Area of Operation

The Gilgit-Baltistan of Pakistan, lying between 72 and 77 degree East and 34.5 and 37 degree North, extend over an area of 72,500 sq km. Diamer District was created in 1972 and covers 6500 sq km of mostly arid mountainous area with a population of 135000 souls, “according to census 1998” spread over 23 main and secondary valleys. Diamer is a gateway to the Gilgit-Baltistan from South western side, as the Karakoram highway as well as the pre-KKH route via Babusar pass, both pass through the district and connect GB to rest of the country. The area is home to 7th highest peak of the world “Nanga Parbat” often narrated as “Killer Mountain”. Climatic conditions are at extreme in various localities. Chilas subdivision has a sub tropical climate with extremely hot summers and severe winters whereas Darel / Tangir and areas adjoining Babusar pass have a temperate to sub alpine features with heavy snow fall during winters and a temperate cool climate during summers.

Diamer has historically been a strongly patriarchal society with strong tribal mores and a heavy influence of orthodox clergy. The literacy rate in Diamer is 9 % (national 58%) female literacy is almost negligible at 0.020%”According to Project Completion Report of UNIFAD”. All the ethics and life style of a typical tribal society prevail. Class stratification runs quite deep with Shin and Yashkoon wielding the political, social and economic clout. Culturally, Diamer was any development practitioner’s ultimate challenge and nightmare. Majority of the people led semi nomad life – going to the high altitude pastures during summers and coming to the lower elevations during winters. Livestock has historically been the mainstay of economy and a strong reason for this nomadic lifestyle – demand for forage forcing move to pastures. The district boasted of largest natural forest, 217,088 ha (77%) of the total 281,600 hectare of forest in the Gilgit-Baltistan. The forest is community owned and nominally regulated by Forest Department.