Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Disputes in Hunza - 1980-1990s - A matter of serious attention for the people of Hunza

I have recently obtained verbal permission of Dr. Herman Kreutzmann to post this chapter from the CAK (Cultural Area Karakorum) Project research publication “Erdkunliches Wissen 132” with the hope that study of contents will help the people to do a serious review of the un necessary conflicts which have afflicted our society as a negative development resulting from the 1974 decision of the Government of Pakistan to abolish the hereditary rule in Hunza. Misinterpretations and controversial interpretations of customary rights have engulfed many communities to waste their energies and resources on litigations in the courts of law.

I am imploring instead to redirect the efforts on the proposal of “Harmonization of Customary Laws on Natural Resources” already submitted to the representatives in GBLA- the details of this topic can be seen on this LINK – so that economical interests of present and future generations of this region are safeguarded through process of legislation.

Summary of such litigations is as follows while greater details and analysis has been covered in this exemplary research publication.

Pasture Name and location
Disputing Parties
Dispute dates
Hussainabad and Khanabd
Hachindar, Central Hunza
Murtazaabd and Hasanabad
Dong Dass, Central Hunza
Ganish, Garelt Vs Uyum Nager/Sumayar
Ganzupar, Central Hunza
Ganish kalan, Shishket and Gulmit
Baldi hel and Baldiate, Ataabad
Altikutz and Gulmitik (mainly Charshambi and Ruzdor kutor)
Ghaus, Buri Alga Gojal
Gulmitik and Shishket
Bulbulkesht and Brondo
Gulmitik and Shishket
Bulchi da, Gojal
Gulmit and Shishket
Shamijerav, Gojal
Gulmit and Khudaabd
Kharamabad and Zarabad, Gojal
Pasu and Hussaini
Borit, Gojal
Hussaini and Ghulkin
Baren Land between the two villages
Kil and Kirmin
Bell, Gojal
Misgar and Sost
Land between Tupopdan and Dut
Pasu and Shimshal

Burum Ter, Gojal
Karajilga, Kukhel

NOTE:    CAK research publications for the entire region of GB and Chitral (numbering 12) have been donated by the editors to BHT Library through its CURATOR and all interested individuals can visit the library and benefit.

MY Recommendations to the people:
March towards global leadership will involve following steps:
a.      ENERGY: 100-MW in next 20-years through proposed “HUNZA POWER SUPPLY COMPANY” – A joint ownership of all HUNZUKUTZ through their LSOs – idea demonstrator project working in KHURUKUSHAL KHAN since September 2013.
b.     HR:    Through LIFELONG LEARNING CENTERS/OPEN UNIVERSITIES, first one – SASLLC/OPEN UNIVERSITY– already in operation in Government Model High School Karimabad.
                                                             i.     STEPS:
1.      Determine your aptitude through an ON-LINE course – Example on this link: AptitudeTest Online Course
2.      Choose a subject/specialty out of the 25,516 courses through SASLLC, example link: CONSORTIUM.
3.     Download the COACHING material and go for your specialty.
3.    For details of the ROAD-MAP go through the post on this link: http://hisamullahbeg.blogspot.com/2010/02/introduction-to-hdf.html



