Sunday, December 14, 2014

Bulldozing of Heritage

Saudi Arabia Bulldozes Over Its Heritage also see CONSERVING HERITAGE
By Carla Power
TIME Magazine, Nov. 14, 2014
An aerial view shows the Clock Tower, the Grand Mosque, and surrounding constructions sites in the holy city of Mecca, in 2013.An aerial view shows the Clock Tower, the Grand Mosque, and surrounding constructions sites in the holy city of Mecca, in 2013. Fayez Nureldine—AFP/Getty Images
Over 98% of the Kingdom's historical and religious sites have been destroyed since 1985, according to the U.K.-based Islamic Heritage Research Foundation
For centuries the Kaaba, the black cube in the center of Mecca, Saudi Arabia that is Islam’s holiest point, has been encircled by arched porticos erected some three centuries ago by the Ottomans, above dozens of carved marble columns dating back to the 8th century. But earlier this month, any vestiges of the portico and columns were reduced to rubble, cleared to make way for the Saudi government’s expansion of Mecca’s Grand Mosque.

The $21 billion project, launched in 2011, is designed to meet the challenges of accommodating the millions of pilgrims who visit Mecca and Medina every year. Around 2 million currently visit during Hajj alone, the annual pilgrimage that happens during the last month of the Islamic calendar. But activists charge that the recent destructions are part of a much wider government campaign to rub out historical and religious sites across the Kingdom.

Over the last few years, mosques and key sites dating from the time of Muhammad have been knocked down or destroyed, as have Ottoman-era mansions, ancient wells and stone bridges. Over 98% of the Kingdom’s historical and religious sites have been destroyed since 1985, estimates the Islamic Heritage Research Foundation in London. “It’s as if they wanted to wipe out history,” says Ali Al-Ahmed, of the Institute for Gulf Affairs in Washington, D.C.

Though the Saudi rulers have a long history of destroying historical sites, activists say the pace and range of destruction has recently increased. A few months ago, the house of Hamza, the Prophet Muhammad’s uncle, was flattened to make way for a Meccan hotel, according to Irfan Al Alawi, executive director of the Islamic Heritage Research Foundation. There have even been rumored threats to Muhammad’s tomb in Medina and his birthplace in Mecca.

A 61-page report, published recently in Saudi Arabia’s Journal of the Royal Presidency, suggested separating the Prophet’s tomb from Medina’s mosque, a task “that would amount to its destruction,” Alawi says. “You can’t move it without destroying it.” Moreover, he alleges, plans for a new palace for King Abdullah threaten the library atop the site traditionally identified as the birthplace of Muhammad. Even now, signs in four languages warn visitors that there is no proof that the Prophet Muhammad was born there, “so it is forbidden to make this place specific for praying, supplicating or get [sic] blessing.”

Wahhabism, the prevailing Saudi strain of Islam, frowns on visits to shrines, tombs or religio-historical sites, on grounds that they might lead to Islam’s gravest sin: worshipping anyone other than God. In recent years, the twin forks of Wahhabi doctrine and urban development have speared most physical reminders of Islamic history in the heart of Mecca. The house of the Prophet’s first wife, Khadijah has made way for public toilets. A Hilton hotel stands on the site of the house of Islam’s first caliph, Abu Bakr. Famously, the Kaaba now stands in the shade of one of the world’s tallest buildings, the Mecca Royal Clock Tower, part of a complex built by the Bin Laden Group, boasting a 5-story shopping mall, luxury hotels and a parking garage.

Saudi officials did not respond to interview requests, but in the past, they have said that the expansion project is necessary to cater to the ever-growing number of pilgrims to Saudi Arabia, a number forecast to reach 17 million by 2025. When it’s done, the expansion of the mataf, the area where the faithful circumambulate around the Kaaba, will treble its capacity, to 150,000 people; the Great Mosque will be able to hold 2.5 million.

Amir Pasic, of IRCICA, the culture organization of the 56-nation Organization of Islamic Conference, points out that the logistics for Hajj dwarf those required for a World Cup or Olympics. “Every time has the right to make changes on the existing urban set-up,” he said. “Every generation tries to develop something. The Kaaba is what’s important.”

If Mecca’s new skyline is impossible to ignore, what with 48 searchlights beaming from the top of the Clock Tower, other changes to the landscape are more insidious. “Everyone’s focused on [the two mosque expansion projects], but people are not focusing on what we’re losing in the meantime,” says Saudi activist, poet and photographer Nimah Ismail Nawwab. After blue markings appear on sites mentioned in Islamic histories, says Nawwab, then the bulldozers come–often in the dead of night. “Everything happens at night,” she told TIME by phone from Saudi Arabia. “By the next day in the morning, the monument is gone.”

It’s not just in Mecca, either. Over a year ago, the split in Mount Uhud, north of Medina, where Muhammad was said to have been carried after being wounded in the famous Battle of Uhud was filled with concrete. A fence went up at the base of the mountain, warning would-be visitors that it was just a mountain, like any other. Six small mosques in Medina where Muhammad is believed to have prayed have been locked. The seventh, belonging to Islam’s first caliph Abu Bakr, has been razed to make way for an ATM. Nawwab, along with a small group of historians and activists, has tried to raise awareness by photographing sites and starting a Twitter campaign, but says “it’s a losing battle, despite the fact that what’s being lost is not just Muslim history, but human history.”

When the Taliban blew up the Bamiyan Buddhas in Afghanistan in 2001, they were met with international condemnation. The response to the demolition activity in the Kingdom, by contrast, has been decidedly muted. “When it comes to Mecca, as far as we are concerned it’s a Saudi question,” says Roni Amelan, a spokesman for UNESCO, the United Nation’s cultural body. The Saudi government has never submitted Mecca for inclusion on the list of World Heritage Sites. As UNESCO’s mandate requires a respect for the sovereignty of individual countries, “we don’t have a legal basis to stake a position regarding it,” adds Amelan.

Muslim governments, perhaps mindful of the power of the Saudis to cut their quotas for how many pilgrims can attend Hajj, have been strikingly silent on the issue. The Organization of the Islamic Conference has also been noticeably quiet on the destruction of the Saudi campaign. One exception has been Turkey, whose Ottoman heritage has also long been under threat. In September, Mehmet Gormez, head of the Dinayet, Turkey’s Directorate of Religious Affairs, told journalists that he told Saudi’s minister of Hajj that the skyscraper overshadowing the Kaaba “destroys history,” the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet Daily News reported. “History is being destroyed in the Holy Land each day,” he added.

For pilgrims old enough to remember the dangerous crush of crowds in the 1980s, the spate of new development may be welcome, offering a chance for comfort on their spiritual journey. For other Muslims, like Ziauddin Sardar, author of the recent Mecca: The Sacred City, the vigor of the Saudi campaign springs from financial jitters. “The Saudis know the oil is going to run out,” he said. “Hajj is already their second major source of income, after oil. They look at Dubai, and Qatar, and ask ‘what are we going to do?’ And they say, ‘We have Hajj, and we’re going to exploit it to the max.'”

Carla Power is the author of If the Oceans Were Ink: A Journey to the Heart of the Quran (Henry Holt: April, 2015

الله حافظ!
محمّد عبد الحمید
مصنف، "غربت  کیسے مٹ سکتی ہے" (کلاسیک پبلشرز، لاہور)

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Jinnah as a Lawyer

Jinnah and Colonel Blimp
Khalid Hasan
The Friday Times,
May 16, 2005

Although everyone says what a superb lawyer Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah
was, rarely does one get to read anything about the court appearances that
earned him that reputation.

I remember years ago in
Lahore, Safdar Mir, the great Zeno of Pakistan Times ,
telling me about the Quaid's contribution to the "Indianisation" of the
British-led and officered army. Though I never made the effort to look up how
and where the Quaid had made his contribution, what Safdar Mir has said remained
engraved in my memory.

The other day, while reading the autobiography of the late Maj. Gen. Ajit Anil
"Jik" Rudra, who originally came from Lahore, served in three armies, fought in
both World Wars and died in India in 1997 at the age of 93, I came upon an
episode that showed that the Quaid's reputation as a brilliant lawyer was not a
Pakistani myth but a fact.

The Government of India appointed a committee of the legislature - I am not
clear about the year - to study the question of Indianising the army. British
officers were unabashedly racist when it came to Indian officers being posted to
purely British officered units. Curiously, British officers invariably enjoyed
close relationships with the men and ORs (other ranks) who served under them.
The Subedar Major, for instance, used to be known as "Kala Karnail." But when it
came to officers serving with them as their equals, juniors and, especially, as
their seniors, or dining with them in their all British messes, or frequenting
their clubs, they found it unacceptable. Col. Ronny Datta, a retired Indian
officer, told me that he had seen a sign at the front door of the once
all-British Fort William Club in
Calcutta that said, 'Indians and Dogs not

The Committee appointed to study the sensitive Indianisation question included
Muhammad Ali Jinnah. Lt Rudra who had been commissioned in England during the
First War and who fought gallantly in the trenches in France during one of the
most brutal military campaigns of all times, was asked to appear before that
Committee. He was presented to the Committee that included Pandit Motilal Nehru
by one Gen. Skeen with the words, "Gentlemen, here you have a young Indian
King's Commissioned officer. He served in the ranks of the British Army during
the Great War and is now serving in an Indian regiment. You have just heard his
commanding officer's opinion of him. Please ask him any questions you may have
of him."

