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Protecting the mountains: Striking images take viewers into heart of G-B

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ISLAMABAD: From a virtual tour of the first Italian expedition to K2 to moments captured earlier this year, a photo exhibit titled “K2-60 years later” displays over 50 large sized panels at the 4th Pakistan Mountain Festival held at Lok Virsa Heritage Museum on Monday evening.

HunzaNews, December 9th, 2014.

The exhibition also showcases sights and scenes magnifying lives of residents of Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B).

The exhibition helps audiences travel through history as they move along the museum.

The exhibition also showcases sights and scenes magnifying lives of residents of Gilgit-Baltistan. PHOTOS: HUMA CHOUDHARY/EXPRESS

Starting with a black and white picture of the first Italian expedition to K2 in 1954 that captures a remarkable moment encouraging others to explore the peaks of Pakistan, the photographs move into a collection of collages with descriptions that help explain the unique and simple life of G-B residents.

Capturing the impressive scenic architecture of the region, the photographers capture seasons, food, wildlife, culture, festivals, old graffiti and people in their natural elements.

Pakistan Mountain Festival Director Munir Ahmed said the Italians had made a great contribution towards realisation of mountain research and development and mountaineering for the past 100 years.

“The current exhibition presents some glimpses of their work in our mountain region”, he said.

Talking about the objectives of the festival, Ahmed said “it is all set to promote the concept of working together for mainstreaming climate change threats and conservation of biological diversity and forests and its role for those living downstream.”

He said the festival aims at bringing different stakeholders and youth together for a number of activities, adding that it showcased the culture, livelihood and ecosystem services of mountains in the country.

SEED Project Director and EvK2CNR Country Operations Director Raffaele Del Cima said Pakistan owned three wonderful mountain ranges that were full of natural resources that could bring prosperity to the country only if they were managed carefully.

He said while international tourism to G-B had declined with time, the festival going around the country would lead to an increase in domestic tourism.

While Italian scientists and researchers are providing technical support to the federal and the G-B government to manage it resources, they are also developing new projects catering to locals, he said.

He further said that one tenth of the world population lived on mountains and 60 to 70 per cent of clean water consumed globally was coming from the mountains.

“It is a precious eco-system that we must protect” said Cima.

With the increasing threat of climate change, our responsibility has increased manifold to work together to combat these challenges, he stressed.

Ahmed said environmental hazards in the country’s mountain region had a direct link with poverty in the area.

“We believe that tackling challenges such as climate change, deforestation, loss of biodiversity, sustainable livelihood and solid waste management in Pakistan’s highlands require political will, mobilisation of key stakeholders, sensitisation of public and engagement of communities for reducing vulnerability and ensuring efficient management of natural resources,” he said.

Over a dozen partners are playing their role to make the 4th edition of the Pakistan Mountain Festival a success, he said, explaining that they include CDA, Lok Virsa, GLOF project of UNDP- Pakistan government, Rupani Foundation, AKRSP, SEED Project, EvK2CNR, ICIMOD, Sustainable Tourism Foundation and the Adventurer Club.

Express Tribune

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