In the discussion of sustainable resource utilization in high mountain regions the time-space relationship of seasonal mobility between locations of favourable conditions plays the dominant role irrespective of focusing on mountain nomad­ism, transhumance and/or combined mountain agriculture. In a wider context the amendment of such utilization patterns is investigated when change over time is addressed. The prime factor of interest seems to be the degradation of natural resources as an influential triggering parameter, followed by population growth and modernization. The latter two are frequently linked to an opening-up of formerly remote and peripheral regions. Such incorporation into a wider exchange system is generally linked to a decline of pastoralism and a reduced importance of high mountain agriculture in itself.
The same view holds true for this study area and the advent of modernization has been dated and connected with the inauguration of the Karakoram Highway (KKH) by the end of the 1970s.' Earlier transformations are often neglected and underestimated as well as the constant dynamics in high mountain societies which are reflected in all ways of life including the utilization of natural resourc­es such as high pastures. The Hunza Valley has frequently been projected as an example where the impact of the Karakoram Highway is strongly felt, or in comparison to other regions along the course of the KKH where the "winds of change" blow stronger than anywhere else. 2 Consequently the income composi­tion of a Hunza household (Fig. 1) reflects opportunities of livelihood generation from different realms: agrarian and non-agrarian. The agricultural sector itself is structured by two interrelated complexes composed of irrigated crop-farming and animal husbandry. Both contribute to the subsistence of the household as well as they produce marketable goods. The degree and quality of such contributions depends on a number of factors which are directly and indirectly linked to the exogenous resources. A pattern where non-agrarian income generation plays a major role is quite ubiquitous in high mountain regions. The diversification of resources and the allocation of income from a number of activities have been present over long periods although very often the superficial impression of sole dependence on combined mountain agriculture governs the perception of mountain societies. The present structure results from societal transformations over and an altered set of opportunities for livelihood strategies. The political frame conditions have undergone tremendous changes since the 19th century. Hunza as a territorial entity expanded under the rule of Mir Silum Khan III (1790- 1824) northwards across the passes of the Karakoram into present-day China where mainly high mountain pastures were utilized in order to increase the revenue of the Hunza State. This practice was terminated in 1937 when the principality had already experienced 45 years of domination as a quasi-autonomous mirdom within British India. About a quarter century after Pakistan became independent the absolute authority of the Hunza ruler in internal affairs was abolished by the central government and the former state became an administrative subdivision within the Gilgit District of the Northern Areas. Besides changes in political conditions and traffic infrastructure socio-economic transformations affected agriculture and the livestock sector in particular. Understanding high mountain economy as a complex phenomenon and an interrelated set of activities significant changes should be realized in all elements including the livestock sector. Consequently it seems justified to address socio-economic transformations from the perspective of pastoral practices in a given ecological and politico-economical environment. The latter aspect seems to be extremely important its political power structures and transformations affected the local and regional economics significantly.

On first sight the "normal" pattern of the utilization of high pastures is observed in the Hunza Valley as well (Fig. 2). Seasonal migrations take place between permanent homesteads in the arid valley grounds and natural high pastures in the vicinity of glaciers (Photo 1). Their schedule reveals a time-space relationship in the utilization of locally available resources. Beyond the aspect of "what we can see" there occur a number of questions about the underlying man­ made rules and regulations, access rights and livestock productivity, workforce and composition of herds, commonalities and disputes. While focusing on pasto­ral practices it is attempted to assess the dimensions of change from three perspectives:

· First the importance of animal husbandry for the generation of state revenue and the active role played by the Mir of Hunza in setting the stage for pastoralism within his sphere of influence.
· Second the workforce availability and the division of labour have undergone substantial changes over time and their impact on pastoral practices is strong strongly felt.
· Third the contribution of the livestock sector for present-day income generation and its role in the dispute about the commons.

Thus it might be possible to shed some light on the transformations having occurred in time, space and quality. Neither nomadism nor combined mixed mountain agriculture appear to be archaic surviving practices. Both are undergoing regular changes, modifications and adjustments. Especially the dynamic adaptation to a transforming socio-political environment and the powerful incorporation into a supra-regional market structure needs attention when in the discussion of sustainable development the search for a role model is too often orientated along ecological conditions alone. The neglect of economy and society contributes to the presentation of a somehow distorted representation of pastoral practices. The attention towards animal husbandry and its role in high mountain agriculture is rather challenging as the research about this sector seems in need for more complex approaches and historical depth.


A century ago the Hunza population had reached about one fifth of the 46 000 which were returned during the Census of 1998. For earlier periods trustworthy estimates are not available. Oral traditions claim that the population was even lower at the beginning of the 19th century. Only Central Hunza was inhabited by Burusho people in fortified villages (khan) while a few Shina speaking settlers occupied the lower part of the valley. The upper Hunza Valley which is now called Gojal was devoid of any permanent dwellings. Seasonally - meaning every summer - Kirghiz nomads crossed the northern passes of Hunza and utilized the high pastures in Chupursan, Mintaka, Kilik and Khunjerab probably even further down the valley (cf. Fig. 2). Grazing taxes (App. 1) were delivered annually to the Mir residing in Baltit (present-day Karimabad) or extracted by his collectors on the grazing grounds. Pastoral practices were divided between Kirghiz nomad­ic use in the upper part (Gojal) and combined mountain agriculture in Central Hunza and the lower parts of the valley (Shinaki) while it seems to be unlikely that nomads and transhumant shepherds were visiting the Hunza Valley from the South. The extra revenue from affluent nomadic communities was bitterly needed for the upkeep of the frugal lifestyle of the Hunza ruler. Mir Silum Khan III succeeded to expand his territory further north in order to control Kirghiz pas­tures to a greater extent. Per forty sheep and per thirty yaks a contribution of one animal had been agreed upon as annual grazing tax.