Rudra recalls that Mr Jinnah was the first member of the Committee to address
him. He began by asking a number of questions about his conditions of service,
including what commands and appointments he had held. Then he said in a "more
serious tone," "Mr Rudra, I must warn you that the proceedings from now till I
finish will be in camera. I want you to understand that clearly." Rudra writes
that although he did not have the foggiest idea what "in camera" meant, he
replied, "Yes, sir." Mr Jinnah then asked the Chairman of the Committee if he
could send for one Colonel Pope again, a British senior officer he had obviously
questioned before Rudra had been brought in. The Colonel was the commanding
officer of the 4th Hyderabad Regiment, an Indianised battalion in which Thimayya
(one day to become the commander-in-chief of independent
India's army) and some
other Indian officers had been serving for the past two or three years.

Mr Jinnah's opening question to Col. Pope was, "Col. Pope, in your evidence
earlier you said that in your opinion, no Indian is fit to take the place of a
British officer." "Yes," the British officer answered. The colonel then looked
Rudra "full in the face and repeated those very same words." Mr Jinnah's next
question was, "Colonel, could you please give us your reasons for holding such
an adverse opinion of Indians?" Pope hesitated for a while, then said, "Well,
er... for one thing Indians are not impartial in the matter of promotions. They
tend to favour their own kith and kin... and that would be disastrous. Secondly,
they can't be trusted in money matters. That's the general Indian weakness. In
fact, they are totally unfit to hold the King's Commission."

"Thank you, Col. Pope," Mr Jinnah said, "You have of course had instances where
your Indian officers have promoted their own kith and kin overlooking more
suitable personnel?" 
Col. Pope hesitated before replying, "Er... well, no. But I
know that that's what they would do if given half a chance." Mr Jinnah's
response was immediate, "So, it is just prejudice - you have no concrete fact,
no particular case to back up your statement." The trap that Mr Jinnah was
laying for Col. Blimp was exactly what he walked into. "I know I am right," he

Mr Jinnah then asked him calmly, "I see. Now, as regards money matters, how many
cases of mishandling money by Indian officers and untrustworthy behaviour in
financial dealings have you had to deal with?"
 Col. Pope was now fully trapped
but he remained arrogant, "Well, er... there have been no actual cases. They
wouldn't dare while I am their commanding officer. But if left to themselves,
they can't be trusted." Mr Jinnah's response was razor sharp: "But these are
merely opinions and prejudices. Can you not back them up with facts?"
Colonel remained silent and, as Rudra recalls, "he was beginning to turn a
little red in the face by then." Mr Jinnah now went for the coup de grace .
"Colonel, I must ask you to be more specific. Why have you formed these
opinions? You must have some reason." Col. Pope replied, "Well, my Subedar Major
holds these opinions too, He is quite definite about them."

At this point, Mr Jinnah went for the kill, "I see, so you are merely voicing
your Subedar Major's prejudices. In that case, we might be better off asking him
to appear before us instead of you. Thank you Colonel. I have nothing further to
ask you."

I suppose this was how the Quaid-i-Azam won the case for
Pakistan, though had he
known who was going to inherit his great legacy, he might have developed second

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Extracts from Raymond Baker's book Capitalism’s Achilles Heel - On Deeds of Present Day Rulers of Pakistan

Benazir Bhutto on pages 77-82:

Born in Karachi in 1953 and educated in private schools, Benazir Bhutto graduated from Radcliffe College at Harvard University in 1973. Going on to Oxford for a master’s degree, she displayed her budding political skills and was elected president of the Student Union in 1977. Meanwhile, her father had become prime minister of Pakistan in 1971, was ousted in a military coup in 1977, and was executed in 1979 on charges of conspiracy to commit murder. In and out of prison and house arrest, Benazir was not allowed to leave the country until 1984 but then returned to lead the democracy movement two years later. Her father’s usurper, General Muhammad Zia ul-Haq, was killed in a mysterious plane crash in 1988, which also took the life of the U.S. ambassador Arnold Raphel, and the head of the U.S. military aid mission to Pakistan, General H.M. Wasson. Benazir was elected prime minister that year, served until her ouster in 1990 on charges of corruption and nepotism, was reelected in 1993, and ousted again in 1996, amidst more charges of corruption. During her two terms in office and since, what has come out portrays Bhutto and her husband Asif Ali Zardari as world-class thieves.

Upon taking office in 1988, Bhutto reportedly appointed 26,000 party hacks to state jobs, including positions in state-owned banks. An orgy of lending without proper collateral followed. Allegedly, Bhutto and Zardari “gave instructions for billions of rupees of unsecured government loans to be given to 50 large projects. The loans were sanctioned in the names of ‘front men’ but went to the ‘Bhutto-Zardari combine.’ ” Zardari suggested that such loans are “normal in the Third World to encourage industrialisation.” He used 421 million rupees (about £10 million) to acquire a major interest in three new sugar mills, all done through nominees acting on his behalf. In another deal he allegedly received a 40 million rupee kickback on a contract involving the Pakistan Steel Mill, handled by two of his cronies. Along the way Zardari acquired a succession of nicknames: Mr. 5 Percent, Mr. 10 Percent, Mr. 20 Percent, Mr. 30 Percent, and finally, in Bhutto’s second term when he was appointed “minister of investments,” Mr. 100 Percent.

The Pakistan government’s largest source of revenues is customs duties, and therefore evasion of duties is a national pastime. Isn’t there some way to tap into this major income stream, pretending to fight customs corruption and getting rich at the same time? Of course; we can hire a reputable (or disreputable, as the case may be) inspection company, have the government pay the company about a one percent fee to do price checking on imports, and get multimillion-dollar bribes paid to us upon award of the contracts. Société Générale de Surveillance (SGS), headquartered in Switzerland, and its then subsidiary Cotecna, the biggest group in the inspection business, readily agreed to this subterfuge.

Letters in 1994 promised “consultancy fees,” meaning kickbacks, of 6 percent and 3 percent to two British Virgin Island (BVI) companies, Bomer Finances Inc. and Nassam Overseas Inc., controlled by Bhutto and Zardari. Payments of $12 million were made to Swiss bank accounts of the BVI companies. SGS allegedly has paid kickbacks on other inspection contracts around the world. Upon being accused in the inspection kickback scheme, Bhutto sniffed, “I ran the government to the best of my honest ability. And I did it for nothing but acknowledgment and love.”

Then there was the 1994 deal to import $83 million worth of tractors from Poland. Ursus Tractors allegedly paid a 7 percent commission to another of Zardari’s Caribbean companies, Dargal Associated. Bhutto waived import duties on the tractors, costing the Pakistani government some 1.7 billion rupees in lost revenues. Upon discovery of this scheme the Poles hastened to turn over 500 pages of documentation confirming the kickback.

The Polish tractor deal was just a warm-up for the French fighter jet deal. After the U.S. government cancelled a sale of two squadrons of F-16s, Bhutto dangled a $4 billion contract for Mirages in front of the French—Dassault Aviation; Snecma, the engine manufacturer; and Thomson-CSF, producer of aviation electronics. Without missing a beat they allegedly agreed to pay a “remuneration” of 5 percent to Marleton Business S.A., yet another of Zardari’s British Virgin Island companies. This would have generated a tidy $200 million for the Bhutto-Zardari couple, but unfortunately for them she was driven from office before they could collect.

Ah, but the gold deal gave some comfort to these aspiring kleptocrats. Gold is culturally important in the Asian subcontinent, in particular as a way for women to accumulate wealth. Upwards of $100 billion is invested in this unproductive asset in Pakistan, India, and surrounding countries. Smuggling is big business.

Ostensibly to regulate the trade, a Pakistani bullion dealer in Dubai, Abdul Razzak Yaqub, asked Bhutto for an exclusive import license. In 1994, yet another Zardari offshore company, M.S. Capricorn Trading, was created in the British Virgin Islands. Later in the year, Jens Schlegelmilch, “a Swiss lawyer who was the Bhutto family’s attorney in Europe and close personal friend for more than 20 years,” opened an account for Capricorn Trading at the Dubai branch of Citibank. According to a 1999 U.S. Senate report: “Mr. Schlegelmilch did not reveal to the Dubai banker that Mr. Zardari was the beneficial owner of the PIC [private investment company], and the account manager never asked him the identity of the beneficial owner of the account. . . . Shortly after opening the account in Dubai, Mr. Schlegelmilch signed a standard referral agreement with Citibank Switzerland private bank guaranteeing him 20 percent of the first three years of client net revenues earned by the bank from each client he referred to the private bank.” In other words, Citibank was contracting to pay a finder’s fee for millions brought in from dubious sources. Citibank went on to open three accounts in Switzerland for Zardari, with Schlegelmilch as the signatory.

In October 1994, Citibank records show that $10 million was deposited into Capricorn’s Dubai account by Razzak Yaqub’s company, A.R.Y. International Exchange. In December, Razzak Yaqub received an exclusive import license and proceeded over the next three years to ship more than $500 million in gold to Pakistan. Additional deposits flowed into the Dubai and Swiss Citibank accounts, and funds also were shifted to Citibank Channel Island subsidiaries. The original ceiling on the accounts of $40 million was reached quickly

Toward the end of her second term, the Bhutto case took a bizarre turn. Representatives of the Pakistan Muslim League, an opposition party, met in 1995 with private investigators in London who offered documentary proof from an unnamed source of Bhutto’s corruption, in return for a modest fee of $10 million. That deal was not consummated, but two years later, with Bhutto out of office and under investigation, the offer was reportedly concluded for $1 million. The documents “appeared to have been taken from the Geneva office of Jens Schlegelmilch.”

In 2000 Pakistan’s National Accountability Bureau, with the thankless task of investigating corruption, drew upon these documents and other sources and released details of assets and accounts belonging to Bhutto and Zardari. Even to jaded observers, the scale of their holdings was stunning: hundreds of properties, dozens of companies, and dozens of bank accounts. A partial listing of only foreign holdings reported by the National Accountability Bureau is provided in Table 3.4.

