but Amin Zia stands apart with his versatility and dynamism. Zia, 70, is not only an author, a former radio jockey (RJ), reporter, instructor but also a photographer and a loving father.

Literary realm

Zia is the man behind Saan – first ever Shina anthology published in 1974. Shina is not only the author’s mother tongue but also the native language of many in G-B.

He has written dozens of other books, including Saweno Moriye, Shina proverbs and quotations published in 1978 by Lok Virsa, Islamabad; Shina Qaida aur Grammer in 1985; the first Shina dictionary containing more than 15,000 Shina words with grammatical interpretation; Sarosh-e-Zia: Urdu poetry published in 2010; Bayaak; Text Aus Gilgit containing Shina folk lore, omens, traditions, diction and grammar, translated and published in Germany by Almuth Degener; Search for Gods and Goddesses; and
many others.

His written work is known throughout G-B. Zia has also been presiding over Halqa-e-Arbab-e-Zauq, a literary forum, since 1988.


“I was born [a teacher],” he told The Express Tribune on Monday. Having completed his master’s in Urdu from University of Punjab, he chose to teach in G-B. There was a dearth of local instructors in the region – most teachers in schools and colleges were from Punjab.

“If G-B produces teachers like Zia, the region will not require mentors from outside,” said Muhammad Ashraf, a senior teacher at Public School and College Gilgit. Zia taught there for more than two decades and retired as vice principal in 2003.

Afterwards, he taught at Al-Mustaf School for six years and currently works at Al-Hayat Shaheed Public School Gilgit.

Jack of all trades

Zia was also the first radio jockey when Radio Pakistan started its programme from Gilgit in 1972. In 1978, Zia also became the first man to be appointed as a reporter from G-B for then Pakistan Times.

Obsessed with nature, he also adopted photography as his hobby. With a high resolution camera in his hands, Zia roams Gilgit City, looking for memorable moments and the quiet in wildlife.

“I find solace in taking pictures of nature and its purity,” he said. He plans to publish his pictures and display them at an art gallery.

Talking to The Express Tribune, his daughter and former G-B information minister Sadia Danish said, “My father is unparalleled – he is my friend, my teacher and my guardian.” She attributed all her life’s achievements to Zia’s encouragement, love, upbringing and wisdom.

Published in The Express Tribune

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