Relations between the nomads of the Taghdumbash Pamir and the Mir of Hunza continued to last for about one and a half centuries (cf. App. 1). They contributed substantially to his income while he sent his own flocks with Hunza shepherds for summer grazing to the Pamirs as well. Mir Silum Khan III is still regarded as one of the most innovative rulers. He initiated the construction of a number of irrigation channels and increased the agricultural lands of Hunza significantly. The internal agrarian colonization characterizes the 19th century and coincides with a shift of pastoral practices within Hunza. The juvenile irrigated oases were meant to support a growing population and to provide shelter for refugees from neighbouring communities, thus increasing the population and - most important - the revenue of Hunza.

In the aftermath a two-fold strategy was applied: The far-away and difficult­to-be-controlled Pamir pastures were allocated to nomadic communities such as the Kirghiz and to peasants dwelling in adjacent Wakhan and Sariqol who utilized those summer pastures in their practice of combined mountain agricul­ture. In the Hunza valley itself and its major tributaries the ruler tried to settle agriculturists on a permanent basis.3 Besides some fortified villages with Burusho settlers from Central Hunza mainly Wakhi refugees occupied the single­cropping region in Gojal and colonized the majority of oases at the upper limits of cultivation. As a rule the share of animal husbandry in their combined mixed mountain agriculture was higher than In the lower lying parts of Hunza where double-cropping was feasible.

As a consequence of this development Kirghiz nomads lost their traditional gazing grounds and were forced to shift their flocks northwards. Towards the end of the 19th century British intelligence reports claim that the competition between Kirghiz nomads, Wakhi and Sariqoli on the one hand and Hunzukuts with their own and their ruler's flocks on the other led to disputes which were settled by the Chinese representative in Tashkurghan in the Mir of Hunza's favour (App. 1). While in the preceding period the grazing dues were levied on live animals the production of livestock in Hunza itself seems to have increased substantially. From then on the grazing dues (khiraj) levied by the Mir of Hunza in the Pamirs were paid predominantly in kind such as felts, woollen blankets (namda), ropes from yak hair, cotton cloth (kirpas), coarse cloth (kham), coats (suqa), saddles (jhul), rugs (sharma) and socks (paipakh). Since the beginning of the 20th century regular payment of grazing dues was received in Hunza which amounted in 1931 to 65 felts, 50 ropes, 25 rolls of cotton cloth and 2 coats. These goods had an exchange value in the Gilgit and Kashgar bazaars and created a welcome extra source of revenue for the ruler. In addition the political influence in the border areas and the participation in Central Asian trade as a transit region enhanced the value of authoritative presence in the Pamirs.