Summarizing this and other documentation, the New York Times reported that the material included “. . . letters from executives promising payoffs, with details of the percentage payments to be made; memorandums detailing meetings at which these ‘commissions’ and ‘remunerations’ were agreed on, and certificates incorporating the offshore companies used as fronts in the deals. . . . The documents also revealed the crucial role played by Western institutions. Apart from the companies that made payoffs, and the network of banks that handled the money . . . the arrangements made by the Bhutto family for their wealth relied on Western property companies, Western lawyers and a network of Western friends.”

Even the Swiss finally had had enough. Seventeen bank accounts linked to Bhutto and Zardari were frozen. The two were charged with money laundering in connection with bribes received from the inspection company SGS and were convicted by a Swiss court in 2003, with fines and suspended prison sentences. This was short-lived; the decision was overturned and referred back to cantonal prosecutors upon appeal. Meanwhile, Zardari was in prison in Pakistan from 1996 to 2004 on assorted charges.

Bhutto, with her father executed, two brothers assassinated, her mother an amnesiac, her husband still troublesome, and she living in exile between London and Dubai, portrays herself as the victim: “I never asked for power. I think they [the Pakistani people] need me. I don’t think it’s addictive. You want to run away from it, but it doesn’t let you go. . . . I think the reason this happens is that we want to give love and we receive love.” Save your tears. In the global collection of displaced leaders, Benazir Bhutto may be the least sympathetic character of all.

Nawaz Sharif’s Corruption highlighted in Raymond Baker’s book on Dirty Money

Posted: 01 Apr 2012 08:12 AM PDT
Raymond Baker in his book Capitalism’s Achilles Heel: Dirty Money and How to Renew the Free-Market System tried to understand the dynamics of how dirty money works, in his book he elboarately covers the Corruption in Pakistan and takes a swing at both Benazir Bhutto & Nawaz Sharif to say [Credit @Aleem_Ashraf]

Corruption and criminality run from the top down, with the political class constantly looting the national treasury and distorting economic policy for personal gain. Bank loans are granted largely on the basis of status and connections. The rich stash much of their money abroad in those willing western coffers, while exhibiting little inclination to repay their rupee borrowings. Pakistan’s recent history has been dominated by two families—the Bhuttos and the Sharifs—both merely tolerated by the military, the real power in the country. When it comes to economic destruction, there’s not a lot of difference among the three.
Pages 82-85 of the book cover the section on Nawaz Sharif:

While Benazir Bhutto hated the generals for executing her father, Nawaz Sharif early on figured out that they held the real power in Pakistan. His father had established a foundry in 1939 and, together with six brothers, had struggled for years only to see their business nationalized by Ali Bhutto’s regime in 1972. This sealed decades of enmity between the Bhuttos and the Sharifs. Following the military coup and General Zia’s assumption of power, the business—Ittefaq—was returned to family hands in 1980. Nawaz Sharif became a director and cultivated relations with senior military officers. This led to his appointment as finance minister of Punjab and then election as chief minister of this most populous province in 1985. During the 1980s and early 1990s, given Sharif ’s political control of Punjab and eventual prime ministership of the country, Ittefaq Industries grew from its original single foundry into 30 businesses producing steel, sugar, paper, and textiles, with combined revenues of $400 million, making it one of the biggest private conglomerates in the nation. As in many other countries, when you control the political realm, you can get anything you want in the economic realm.

With Lahore, the capital of Punjab, serving as the seat of the family’s power, one of the first things Sharif did upon becoming prime minister in 1990 was build his long-dreamed-of superhighway from there to the capital,Islamabad. Estimated to cost 8.5 billion rupees, the project went through two biddings. Daewoo of Korea, strengthening its proposals with midnight meetings, was the highest bidder both times, so obviously it won the contract and delivered the job at well over 20 billion rupees.

A new highway needs new cars. Sharif authorized importation of 50,000 vehicles duty free, reportedly costing the government $700 million in lost customs duties. Banks were forced to make loans for vehicle purchases to would-be taxi cab drivers upon receipt of a 10 percent deposit. Borrowers got their “Nawaz Sharif cabs,” and some 60 percent of them promptly defaulted. This left the banks with $500 million or so in unpaid loans. Vehicle dealers reportedly made a killing and expressed their appreciation in expected ways. Under Sharif, unpaid bank loans and massive tax evasion remained the favorite ways to get rich. Upon his loss of power the usurping government published a list of 322 of the largest loan defaulters, representing almost $3 billion out of $4 billion owed to banks. Sharif and his family were tagged for $60 million. The Ittefaq Group went bankrupt in 1993 when Sharif lost his premiership the first time. By then only three units in the group were operational, and loan defaults of the remaining companies totaled some 5.7 billion rupees, more than $100 million.

Like Bhutto, offshore companies have been linked to Sharif, three in the British Virgin Islands by the names of Nescoll, Nielson, and Shamrock and another in the Channel Islands known as Chandron Jersey Pvt. Ltd. Some of these entities allegedly were used to facilitate purchase of four rather grand flats on Park Lane in London, at various times occupied by Sharif family members. Reportedly, payment transfers were made to Banque Paribas en Suisse, which then instructed Sharif ’s offshore companies Nescoll and Nielson to purchase the four luxury suites.

In her second term, Benazir Bhutto had Pakistan’s Federal Investigating Agency begin a probe into the financial affairs of Nawaz Sharif and his family. The probe was headed by Rehman Malik, deputy director general of the agency. Malik had fortified his reputation earlier by aiding in the arrest of Ramzi Yousef, mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. During Sharif ’s second term, the draft report of the investigation was suppressed, Malik was jailed for a year, and later reportedly survived an assassination attempt, after which he fled to London. The Malik report, five years in the making, was released in 1998, with explosive revelations:

The records, including government documents, signed affidavits from Pakistani officials, bank files and property records, detail deals that Mr. Malik says benefited Mr. Sharif, his family and his political associates:

• At least $160 million pocketed from a contract to build a highway from Lahore, his home town, to Islamabad, the nation’s capital.

• At least $140 million in unsecured loans from Pakistan’s state banks.

• More than $60 million generated from government rebates on sugar exported by mills controlled by Mr. Sharif and his business associates.

• At least $58 million skimmed from inflated prices paid for imported wheat from the United States and Canada. In the wheat deal, Mr. Sharif ’s government paid prices far above market value to a private company owned by a close associate of his in Washington, the records show. Falsely inflated invoices for the wheat generated tens of millions of dollars in cash.

The report went on to state that “The extent and magnitude of this corruption is so staggering that it has put the very integrity of the country at stake.” In an interview, Malik added: “No other leader of Pakistan has taken that much money from the banks. There is no rule of law in Pakistan. It doesn’t exist.”

What brought Sharif down in his second term was his attempt to acquire virtually dictatorial powers. In 1997 he rammed a bill through his compliant parliament requiring legislators to vote as their party leaders directed. In 1998 he introduced a bill to impose Sharia law (Muslim religious law) across Pakistan, with himself empowered to issue unilateral directives in the name of Islam. In 1999 he sought to sideline the army by replacing Chief of Staff Pervez Musharraf with a more pliable crony. He forgot the lessons he had learned in the 1980s: The army controls Pakistan and politicians are a nuisance. As Musharraf was returning from Sri Lanka, Sharif tried to sack him in midair and deny the Pakistan International Airways flight with 200 civilians on board landing rights in Karachi. Musharraf radioed from the aircraft through Dubai to his commander in Karachi, ordering him to seize the airport control tower, accomplished as the plane descended almost out of fuel. Musharraf turned the tables and completed his coup, and Sharif was jailed.

But Sharif had little to fear. This, after all, is Pakistan. Musharraf needed to consolidate his power with the generals, and Sharif knew details about the corruption of most of the brass. Obviously, it is better to tread lightly around the edges of your peer group’s own thievery. So Musharraf had Sharif probed, tried, convicted, and sentenced to life in prison, but then in 2000 exiled him to Saudi Arabia. Twenty-two containers of carpets and furniture followed, and, of course, his foreign accounts remained mostly intact. Ensconced in a glittering palace in Jeddah, he is described as looking “corpulent” amidst “opulent” surroundings. Reportedly, he and Benazir Bhutto even have an occasional telephone conversation, perhaps together lamenting how unfair life has become.

Saturday, September 20, 2014



Despite the negative impression of the government bureaucracy in Pakistan, I  am hopeful that God fearing officials can deliver to the people they are assigned to serve. With this hope I am sharing ZERO BUDGET proposals on HEALTH, EDUCATION and ENERGY for active participation by the District Government. "Idea Demonstration" projects are in operation in BALTIT HUNZA since September 2013 and the new DC in Hunza is welcome to get an on-site briefing any time convenient to him. Details can be viewed on the following links:
B.   ENERGY and Future Projects: 

Our education system is today antiquated and is not adequately preparing our students for the world into which they graduate. The Google+ community on "Education" serves as a communication hub for teachers, students, and parents to discuss all topics relevant to Education.
CONNECTED LEARNING is when you are pursuing expertise around something you care deeply about and you are supported by friends and institutions who share and recognise your passion. This vision of learning leverages the tools of the digital age to build on education basics while offering young people opportunities to develop skills and literacies needed to thrive in a new world.
SASLLC BALTIT is a ZERO BUDGET idea demonstration project working on TKN CONCEPT in BALTIT HUNZA and advocates replication in all regions where opportunities for WORLD CLASS QUALITY EDUCATION do not exist.
For details visit this link:

