It is that time of the year when the entire Pakistan is busy talking about the tug of war between Nawaz Sharif and Imran Khan that will take place on the 2nd November. On the other hand, the images of a beautiful valley captured by Matthieu Paley, a National Geographic photographer continues to highlight another aspect of Pakistan we all need to focus on.
Paley visited Passu, the Tehsil headquarters of Gojal in Gilgit-Baltistan situated near Karakoram Highway. Every single picture taken by Paley is revealing the undiscovered beauty of Pakistan that even the locals haven’t seen.
According to Paley:
“With these photos, I hope to add nuance to our understanding of Pakistan, a country many Westerners associate with terrorism or violence. People have suffered from this reputation, and many feel helpless in trying to change it.
The Pakistan I’ve seen is different from that popular perception. I returned there this summer with my family and focused my attention on a young and forward-thinking community in Gojal, a place I know well.”
The Origin Of The People Of Passu
The people living there are known as Wakhi because of their link with an ethnic group of Persian origin. Religiously, they are Ismaili – the followers of Agha Khan.
Don’t underestimate their low resources. The literacy rate of Hunza valley is about 40% and an estimated percent of this area only is 99% that is better than Lahore and Karachi combined.
Liberal, Yet Cultural
Yes, education has made them “liberal” but fully value and practice their cultural values. According to Paley, most of the children now inform their parents about the girl or guy they want to marry and they happily agree to it.
The Real, Natural Beauty
You have to get up early in the morning if you want to see a beautiful sunrise over mountains of Passu, especially the Cathedral Peak. The arches on the mountain make a setting for a beautiful and colorful show, the scenic dance of light and shadows can be observed on the mountain ranges that would bless you with everlasting pleasure.
Traditions Are Very Much Alive
The homes of the citizens are surrounded by fruit trees, potatoes, wheat, and barley. The people of Passu grow crops during short summer.
Tourism Industry Was Devastated After 9/11
After 9/11, the tourism area was affected badly. Only a few thousand foreigners visit the northern areas of Pakistan on yearly basis. The locals who were involved in tourism were forced to sell their jeeps and hotels to start another business.
The northern areas of Pakistan are blessed with the eternal beauty. These photographs taken by the Nat Geo photography revive my faith in the fact that if a foreigner could fortify the image of Pakistan in the world, we can do the same. If Paley, with his extraordinary capabilities is trying to restore the trust of many tourists, why can’t we do it?