Livestock production in the newly developed oases within Upper Hunza had substantially grown during the 19th century. Gojal provided four fifths of all taxes in Hunza although barely one fifth of the population was settled here. In 1894 Gojal delivered 350 sheep and goats (kla) in addition to fifteen maund (1 mnd = 7.32 kg) grain to the tax collectors.4 This covered basically the regular demand for the Court while additional livestock was available in the personal flocks. The then ruling Mir M. Nazim Khan (1892-1938) backed by the British authorities in Gilgit managed to increase his personal income manifold. The example of the village of Shimshal where in the adjacent pamir the best grazing of Hunza is available provides ample evidence. While in 1894 the livestock dues (ilban) amounted to 50 sheep (equivalent of 200 Rs), in 1938 the tax collectors extracted total of 40 mnd salt (= 400 Rs), 7 mnd wheat, 16 mnd barley, 146 sheep and goats and two yaks. The value of all goods amounted to 1598 Rs which equals an eightfold increase during Mir M. Nazim Khan's reign.5 Thus the 48 households app. 400 persons) of Shimshal (App. 2) contributed in 1938 nearly an equal amount of taxes to the Hunza revenue as the whole principality did in 1894 when a total of 1800 Rs was collected.6 The importance of Gojal in poviding revenue to the state is obvious when we register that all livestock of 350 animals per year In 1891 was extracted from the whole population of Hunza ranged around 10,000 persons. The resettlement of Wakhi refugees and Burusho colonizers in GoJal and the subsequent severe taxation practices considerably increased the wealth of the ruling family. Emphasis on a controlled grazing policy with higher returns from an intensified animal husbandry were reflected in the stocking density all over Hunza. On a reconnaissance tour Colonel R. CF. Schomberg visited Gojal and acknowledged the overall importance of animal husbandry in the combined mountain agriculture. He regarded the Wakhi pastoral practices within their combined mountain agriculture as equivalent to those of nomads or recently settled nomads. 8

The exploitative taxation at the climax of Mir M. Nazim Khan's reign coincides with the loss of all rights in the Taghdumbash Pamir, such as the levying of grazing taxes as well as sending flocks from Hunza there. The Ioss was estimated equivalent to a meagre 200-300 Rs annually and the Mir was compen­sated by the British authorities (cf. App. 1). While the Pamir revenue had been stagnating for about three decades the livestock taxes within Hunza had grown substantially as had the utilization of grazing grounds.

From a legal aspect the Mir of Hunza regarded himself as the sole proprietor of all natural resources including pastures as a document from 1935 explains: "All forests, mountains and pasture lands in Hunza belong to the Mir and have been granted by him to the different communities who take their flocks for grazing to their respective grazing grounds. The Mir is entitled to graze his flock" in any pasture he wishes. The Mir's wood cutters are at liberty to cut wood from every forest. If the Mir betakes himself on a pleasure trip to any of the above pastures, every shepherd should present him with a sheep and one roghan (wakh, ruyun = piece of dehydrated butter]."9 The hereditary ruler executed some examples of this when he expropriated the grazing rights at Ultar (above Karimabad) for his own herds and when he compensated himself for the loss of grazing rights in the Chinese-controlled Pamir by shifting his personal herds to grazing grounds in bordering Kilik, Mintaka and Khunjerab which were previously used by Hunzukuts' peasants.'°

It did not escape British Intelligence that the exploitation of the Hunza people had reached an undesirable peak. Colonel Schomberg who admired Mir M. Nazitn Khan as "... a personality seldom met with in the East. He is a thorough oriental in every respect, and that is to his credit"11 observed during his mission n 1934 that the Hunza "... population is little better than serfs. Everything is done at the Mir's orders." The future expectation and a relief option for the concerned population is expressed by Schomberg as follows: "They only ask to be governed as they were before the British came. They ask that their Mirs should rule in future as their ancestors did in the past. The customary laws, especially in Hunza, amply safeguard the rights of the subject ... The Mir is the irresponsible arbiter and autocrat, governing solely for his own advantage ...".12 The colonial administration in Gilgit feared social unrest at the northern frontier and registered a growing number of Hunza people escaping the state who attempted to settle in the vicinity of Gilgit Town where cultivable lands and jobs were available.

Times had changed since the Gilgit Agency was leased by the Maharaja of Kashmir to British India in 1935. The activities of colonial authorities were directed in improving the "pedigree stock" and in encouraging local farmers to produce more wool in order to meet the demands of the Gilgit Bazaar. At the same time the first ever cattle show was held in Gilgit and merino rams were itroduced.13 For some observers this event marks the beginning of development activities in the Northern Areas and it coincides with the peak of livestock­ keeping in Hunza.