Steps towards an Egalitarian/Knowledge Society – Eye Witness Observations
1.  Pre- Election 2015:
a.  Debate between all candidates – “Why should we vote for you?”
b.  Obtain a commitment from candidates to continue efforts to work towards a ROAD-MAP claimed, even if they fail to win.
c.   Funded by AKRSP,
d.  Facilitated by KADO through a joint invitation from HDF, Sujo Hunzo, and Pamir Times and held in Ali abad Hunza.
e.  The proceedings shared with populations through cable TV.
2.  Post Election Events:
a.  Brain storming Session:
                                         i.    Venue: Karimabad Hunza
                                       ii.    Participants: Concerned Intellectuals (including PHDs and other highly educated Hunzukutz). LSO Governance.
                                     iii.    Purpose:
1.  Deliberation on formation of a “THINK TANK” for Hunza.
2.  Workout an outline ROAD-MAP for multi-stake efforts.
3.  Motivate eight LSOs in Hunza to move towards NETWORKING – a pre-requisite towards availing potential of CPEC.
                                     iv.    Funding: AKRSP (see TARGET number two)
                                       v.    Facilitated by KADO and HDF.
                                     vi.    Proceedings shared on Facebook by Ikram Najmi of Sujo Hunzo.
b.  LSO convention:
                                         i.    Theme:            “Public Private Partnership”
                                       ii.    Venue:                Karimabad Hunza.
                                     iii.    Participants:        DC and AC Hunza and Line Departments, Chairpersons of 76 LSOs in GB and Chitral, RC Hunza, AKRSP Manager/Staff of AKRSP, Brigadier Hisamullah Beg SI(M) (for a special advocacy for two topics viz. “Better Future – Reorientation,- Self Help is the Best Help” and consensus on a name by all LSOs in GB/Chitral to represent them in PCECC and steps towards NETWORKING of LSOs as an essential step towards availing possible impact of CPEC on the region).
                                     iv.    Purpose:
1.  Advocacy with Government for initiating Legislative process in GB on the lines of what has been accomplished in KPK (as shared by Chairman LSO of NETWORKS in upper Chitral).
2.  Sharing with government officials the long term development plans evolved by various LSOs.
3.  Need for integrating “Public Private Partnership” in Government ADP in GB.

                                       v.    Funding and Facilitation of Event:                   AKRSP

Opening of Aga Khan Museum in Toronto

 Opening of Aga Khan Museum in Toronto
Date: 17 September 2014 4:14:21 pm GMT+5
From the Prime Minister's Web Site (

PM joins His Highness the Aga Khan in the opening ceremony of the Ismaili Centre and the Aga Khan Museum

September 12, 2014
Toronto, Ontario

Prime Minister Stephen Harper today joined His Highness the Aga Khan in the official opening of the Ismaili Centre and the Aga Khan Museum, situated in the Don Mills area of Toronto, Ontario. He was joined by Shelly Glover, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages.
While at the Ismaili Centre, the Prime Minister toured the complex which incorporates spaces for social and cultural gatherings, intellectual engagement and reflection, as well as spiritual contemplation.
He then visited the Aga Khan Museum, which also held its inaugural ceremony on the same day. The Museum’s collection, which includes art and artefacts from the permanent collection of His Highness the Aga Khan and members of his family, is dedicated to presenting an overview of the artistic, intellectual and scientific contributions that Muslim civilizations have made to world heritage.
Across Canada, Canadian Ismailis joined together at mosques and gathering places to watch a livestream of the events with their communities.
Quick Facts
His Highness the Aga Khan is the 49th hereditary Imam (spiritual leader) of the world's 15 million Shia Ismaili Muslims.
There are more than 100,000 Shia Ismaili Muslims in Canada.
Since taking on his role as Imam in 1957, His Highness the Aga Khan has been deeply engaged in improving the quality of life of the most vulnerable populations, while emphasizing the need to uphold human dignity as well as respect for tolerance and pluralism.
The first Canadian Ismaili Centre was opened in Burnaby, British Columbia, in 1985.
There are currently six Ismaili Centres globally, including the Centre in Toronto. The network of Ismaili Centres reflects and illustrates, through design and function, the Ismaili community’s intellectual and spiritual understanding of Islam, its social conscience and its tolerant attitude.
His Highness the Aga Khan was formally granted honorary citizenship in May 2010 during an official visit to Canada. During that visit, Prime Minister Harper and His Highness took part in the Foundation Ceremony of the Ismaili Centre, Aga Khan Museum and Park.
The Museum is the first in North America dedicated exclusively to the arts and artefacts of the Islamic world.
On February 27, 2014, His Highness the Aga Khan became the first faith leader to address the Joint Session of Canada’s Parliament.
Our longstanding development partnership was evidenced this past May, as the Aga Khan attended Prime Minister Harper’s Saving Every Woman Every Child Summit, where His Highness made a keynote address.
“It is once more an honour to welcome His Highness the Aga Khan to Canada. Our country has a deep and longstanding partnership with the Imamat, as evidenced by his decision to establish the Ismaili Centre and the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto. This partnership stems from our shared commitment to pluralism, civil society, human dignity, and peace and understanding.” – Prime Minister Stephen Harper
“I encourage Canadians from coast to coast to coast as well as international visitors to tour these architectural marvels. I am certain that the Centre and Museum will help to promote spirituality and deepen religious and cultural understanding and respect in Canada.” – Prime Minister Stephen Harper

Posted by: Minhaj Qidwai <>

Secret Affidavit of Yahya Khan

Edited by: Abu Rushd
First Edition: February 2009
Published by: Bangladesh Defence Journal

"It was Bhutto, not Mujib, who broke Pakistan. Bhutto's stance in 1971 and his stubbornness harmed Pakistan's solidarity much more than Sheikh Mujib's six-point demand. It was his high ambitions and rigid stance that led to rebellion in East Pakistan. He riled up the Bengalis and brought an end to Pakistan's solidarity. East Pakistan broke away."

The above statement was made by former President of Pakistan General Aga Muhammed Yahya Khan (February 4, 1971 – August 10, 1980) in his secret Affidavit placed with the Lahore High Court. Twenty-seven years after his death, in December 2005 the Pakistan government released this document for public information. In this affidavit, Yahya Khan describes many sensational incidents that occurred before the 1971 war and after, during his rule. He writes of his role as President, his shortcomings, of how he was used like a pawn in a chess game. He speaks of traitors behind the scenes, of the roles played by Bhutto and Mujib, of how and why the Pakistan army cracked down on Bengalis, how far the Generals were responsible, who were behind the genocide and so on. Other than the Hamudur Rahman Commission Report of 1972, this is the only publication containing the statements of Yahya Khan, giving his version of the events of 1971.

Once the war ended, Bhutto immediately took over power and placed President Yahya Khan under house arrest. The Bhutto government treated Yahya Khan and his family ruthlessly. When General Ziaul Huq came to power in 1977, he released Yahya Khan. It was then that Yahya decided on this affidavit, to record his statements for posterity. He made this affidavit through Advocate Manzur Ahmed Rana of the Lahore High Court.

The affidavit consists of 57 pages. Before the affidavit was filed with the court, Yahya Khan carefully scrutinised each typed page in May 1978 at his house in Rawalpindi . He made a few amendments here and there and then signed the document, declaring it to be the truth.

After a long spell of illness, this military ruler finally breathed his last in August 1980 in the house of his brother Muhammed Ali in Lahore .

In his affidavit, Yahya Khan states how the government had been pushed back against the wall. Awami League President Sheikh Mujibur Rahman gained immense power and Yahya Khan could not accept his attitude. He says that Mujib had brought the administration to a standstill. This was unacceptable, intolerable. This was a rebellion against the government. He says that there was no alternative to military action against this uprising. He says he did not launch Operation Searchlight on March 25, 1971 at the behest of Bhutto or anyone else. He issued these order in his capacity as President and Army Chief in order to quell the uprising.

Yahya Khan, in this document, is unwilling to accept that the cessation of East Pakistan and the surrender of the Pakistan army as a military defeat. He says this is was a naked conspiracy of India. He berates India and Russia for their role in this regard and has all gratitude for the United States and China for their support. He terms Mujib as a patriot, but says that Awami League had a section of radical leftists who were instigating him. They did not want to relinquish the opportunity to materialise India's long cherished dream of breaking up Pakistan.

According to Yahya Khan, it was Tikka Khan who issued the orders to capture Mujib dead or alive. Bhutto had wanted to hang Mujib. Mujib was prepared to change his six-point demand if necessary. The news of America's Seventh Fleet and China's involvement in the war were rumours. Yahya claims that in the end he wanted to leave East Pakistan's power in the hands of Awami League.

Abu Rushd, editor of the Secret Affidavit of Yahya Khan, is a journalist. He is the Editor of Bangladesh Defence Journal. His interest lies in investigative journalism, particularly in the fields of security and defence. He has dealt in this sector while working for various dailies in the past. It is his interest in this field that led him to publish this particular book and also to publish the Secret Affidavit of Yahya Khan in Bangladesh Defence Journal and in Amar Desh, a daily newspaper from Dhaka.

This 112-page book devotes 48 pages to the original text and 24 pages to some rare photographs. It also contains a life sketch of Yahya Khan as well as Rushd's comments on the affidavit.

The book has been dedicated to Bir Shrestha Ruhul Amin who gave his life for the country in 1971.

The book is undoubtedly of interest to those interested in the history of the Liberation War. Abu Rushd says, "Gen. Yahya is nothing but a villain in our history but his accounts on 1971 surely are valuable and matters of reference in pursuing historical evidences. I hope this affidavit will make us know Yahya's part of the quagmire imposed upon us forcibly and unjustly by the Pak military junta."

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

In memoriam: Hermann Berger

German Researchers on Hunza:
Prof. Dr Hermann Kreutzmann
Chair of Cultural Geography and Director of the Geographical Institute University Erlangen-Nuremberg. Extended field research on cultural geography and development problems in Pakistan, China, Tajikistan, and Nepal as well as collaboration in multidisciplinary research programmes such as the "Culture Area Karakoram" project. Major fields of interest: high mountain agriculture, ethnicity and migration in the regional context of Central and South Asia.

