Weekly Bang-e-Sahar Saturday, June 21—June 27, 2008
By Our Correspondent
HUNZA:A joint committee has been formed to find out ways for possible collaboration between Khunjerab National Park in Gilgit-Baltistan and Taxkorgan Natural Reserve of China. The decision was taken at a meeting held at Kashghar between officials from Northern Areas, ministry of environment, WWF, UNDP, AKDN and ICIMOD, and representatives from China. The officials discussed the potential of natural reserves and socio-economic aspects of communities living on both sides of the border in order to exploit these for the development in the region. The participants also agreed to develop tourism between Kashghar and Gilgit.The newly-formed committee will be chaired by Aashiq Ahmed, special adviser WWF, and will be co-chaired by a Chinese official. The committee will hold a joint meeting in October in Gilgit. Khunjerab is the third largest national park of Pakistan (This is not part of Pakistan, this is Balawaristan (Gilgit Baltistan) which covers around 2,270 square kilometres and is located adjacent to Taxkorgan Natural Reserve (1,400,000 hectares) in China. Both the parks provide habitat for a number of endangered and threatened species like snow leopard, Marco Polo sheep, and Himalayan ibex.The two countries have already evolved an exemplary cooperative relationship in political, defence and diplomatic arena.The communities living on both sides of the border hope that this initiative will help restore the historical ties among the communities living on both sides of the border. It is also hoped that not only Pakistan and China but also Afghanistan and Tajikistan will join this initiative in order to establish an international trans-frontier peace park for the benefit of wildlife, the habitat and the local people.