In the same year when revenue from pastoral practices had reached its climax the local historian Qudratullah Beg compiled a survey of all pastures in Central Hunza and Shinaki (Tab. 1). His work augmented by other contemporary sourc­es provides us with a reference which forms the base of comparison with the present situation. Although the number of households doubled in Central Hunza and Shinaki, and quadrupled in Gojal since 1931 the number of persons involved in animal husbandry has decreased substantially. In several cases no shepherds at all are recorded today, in other summer settlements the workforce has been reduced to nominal representation. High pasturing as part of combined mountain agriculture has undergone a significant transformation within the last fifty years. In central Hunza in 1935 every fifth to tenth household usually sent a shepherd to the high pastures, and in Gojal more than three quarters of all households participated in the kuc (Seasonal migration),11 Half a century later fieldwork revealed a completely different picture (Tab. I): little more than one per cent of the households provided shepherds In Shinaki and Central Hunza. Even in Gojal, the number decreased considerably with the exception of Shimshal where the proportion of households following the difficult tracks to the remote pastures resembled the pattern from fifty years ago. 16

The general impression is that the utilization of seasonal settlements for cultivation and animal husbandry has been reduced, in some cases towards insignificance. The crop farming as a side activity of shepherds in the summer settlements has been given up almost completely. In a few rare cases the cultivated terraces are used for fodder production (grass and alfalfa). The animal mix has remained similar, only horses are not kept anymore. The size of flocks must have diminished quite a bit although comparative data are difficult to come by, Especially in Central Hunza one or two shepherds are nowadays sufficient to control the herds of their respective communities. With a population of 5000 plus Inhabitants in 1992 the four clans of Karimabad accounted for livestock com­posed of 2224 sheep and goats, and 970 cattle. 17 The average household (size 8.5 members) calls less than four sheep and goats and less than two cows their own. In comparison the mean livestock property in Pasu accounted for twenty-three sheep and goats, and more than seven cattle (including three yaks) per household (8.5 members on average) in 1998. Both villages are far from representative for the overall situation. There is a growing tendency to extend cattle husbandry in the permanent settlements all year round. The cow in the homestead provides the household's need in milk and its derivates.

What are the reasons for such a decline? If taxation was a burden this problem was solved in 1974 when the State was abolished and the fiscal and administrative authorities of the hereditary ruler were terminated. In fact presently the local, regional and national administration does not levy any direct taxes in the North­ern Areas at all. The previous heavy-felt burden of livestock and other agricultur­al taxes was relieved from the farmers and could have resulted in boosting agricultural production. We observed quite a contrasting development and the fate of animal husbandry needs to be discussed in a wider context. The decline of animal husbandry is linked to a general shift in economic activities (cf. Fig. I). The contributions from off-farm resources have increased significantly. Along with this development a workforce shortage for pastoral activities occurred. Jobs in military and civil services, in trade and tourism require the availability and presence throughout the year. The returns from non-agrarian occupations arc higher in general. This holds true especially for out-migrants to Gilgit, Karachi and/or overseas. Even if there are periods with less work load these time frames do not coincide with the heavy burden in agricultural activities during the summer season. It becomes more difficult for individual households to spare a member as shepherd. Different strategies are followed to solve the workforce shortage. As off-farm jobs have been predominantly taken up by male household members of a certain age group the agricultural burden was distributed among the remaining household members: women, elderly men and children. The latter age group is nowadays rarely available for agricultural activities in Hunza as almost all children are registered in schools and attend classes. Many of them become young migrants when they continue their education outside their villages. Boys and young men are seen on the high pastures when they accompany trekking groups who very often follow traditional migration paths of livestock or when they are visiting relatives during vacation after a long stay outside of Hunza. Basically the task of shepherds lies presently in the hands of elderly men and women where community rules permit them to go to the pasture settlements. Traditionally this was not allowed among the Burusho and is quite common among the Wakhi. This difference is not revealed from the layout of the com­bined Wakhi-Burusho pasture settlement in Shamijerav ilga-Burum ter (Fig. 3A). The dual settlement reflects at the same time the two different milk-processing techniques applied in the Hunza Valley (Fig. 4). Wherever livestock is kept in high pastures the production of durable, and highly appreciated consumer goods takes place (Photos 2 & 3). The best part of Wakhi animal husbandry in Gojal is controlled and executed by female household members. Where men are involved the age structure of the shepherds has changed. Elderly men have to take over duties which have been traditionally reserved for the sons of a household for whom it was a privilege to spend the hot summer season in the Sommerfrische of the pastures. As the workload is increasing for the permanent household members remaining in the village a tribute has to be paid to agricultural activities.