Address: Geographisches Institut, Friedrich-Alexander-Universitat Erlangen-Nurnberg, Kochstr. 4/4, D-91054 Erlangen, FRG

Prof. Dr. Hermann Berger (†)

The Indologist and Linguist Hermann Berger, Emeritus Professor and former Head of the Department of Indology at the South Asia Institute, passed away on the 31st of January 2005 in Heidelberg.
Berger was born on the 17th of October 1926 in Koetzing (Bavaria). After school and military service he studied indology and comparative linguistics at the Munich where he also completed his doctorate(1953) and habilitation (1957). In the same year he became Asisstant Professor at the University of Münster. 1959 he was appointed a member of the German-Austrian Karakorum Expedition. It was the first time that he visited the Hunza valley which fascinated him all his life. From 1962 he spent a period of two years as Visiting Professor at the Sanskrit College in Calcutta, India. In 1964, he became Professor of Indology at the newly founded South Asia Institute of the University of Heidelberg and was active there till his retirement in 1993. He was the Director of the South Asia Institute in 1974/75, the Dean of the Faculty of Oriental Studies and Classics between 1979-81 and remained a member of the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences starting 1981.

Hermann Berger was a fine and learned scholar who devoted his life and his research to the study, in particular, of the endangered languages of South Asia. Most of his studies were published as small articles or miscellanea of linguistic problems. Many appeared in the Münchner Studien für Sprachwissenschaft. His extraordinary knowledge of Burushaski, one of the most complicated languages of North Pakistan, earned him international fame in the field of linguistics. His expertise and painstaking work in documenting Burushaski through many fieldtrips in the Karakorum region resulted among numerous report and articles in the three volume standard work on this language:Die Burushaski-Sprache von Hunza und Nager. I: Grammatik, II: Texte mit Übersetzung, III: Wörterbuch Burushaski-Deutsch /Deutsch- Burushaski (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 1998).
Inspite of chronic health problems, the result of the war years, he engaged himself energetically and with great success in teaching, in building up the South Asia Institute and in encouraging research in the classical and modern languages of South Asia. He will be long and fondly remembered by the faculty of the South Asia Institute and his former students — some of them honoured him by the Festschrift Nanavidhaikata (ed. by Dieter B. Kapp, 1999) — for his excellent research, his commitment to teaching as well as his gentle sense of humour and humanity.
Axel Michaels, Heidelberg

E-Mail: Seitenbearbeiter, Studienberater

Im Neuenheimer Feld 330, D-69120 Heidelberg

Monday, September 1, 2014

Water Rights - in Central Hunza

Customary rights of villages/Tribes/Families/Former Rulers are well understood and practiced effectively even after the discontinuity of hereditary rule in 1974. It is also a fact that misinterpretations have also given rise to unnecessary conflicts within communities resulting in court cases, specially after the discontinuity of hereditary rule. It is a relief to know that these customary practices have been researched through CAK project and now we have a reliable written record of the age old system followed in Hunza. It will help the younger generation to arrive at logical collective decisions when the futuristic civil society entities embark on implementing desirable changes in the distribution of water rights that will be necessitated when either new channels are built or the existing channels are improved or utilization options - for example, HYDRO-POWER schemes are implemented and a review becomes essential. This consideration alone has prompted me to reproduce the same on my blog so that it is available to a wider circle in Hunza.


Water Management in Mountain
Oases of the Karakoram

Hermann Kreutzmann


In recent years development planners have been focussing on the expansion of irrigated lands in order to safeguard the nutritional basis for a growing population. In the rural areas of the subtropical belts extending the potential growing period, expanding the area covered by agricultural fields and improving their productivity on a sustainable basis are components of quite common and widely applied development strategies. There have been many successes in this approach, especially from marginal regions where dependence on monsoon rains have been superseded by a steady supply of irrigation water from perennial sources. Mountain regions have been quite marginal to such planning as projects depend on large-scale structures, with major dams creating storage reservoirs to feed canal networks the size of medium rivers in the plains and piedmont areas. The water supply for such projects was tapped from the huge glaciated regions up in the mountains, which have been labelled the water towers of Asia, conducted through major rivers to the densely populated lowland regions. In Pakistan irrigation projects initiated by public institutions and development agencies were concentrated in the compact irrigation oases in Punjab and Sindh, which evolved into their present status from systems begun in colonial times.
The last two decades, however, have signalled a basic change in thinking in irrigation design away from the larger projects, towards the development of more small-scale projects. Since then, mountain regions, which provide the meltwater utilized for irrigation in cultivated oases, have become focal points in water management projects of their own.
Development practitioners have been surprised by the highly sophisticated state of local water management systems in mountain societies of the Hindukush-Karakoram-Himalaya belt.2 Nevertheless, enquiries about their institutional framework and social organization and their impact on existing user communities (Coward 1991) have been neglected and underestimated. This paper presents some of the basic principles of water management and
explores some of the local variations and diversity of these principles in a
case study from Hunza.
Like the pre-colonial irrigation systems of the Indus Basin (cf. Scholz
1985) the mountain irrigation systems are dominated by gravity flow
techniques to transport irrigation water from a source (glacier, snowfield, river, fountain) to the cultivated lands through "gravity-fed" channels. These age-old systems are remnants of indigenous cultural knowledge and
traditional techniques. As developers are now searching for models and
appropriate technologies that are both sustainable and equitable to apply
toward improving these smaller systems, there is a growing need for
understanding the institutions of these irrigation systems and how they work.
Hunza presents us with a model for a water users' community in a region where there is water scarcity and which has developed a sophisticated system of water management (Fig. 7.1). The following analysis focuses on this valley society in the Karakoram. It is felt that a comprehensive knowledge of the functioning of the irrigation network of this area will provide us with
the key toward understanding its mixed mountain agriculture and social
A side effect of the increasing integration of the high mountain regions into a system of exchange relations with the lowlands and piedmont has been the increased provision of agricultural extension services to the mountain oases and that public (national) and private (international) development agencies have begun to become increasingly involved in local
irrigation projects. Three aspects will be emphasized on in the presentation
a multi-dimensional perspective:

1.     regional differentiation of ecological frame conditions and their relation toward utilization patterns of natural water resources,
2.     effects of historical and societal processes in the legal and organizational structure of water user communities,
3.     recent developments in the irrigation economy linked to external interventions and changing economic relations.
From a macro-economic perspective the marginal lands in arid high mountain oases pose a model for the highly sophisticated utilization of a minimum of available natural resources. Water poses a key factor in the whole set-up.

The Karakoram mountains (71°-79° E, 35°-36° N) petrographically and orographically form one component of the young folded mountain belt of Central Asia (Hewitt 1989; Schneider 1956: 8; Searle 1991). The toponym Karakoram derives from the Turkic expression for black gravel or black rock. During the colonial discussion of nomenclature (Mason 1930, 1938) the local term Muztagh has been suggested with the meaning of snowy mountains. These two ascriptions present the ecological range of the Karakoram mountains which on the one hand offer gravel and deserts on slopes and in the valley bottoms and on the other hand are characterized in the upper zones by the most extensive ice cover outside the polar regions.
With an average of 28 per cent areawise glaciation and regional up to 48 per cent (Siachen glacier region) these snowy mountains distinguish themselves in ice coverage significantly from the neighbouring Himalayas (8-12 per cent). The whole range of 500 kilometres length is only transected by river gorges at two points: the Shyok river in the East and the Hunza river in the West cut through the main ridge and the Pleistocene deposits thus creating the canyon-like valleys with bordering flat river terraces and outwash fans/scree slopes. The deeply incised main rivers are difficult to tap for irrigation purposes as the elevation between water level and settlement terraces sometimes spans a vertical distance of over 100 m. Traditionally other solutions for the provision of irrigation water were found, such as the predominant utilization of water from tributary rivers. The Hunza valley has some of the steepest slopes on earth that leaves only limited space for cultivation. Between the Hunza river at Altit (2100 m) and the Ultar I peak (7390 m) the average inclination of the slope ranges around 60 per cent.
The valleys represent a typical subtropical steppic high mountain area with altitudinal zonation of vegetation cover. The classification of vegetational belts begins at the valley bottom with desert conditions. Next comes artemisia steppe where most permanent settlements are located. If one follows the slope gradient upwards, humid-temperated stretches where coniferous woods occur locally at northern exposures. Above this is found the zone of high pastures; an important economic resource is composed of valuable meadows reaching upwards to the zone of perennial snow and ice (Paffen, Pillewizer and Schneider 1956).
Climatically the Karakoram mountains form a barrier between the monsoon-dominated lowlands of the Indian subcontinent and the arid belt of Central Asia with its huge desert basins of the Tarim and Fergana. The Karakoram valleys are thus affected by a monsoonal climatic regime as well as by westerly depressions forming a transition zone (Fig. 7.2). In the 
vertical dimension, extreme differences of precipitation conditions have been recorded between arid, desert-like valley bottoms and the humid nival zone (Hewitt 1989) thus separating potential settlement regions from those where sufficient humidity is available (Fig. 7.3). Climatic data are available for longer periods only from weather stations in the valleys thus showing the limitations for agriculture in the permanent settlements.
The total annual precipitation in these valleys is only about 130 mm on average and is well below minimal requirements for rain-fed (barani cultivation. On the other hand, measurements of ablation and calculations suggest maximum precipitation at 5000 metres altitude of approximately 2000 mm. This significant gradient explains the desert conditions in the villages and the enormous glaciation in the upper elevations.3
Mean average temperatures seasonally vary with maxima in July/August and minima in January with an amplitude of 25° C (cf. Fig. 7.2). In glaciated region like the Karakoram these variations in temperature determine and actuate the volume of available meltwater for irrigation the valley bottoms. The seasonal differences are reflected in the discharg patterns of the rivers (Fig. 7.4). The period of seasonal meltwater relea relates to the climatic conditions and determines in connection with th altitudinal location of settlements the length of the cultivation period f crops in these irrigation oases. The average duration of annual growing.
cycles ranges from 307 days for Gilgit (1450 m asl), 260 days for Karimabad (2300 m) to 195 days only for Misgar (3102 m).
Relief, availability of meltwater and vegetation period in different locations (altitude, aspect) form the parameters for the possibility of establishing sustainable irrigation oases in the Karakoram. The storage capacity of the mighty ice towers is tapped and meltwater are deviated towards irrigated fields in locations which compose ecological and agro-technological niches with favourable conditions for crop farming. Thus the irrigated oases of the Karakoram are located on river terraces and outwash fans in the arid low-lying valley bottoms. They allow a maximum utilization of the limited vegetation period where the provision of sufficient meltwater from side-valleys is safeguarded through a highly sophisticated network of irrigation channels. Overall these cultivated areas cover less than one percent of the Karakoram mountains.

