Silk Route Festival: Ukrainian ambassador declares Gilgit-Baltistan as a safe destination for tourists
The Silk Route Festival returned to its full fore on Sunday, 28th October when the Gilgit-Baltistan Governor Pir Karam Ali Shah inaugurated the three-day Festival at the Karakorum International University. The festival is organized after a lapse of 13 long years and is currently being witnessed by a strong contingent of foreign dignitaries as well as domestic tourists.
Gilgit-Baltistan which was promulgated as the fifth province by the Federal Government a few years ago, has since been striving to promote tourism in the region. The Nanga Parbat massacre earlier this year caused a massive down slide in the tourism industry of the province and the statistics of the foreign tourists and visitors tumbled down to the lowest in several years.
“G-B has much to offer to the rest of the world and its potential can be utilised by making investments in the region,” said the governor.
The venue also played host to foreign dignitaries from countries like Ukraine, Korea, and Syria who were driven through the legendary Karakorum Highway to reach the venue. Rightfully named as the Silk Route Festival, the region has been part of the ancient trade route operating for thousands of years between the highlands of China and the plains of modern day Pakistan, Iran and India.
The event was honoured with the presence of the Ukrainian ambassador Volodymyr Lakomov, who visited the region for the second time followed by his emergency visit during the Nanga Parbat incident. The ambassador was greeted by the children and women of the Hunza and Gojal dressed in their traditional attire.
Mr. Lakomov was also entertained by traditional dancers who performed to the tunes of the local musical instruments.
“I saw the young and the old dancing to the tunes. It was really an amazing performance. Let me say it’s really good to be here with them,” said the ambassador. “I came here to see for myself, the land, its culture, music and way of living. Now I am convinced it’s a safe and secure place for foreigners.”
Overwhelmed with the hospitality of the G-B people, Mr. Lakomov encouraged the foreign community to visit the region as it is now safe for the tourists and the mountaineering expeditions from world over.
The foreign delegates were later taken to various other historic places on the Karakorum Highway. The delegation also made a stopover at Sikanderabad, a point which marks the exact location of the collision of the Indian and Eurasian Tectonic plates which caused the creation of the Himalayas and Karakorum.