The rural societies of the Karakoram differentiate themselves in many ways despite a principally similar ecological environment and a relatively homogeneous materialized culture. One of the main characteristics of individual valleys poses the traditional social organization. Staley (1969) has distinguished two basic types:

1. Semi-autonomous and independent principalities represent the dominant feature of hereditary rule in the northern Karakoram valleys. Local mir, raja or tham dominated peasant farmers of different social standing places like Gupis, Yasin, Ishkoman, Punial, Gilgit, Hunza, Nager, Astore, Skardu and Khaplu. These rulers over a peasant community executed certain control, levied taxes and requested forced labour services from the rural households.

2. Following the Yusufzai Pashtun conquest of Swat and Indus Kohistan since the fourteenth century so-called acephalous societies or republics have emerged in the mountainous interface of the southern valleys like Chilas, Tangir, Darel, Gor, Kandia etc. They have established egalitarian community to which all landowners belong. They are entitled to participate in the decision-making process of all village activities like distribution of land, construction and maintenance of irrigation chanels etc. No hereditary ruler is present; every member possesses equal rights. The forum for counselling is the jirga, a local assembly basing its decisions on overall consent. Besides the landed members of society there exists a subordinated landless class which works on the fields and as shepherds. They are excluded from all decision-making processes.

Staley (1966) observed distinguishing features between these two societal settings. The cultural landscape of the republics was devoid of any orchards, a trait that has been related to the land rotation system of wesh ' Agricultural tasks are predominantly executed by indebted wage-labourers from outside, who are tolerated as employees. Intensity of crop farming has been low and cultivable land abounds. In comparison with the principalities, the agricultural resources of the republics are abundant and underutilized. There landowners work their small holdings (on average less than one hectare per household) themselves and are engaged in intensive exploitation of available resources. The upper limits of certain crops are significantly higher in the principalities than in the republics. Natural forests have been depleted to a high degree. Scarce water resources are optimized in a highly sophisticated system of water management by ascribing qualified priorities to different crops, orchards and meadows.
In this respect an extraordinary position is held by Hunza which has gained a reputation for the development of marginal resources. Hunza professionals managed to cultivate difficult tracts, their expertise in designing and construction of irrigation networks won them assignments in other Karakoram valleys. In its complexity, the Hunza water management system incorporates a number of rules and, regulations that are applied in different configurations in other Karakoram valleys as well. Where water scarcity is the dominating feature like in the irrigation system of Central Hunza the complexity of water management increases.


The vast majority of all irrigation systems in Hindukush, Karakoram and Himalaya use gravity-fed networks to conduct running meltwater through channels which are directed less steeply than the slope gradient and in some cases nearly parallel to contour lines. The same applies for Hunza where the village lands receive their "glacier milk" from channels that supply enormous amounts of suspended matter at the same time.
This characteristic surface irrigation system consists of main channels (dalk, khul or gocil) which start at the head-works with a diversion of water into filter basins. These are necessary to settle huge amounts of. suspended silt and sand from the meltwater before sending it down the network. Despite these efforts, much sediment still has to be cleared annually from the main channels before the irrigation season starts. The irrigation water is distributed to the fields through a system of secondary channels (sun) which follow the slope gradient. Farmers operate two or more main channels at different elevations (Fig. 7.5). Besides supporting the distribution of water to the field channels, these suit are necessary for the diversion of water from one network to another in case of breaching and to allow for drainage. All main channels below the highest level one are multi-functional.

Individual fields receive their allocated share of water through field channels (dir, irkis) which reach all parcels through the opening and closing of individual field sluices (cak, il). Two different types of cultivation beds (phurun) are used in Hunza: flat parcels for the raising of grain crops and leguminous plants in which some small patches for vegetables (sanie khutkus) are inserted, and furrow beds for root crops predominantly potatoes. The flat parcels account for 97 per cent of the cropland (harkis; Fig. 7.6) and receive irrigation water through flooding. The furrow beds are allocated water by opening and connecting these furrows during a single cycle. The cultivation beds meant for the raising of the staple food crops (harkis) of the village lands (icit) commands first priority of water rights and is given preference against orchards (basikis) and irrigated meadows (toq). The latter are only irrigated during periods of surplus water. These irrigation techniques and priority measures are structuring the village lands.
In regions with a limited supply and intensive cultivation further measures are taken to optimize the use of the available water by levelling the terraces and applying a complex distribution key. Where water is less a factor in the farming system, its management requires less effort and less emphasis is placed on setting up rules and controlling consensually fixed regulations.
Evolution of Channel Network and Adaptation of Irrigation Rules in Central Hunza
The historical dimension in an expanding irrigation system in Central Hunza can be linked to initiatives of different rulers. The core of this system was formed by an old structure of the three oldest settlements, which were supplied with water from individual channels leading to their respective village lands. The Hamaci channel forms the lifeline of Ganesh, and Altit gocil brings meltwater to the village of the same name. Both channels tap the Ultar glacier as their main resource. The Balti-il links the fortified village of Baltic (renamed Karimabad since 1983) with the waters of the Bululo snowfields and springs. This poor resource basin is drained by the Haiderabad Har which provides the Balti-il its offtake. The age of these three oldest channels of Central Hunza has not been established, but they could be well over 600 years old.5
No important extensions to the system were contemplated until Tham Silum Khan III (app. 1790-1825) founded several new villages (thuaan khananc). His reign can be characterized as a period of population growth, immigration of settlers, territorial gains and strengthening of centralized authority in Hunza. In order to establish settlement nuclei in the newly cultivated irrigation oases, he directed the construction of the thuaan khananc as fortified villages. The name of Silum Khan III is associated with the main channel of Central Hunza. The dala (big channel) or Khul Samarkand, as it is locally called, still irrigates the lower portion of the central irrigation oasis between Karimabad and Aliabad (Tab. 7.1). 

Source: AKRSP 1989: 52; AKRSP 1992: 24-28; IOL/P&S/7/165/1094; IOL/P&S/7/171/2013A, 2142A: IOL/P&S/7/172/2263A; IOL/P&S/7/173/283, 351; IOL/P&S/7/174/428; IOL/P&S/7/178/1038; IOL/P&Sl 10/826: 16, 18, 60, 66, 240; IOL/P&S/10/973: 161, 226, 243; IOL/P&S/12/3285; IOR/ 2/1075/217: 50­ 54; IOR/2/1083/ 286: 11; Lorimer 1935-8,11: 353; MUller-Stellrecht 1978: 114; Nazim Khan 1936: 120; PRO/ F065/1507: 29; Singh 1917: 27 and own data collected by observations and interviews 1984-9

All settlers of Baltit participated in the construction of the new channel and through this the people of the thuaan khananc, originating mainly from Baltit (the filial settlements of Haiderabad and Aliabad are composed of the same kinship groups as Baltit), were connected to the dala. This new channel afforded a revised distribution key for the Ultar meltwater, dividing half of the available water into the dala network (two shares), while one share each was allocated for Altit gocil and Hamaci. This distributive formula is still being followed and gives priority to these oldest channels in periods of water scarcity (autumn to spring).
During summer, when surplus irrigation water above the carrying capacity of the old channels is available, newer channels are eligible for water share This newer group is composed of channels constructed under the guidance of Silum Khan's successors. His son and grandson found in wazir Asadullah Beg (1847-85) an able local engineer for further-irrigation projects. Members of his own clan respect his name especially as he enabled the Diramiting tap the Diracil spring and command its waters. In addition to this achievement, he supervised the construction of the second major channel Central Hunza bringing water to the upper fields. The Barber following the course of the dala on a higher contour line supplied the water for newly meliorised fields above the traditional village lands.
On the one hand new channels provided arable land for a growing population, on the other channel projects executed under forced labour conditions (rajaaki) increased the land resources and income of the hereditary ruler and the wazir households. These main channels of Central Hunza were established around 1850 and compose the skeleton of present-day network. A number of smaller and secondary channels complete this system. Water to be distributed in these later built channels can only be supplied during periods of surplus and they therefore serve only a marginal role compared to the main channels in Central Hunza.
During the twentieth century the enterprising ruler Mir M. Nazim Kh (1892-1938) initiated another phase of channel construction (Tab. 7.1). thus irrigation policy was characterized by the establishment of new village oases outside Central Hunza in the single-cropping zone of Ghujal and down Hunza River in the double-cropping zone of Shinaki (cf. Fig. 7.1) thus tapping unexploited or underutilized sources of meltwater. These young villages command, on average, a good supply of water and require fewer rules and regulations than the core oases. In this area, even with its simple regulations, the expansion of the irrigation network and the construction of new channels have contributed to the overall complex codex of water rights for Hunza. In these new areas different rights of water allocation have been laid down for certain channels both for periods of water shortage and surplus. On the other hand the irrigated lands are classified in three groups:

·      First priority of irrigation belongs to cropland (harkis) which requires regular watering during the different growth stages and on which the staple cereals are produced,
·      Second priority goes to the orchards (basikis) providing an additional nutritional base to the villagers from fruit trees which require less intensive and less frequent water supply,
·      Third priority goes to irrigated meadows (toq) on steep slopes within the village lands which are entitled to excessive water supply only during non-growth stages in the other parcels.

This allocation pattern for village lands reflects an irrigation order with preferential treatment of differentiated production zones more than the agro­ecological setting. In channels with "old" water rights, like Balti-il and Barber, one would predominantly find orchards as only surplus water is available for irrigation, not sufficient for cereal production in quantity and variability. During the short period after harvest and before sowing the winter crops no irrigation water is needed for agricultural lands and orchards. Thus the irrigated meadows (toq) are qualified for the full load of available irrigation water (Fig. 7.7).

Seasonality plays a major role in the flexible approach to organizing water management in Hunza. The quantity of meltwater released from Ultar glacier depends on temperature variations which is reflected in the discharge patterns of the tributaries of the Hunza river (cf. Fig. 7.4). The irrigation calendar for Central Hunza takes into account that periods of surplus alter with periods of grave deficiency. The basic water supply is precisely distributed during all seasons according to a legal set which is binding to all participants. This codex is common knowledge and not written down or fixed like in other mountain regions. The contemporary set of rules and regulations is the result of historically acquired water rights of user groups and modifications directed by the hereditary rulers.
The participation of clans and village communities in the construction of new irrigation channels secured their rights to water and lands. Individual channels belong to certain groups of this denomination exclusively. A second

criterion for water distribution is the traditional right of access to irrigation water belonging to certain clans or kinship groups. In cases of kinship and spatial congruency, i.e., when the parcelling of village lands follows a group structure, water distribution is highly efficient as certain areas are irrigated at the same time. Seepage and water losses in a dendritic irrigation network are thus minimized.
Baltit or Karimabad poses an ideally structured example for this kind of setup. Sectors of the village lands are distinguished as belonging to certain kinship groups. The quarters of the four clans of the Diramitin, Buroon, Baratalin and Qhurukuc define the agricultural oasis only modified by the possessions of the hereditary ruler. The miri lands were traditionally located in every favourable cultivation area, like in Bul Mal, Karimabad (Suryas Das), and Bishker. In recent years the majority of the miri lands have been sold to individual villagers of Karimabad thus we find there a mixed kinship-related ownership.
A synoptic table of water rights, irrigation cycles and rules of distribution for the main channels of Central Hunza presents the historic evolution and complexity of water management (Tab. 7.2). First priority of access rests with the oldest channels and rights acquired through kinship participation in the construction of channels. Measurements of water flow in different seasons (Fig. 7.7) proved the applicability of distribution keys. The share structure-Dala: Altit gocil: Hamaci = 2:1:1-is controlled at certain gates where the water flow is diverted into the different systems. In periods of deficiency extra guards control the exact adherence to these distribution keys while during surplus phases control is relaxed.
A second method of rationing is the hourly or daily right of water utilization. For example, the Bululo water is split in a rhythm which allows the inhabitants of Karimabad (Baltit) to use it for ten days, while the Haiderabad people's share is only six days. The water in the Barber channel belongs to the community of Karimabad during the day, while at nighttime the users at the lower end of the Barber (Haiderabad-Dorkhan-Aliabad) safeguard all water for the irrigation of their respective fields. Priority rights of the tham included a sufficient share of water and the irrigation of his fields only in favourable daylight conditions. Even after the abolition of hereditary rule in 1974 the traditional miri water rights remained valid through the connection of water and land rights.
The user communities distribute the allocated water among themselves according to allocation keys which are laid down by their members. A complex system is applied in Haiderabad. Six days of Bululo water have to be divided among four kinship groups (the same like in Baltit). The Haiderabad people have formed six user groups of equal size. Four groups consisting of Diramiting, Buroon, Baratalin and Qhurukuc, respectively, and two groups of Baskaotin (from bask, literally meaning surplus, in addition). The members of the Baskaotin are the extra households of the four clans that are numerically in excess of the group size.
On the other hand, in Karimabad the ten-day-cycle is distributed among the four room in a manner that schedules irrigation for two days and three nights or three days and two nights are allocated to the relevant kinship groups. Every year a different clan begins the irrigation cycle thus avoiding any preferential arrangement for individual kinship groups. Within these user communities the irrigation sequence varies annually from top to bottom and from East to West (cf. Tab. 7.2). These examples illustrate the wide range of possible communal agreements that have been established in order to safeguard equity for all users.
These cycles of six or ten days respectively present no real indicator for the actual time required to irrigate all the fields of a user group. In periods of water deficiency, e.g. during the sowing of winter wheat (Triticum aestivum) in November/December or of summer barley (Hordeum vulgare) in February/March, the total time necessary to irrigate all fields once could amount to forty-eight days. In order to maximize the use of available water the whole community has adapted a cultivation pattern in which the first crops of winter wheat and summer barley are represented in equal quantities (cf. Fig. 7.6). Both are sown in deficiency periods. On the contrary the second crops like maize (Zea mays), millets (Panicum miliaceum; Setaria italica), potatoes (Solanum tuberosum) and buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum and tataricum) are exempted from such regulations. In summer, surplus conditions of no water shortage prevail and the entire village land of Central Hunza can be irrigated within a sixteen-day cycle.
Valuable water resources have to be distributed according to systematic management and plant requirements. Top priority is given to cereal crops on irrigated terraces (harkis). After the first watering (buruui) of all wheat fields, barley is irrigated. Then follow potato furrows, vegetable plots ('san khutkus) and at last lucerne (Medicago sativa). This regulated sequence repeated at the second watering (yktcil) and is only relaxed when sufficie water is available in the old channels. With the end of restrictive water us the first irrigation of orchards (basikis) is permitted. The timing of this da in relation to the summer solstice (21 June) gives the measurement for the classification of a good or bad "water year".
This complex system of rationing is applied in Central Hunza in those settlements that command limited water sources or have grown beyond their resource capacity. Communities with abundant irrigation water do not need such a highly sophisticated distribution key to safeguard a high probability of sufficient crop production. Villages like Altit, for example, allot the annual sequence of irrigation every year through the drawing of lots, while in Ganesh the rotational structure is fixed.
Different kinship groups are in command of day or night cycles. Some water rights incorporate structural inadequacy of the systems, such as in the case of the Barber channel, where parties whose parcels are located nearer to the source are given preference. Karimabad as a whole is allowed Barber water during daylight hours, while Haiderabad, Dorkhan and Aliabad utilize the precious resource at night. The farmers of the Diramitin kinship group in Karimabad profit from the location of their agricultural lands in the same manner as the people of Haiderabad and can divert any needed quantity of water to their fields. The difficult location of Aliabad at the lower end of Barber, Dala and Pir gocil results in greater water deficiency in this village than in others. Topographical features in combination with settlement history pinpoint the structural injustice. An additional factor contributes to the water supply situation, for along the course of the 10 kilometre-long open channels a substantial quantity of water is lost by evaporation and seepage.
Water channels function as multipurpose lines. Besides irrigation, the system provides all washing and drinking water as well. Unfortunately, such channels furnish poor quality drinking water badly affected by contamination. Thus without control of its own water sources, the second biggest village of Hunza, Aliabad, is the most dependent on other areas for drinking and irrigation water supply. The village community is eager to reduce further losses and irrigates all fields consecutively: one year the irrigation starts in the east, the following year in the west.
Ecological limitations are responsible for these rules and regulations to a lesser degree than socio-political and historical events. They laid the foundations for water rights of certain user groups which have to be defended against competitors. Water surplus and deficiency regions are defined by traditional rights of individual groups. Complex irrigation systems afford community efforts during construction and regular maintenance in which all social groups (household, kinship group, and village) are involved on different levels of participation.


The tham of Hunza has traditionally taken the initiative for the planning and execution of construction work on irrigation channels. He normally involved his wazir in this enterprise of state importance in his dual function as prime minister and executive engineer for planning and supervision. The respective kinship groups or village communities served as construction workers. Early major channel projects accomplished general construction with simple technical devices and tools like wooden shovels and ibex horns (cf. the contribution of Hussain Wali Khan and Izhar Ali Hunzai in this volume). Sheer cliffs were mastered with support structures made of wood and stone. The reputation of wazir and workers increased through ingenious channel alignments and they secured usufructory rights to the meliorated lands through their participation in rajaaki.
Communal work of comparative size is only called for in certain cases nowadays, for example when a new storage tank (phari) has to be excavated or when a channel has been breached. In the latter case, all user households have to co-operate until the breached channel has been repaired or until new course has been excavated. Except for these exceptional or episodic events, fewer individuals are required in the management of channel systems through the regular activities of operation and maintenance.
The annual cleaning and repair work starts prior to the first irrigation of crops in spring. Farmers who own land within the channel command area are obligated to remove the deposited sediment of the previous year from the channel-bed. These activities were traditionally controlled by the wazir, who supervised the works and possessed the right to sanction those who do not participate according to the rules (cf. Lorimer 1979: 126-133). His influence in allocating the various jobs in water management contributed to his esteem as the chief hydraulic supervisor.
When Hunza lost its autonomy in 1974, the wazir's post was abolished along with the post of the tham. The traditional functions of the wazir are nowadays executed either by the lambardar or by village committees. Every year the group of village elders assembles in a jirga that distributes the remunerated water management posts among community members for the coming irrigation period. The jirga nominates a supervisor and the water workers (chilgalas) who safeguard the correct distribution schedule and the allocation of water to individual land parcels. They are responsible for checking water theft and have to announce the timing of irrigation to individual households. Minor maintenance work is done by the chilgalas as well. Non-participating households pay a fixed amount in kind or money that basically pays the salary of the water workers.
The number of chilgalas and the water rates are negotiated anew each year and depend on the size of the available village work force. Traditionally these salaried duties formed a highly esteemed way of providing an income to those households with insufficient lands to profitably employ their surplus male work force. Given changes in socio-economic conditions with increased labour emigration and more farmers involved in non-agrarian occupations, such traditional jobs in water management have lost their attraction. This has resulted in increased salaries for these irrigation workers in order to secure local personnel and to safeguard the system of water distribution. Though the cash investment in hiring such people remains within the community, the difficulty in obtaining reliable and expert people for these tasks causes a growing problem for some villages.
Nowadays, often even elderly and retired men are appointed as water guards (yatkuin) to supervise the proportional and equitable distribution of irrigation water at the channel heads. These functionaries are elected for one year and safeguard the fair allocation of water to different communities. The yatkuin are responsible for all duties at the channel heads including the cleaning of sedimentation tanks in which suspended sand particles are precipitated. During periods of surplus water, the yatkuin limit the flow capacity of individual channel systems to avoid breaching of channels.. The yatkuin reside in simple huts or caves in the Ultar nala and in the vicinity of important channel bifurcations during the entire irrigation period. After the end of harvest in autumn they are remunerated in kind, collecting 1-2 kilograms of wheat per channel from every household.
In times of water shortage additional supervisors are brought in to support the appointed guards. Settlements like Haiderabad cannot afford water loss during the early stages of plant growth when overall water shortage in central Hunza increases the chances for water theft by individual farmers. Thus during nighttime, villagers control all ten outlets along the way from Karimabad to Haiderabad in order to protect all tul and tori from being opened unlawfully. In spite of these measures, water theft along with inheritance quarrels still account for the majority of disputes in Hunza each year.
Traditionally the tham fined those found to be stealing water in kind, taking a good share of the penalty for himself. Nowadays the local Ismaili Arbitration and Reconciliation Boards are involved in the legal proceedings. They operate cost-free and compensate the winning party with the entire fine. Some cases are even presented before the public courts (see the contribution by Anna Schmid elsewhere in this volume).
The analysis of the irrigation system in central Hunza has revealed the spectrum of different water rights and organizational rules. based on traditional access to resources and an effective utilization of a limited resource. Fair distribution among entitled community members forms the principle in an approach which rejects the separation of water and land rights. Supervision and control of the irrigation networks that nowadays have become community members' own property is executed by themselves on the basis of consent. Scarcity and complicated distribution keys have increased the bureaucratic burden of water management. In periods of deficiency small but highly valued quantities of water have to be guarded on their way to the fields. This practice requires substantial manpower, as sluices are numerous. At the same time the system always favours the users residing close to the water source. Generally, they are the oldest settlers of the oases.
Future projects for the construction of new channels have to respect the traditional water rights. This precondition involves certain limitations: Excess meltwater can only be utilized during summer surplus periods. In all other seasons there is no additional water supply available to be tapped. New channels cannot reduce the ubiquitous seasonal water deficiency. Thus the scope for the extension of irrigated areas lies mainly in the reduction of seepage and evaporation in existing networks.


As explained above, new channel projects increased Hunza's power and economic base during the reign of hereditary rulers and their wazir. The range of such enterprises was not limited to the main settlement oasis of Central Hunza (cf. Tab. 7.1). Territorial claims and gains were manifested through the establishment of new villages in the southern and northern periphery. Such projects could involve groups of 20 to 100 household members, which were supported by their families in the early phase of meliorisation. Resettled farmers from Baltit and Haiderabad and refugees/ migrants from Wakhan supported expansive plans of the tham in the upper Hunza valley (Ghujal) and founded several villages there (Fig. 7.1). This single-cropping zone abounds with water sources when compared to the other regions.
In the lower Hunza valley (Shinaki) a limited quantity of meltwater from the Maiun nala was utilized to establish a number of fortified villages in the double-cropping area. The main period of internal colonization is connected with the name of Mir M. Nazim Khan (1892-1938) who established a number of villages for a growing population. His successors initiated only a few additional channel projects (Tab. 7.1). The end of hereditary rule in the Northern Areas by 1974 left a power vacuum which was supposed to be filled by institutions from the Pakistan administration. Their involvement in infrastructure projects dramatically increased after the completion of the Karakoram Highway (Kreutzmann 1991, 1993, 1995a, b). Within the Northern Areas a few attempts to establish new irrigation projects were undertaken while in Hunza itself, village communities executed their own channel building using traditional techniques. Village elders were entrusted to supervise the planning and construction of a number of minor projects.
Different development agencies discovered this structural power vacuum and based their target-oriented approaches on self-reliance strategies. Village Production Groups (VPG) and Village Organisations (VO) took over the role of decision-making once held by more traditional institutions such as the tham and wazir. These institutions now identified necessary physical infrastructure projects and managed the workload seeking financial and technological support from external development aid. These agencies have supplied cost-free technical advice to the villages through local engineers in their employ. Other major differences from the past have been that:

·        The construction cost is now covered from outside sources; man-days are paid for and not supplied through forced labour (rajakki);
·        The channels belong to the community working on them; all participants are entitled to an equal share of water in the irrigated lands. No extra plots are reserved for the tham and wazir or any other high status individuals anymore;
·     Water management and maintenance of channels is delegated to
·        professionals (chowkidar) who earn more than any traditional supervisor;
·        Development agencies supply modern technical equipment for drilling
·        and blasting at nominal costs.

Under these favourable conditions a number of irrigation projects have been executed in Hunza identified by the villagers as having top priority. Within the last decade forty-eight physical infrastructure projects have been initiated which aim at the expansion and widening of existing gdcil as well as the construction of new channels (Fig. 7.8). In addition, a few experiments have been executed with siphon (Nasirabad), pipe (Kamaris) and sprinkler (Galapan) irrigation. Several storage reservoirs and sedimentation tanks have been constructed as well in the productive physical infrastructure section of the Aga Khan Rural Support Programme (AKRSP). Among these projects has been the prestigious effort to free the water supply of central Hunza from total reliance on the Hassanabad glacier. The first phase of the so-called Aliabad gocil was accomplished by 1988 and it is expected that eventually 700 hectares of land will be watered from this new source (Khan 1994) and the irrigation schedule of central Hunza (Tab. 7.2) might be altered to reflect this change of supply.
This difficult project cost the loss of local farmers' lives during construction in which all concerned villages between Karimabad to Aliabad participated. If this channel will ever become sustainable-an assertion which has not yet been proven-the water deficient villages of Aliabad and Haiderabad will be in a position to irrigate all available land with sufficient quantities of water. The agricultural landscape of those villages would be effected in such a manner that present-day priority rules for crops could be totally relaxed and even marginal plots could be productively utilized. A similar judgment would apply for the remaining villages of central Hunza which would be left with a greater quantity of irrigation water from traditional sources.

So far, however, the new channel can only be deemed a partial success since water flow could not be sustained. Another danger lies in the channel head near the mouth of the Hassanabad glacier. Should the 16 kilometre-­long glacier advance only a few hundred metres, it would destroy the channel intake which presently lies only 40 m below in vertical distance. The Aliabad gocil is a great example of a project that could not have been feasible for a village community depending on its own resources. International development aid provides a means of experimenting with new techniques and formerly unprofitable projects. If sustainable development can be envisaged, these projects will increase the agricultural resource base of this mountain valley. In case of failure, only the remuneration of the work force and the communal organizations, which have been developed, will survive. Those ruins of irrigation channels would not be the first and shall not be the last remnants of attempts to maximize the utilization of meagre natural resources in the Karakoram.


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1. Material and quotations from the India Office Library and Records (IOL/IOR) and from the Public Record Office (PRO), London are gratefully acknowledged. Transcripts/ translations of Crown-copyright records in the India Office Records appear by permission of the Controller of Her Majesty's Stationery Office. Fieldwork for this study covers a period from 1984 to 1995 and was kindly funded by Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Council) which is gratefully acknowledged.
2. Early appreciations of the irrigated agriculture of Northern Pakistan are found with Saunders 1983; Whiteman 1985. For the neighbouring mountain regions like the Hindukush cf. Grotzbach 1973, Patzelt and de Grancy 1978; for the Himalaya cf. Nitz 1966, Uhlig 1962. Early records of irrigation structures in the Karakoram have been collected by Lorimer 1979. Recent evaluations and analyses have been published by Charles 1985, Kreutzmann 1988, 1989, 1990, 1994.
3. The variability of precipitation in High Asia has been the topic of discussion for a long period; cf. Ferguson 1984; Flohn 1969; Haserodt 1984; Hewitt 1989. New results and calculations have been presented by Reimers 1992 and Weiers 1995. Miehe 1996, Miehe et al. 1996, and Braun 1996 investigated vegetation dynamics and potentials in relation to climatic change's in High Asia with emphasis on the Karakoram.
4. In the wesh system regular lotteries take place which lead to a rotation of lands among jirga members who safeguard maximum equitability of resource allocation; cf. for societal developments in this region Barth 1956; Janjua 1996; Jettmar 1961, 1977, 1982; Manzar Zarin and Schmidt 1984.
5. Dendrochronological evidence and 14C measurements of organic matter in building materials support this hypothesis; cf. Hughes 1985; Hughes and Lefort 1986.