The flocks have decreased nearly everywhere. No household is presently able to look after sizeable herds all year long. The extra value from animal husbandry is easily compensated if non-agrarian incomes are available. In the village of Gulmit there remained 12 % of all 217 households in 1990 without non-agrarian income; nearly 60 % had more than one additional source." The dependence on animal manure and products has been reduced since mineral fertilizer has been distributed in Hunza. Fresh meat, poultry, milk powder and cooking oil are regularly on offer in the bazaars, even butter fat and qurut (dehydrated butter milk) are imported from other valleys. The strong relationship on the agrarian subsistence side in the household economy (cf. Fig. 1) has been weakened by the degree of increased market participation. Furthermore the pasture rotation system (Fig. 5) has been simplified due to lack of sufficient and qualified personnel. Difficult glacier crossings and passages along narrow and steep tracks require the guidance of experienced shepherds (Photo 1). Easily accessible pastures are used more frequently and for extended periods, respectively. This phenomenon leads to exhausting the natural pasture resources in certain areas while giving up additional available pasturage in remote areas. Are we experiencing the final stage of combined mountain agriculture and the end of pastoralism? Does the commercial value of pastures only lie in its fodder, timber and firewood? One aspect needs to be kept in mind. Since the State rule in Hunza was abolished in 1974 the proprietary rights of village lands including pastures have been taken over by clans and village communities. In a region without cadastral surveys and registered property rights the transfer from ubiquitous Miri rule and absolute control over resources to a democratic society with personal landholdings and communal property resembles aspects of agrarian reform. Such a transformation would not necessarily be furnished undisputed. The separation of State and personal property of the hereditary ruler and his relatives from that of the farmers resulted in different perceptions and prolonged negotiations. Immediately valua­ble resources such as physical infrastructure, communal meeting places, irrigated lands and cultivable waste were affected while pastures and forests fared less prominently in the beginning. This perception has changed in recent years.


The scenario described above hints at a continuous process of lessening impor­tance for animal husbandry and a dramatically changing socio-economic envi­ronment. One would expect that these developments would show effects in all walks of life. Do economic activities nowadays take place mainly in the perma­nent settlements and is entrepreneurship mainly functioning outside the valley? There should be severe consequences for agriculture then. In such a case the pasture settlements should look barren and dilapidated. This statement holds true for some places such as Shishpar along the left bank of the Hassanabad glacier in Central Hunza (Fig. 3B). While in 1935 forty to seventy shepherds spent the summers in the three habitations surrounding the animal pen (agel), there number had come down to four in 1985, nowadays mainly two shepherds (hueltarc) from Aliabad inhabit the one remaining building while the other two are in ruins (cf. Tab. 1). For certain duties helpers are coming up for the support of the two elderly men, especially when the animals are driven up or down the valley (cf. Fig. 5). On the right bank of the Hassanabad glacier the pastures of Muchu Har are not utilized at all. In Tochi the former pasture settlement has been converted into an orchard (apple, pine trees and willows) and animals are not permitted to trespass. No shepherds at all did visit Muchu Har in 1998.

In other places such as Shamijerav (Burum Ter) above Khudabad the Wakhi from Gulmit have sustained an intact pasture settlement which they share with Burusho from Khudabad who have their own corrall and housing arrangement (cf. Fig. 3A). Both groups utilize their pastures intensively. They sent in 1935 twelve and six shepherds respectively, in the 1990s the numbers were still six and two. Similar developments can be observed in Shimshal where the whole com­munity is actively involved in the summer kuc to the pamer. Here livestock numbers are still high and since more than one decade fresh yak stock is imported from the neighbouring Chinese Tashkurghan County. The pastures north and south of the Batura glacier (Fig. 6) are utilized by farmers from Pasu and Hussaini. The 87 households of Pasu sent in 1998 a herd of 356 cattle, 282 yaks, 1547 goats and 468 sheep to their Batura pastures, while their neighbours from Hussaini sent only 47 cattle, 677 goats and 214 sheep.19 The significant change since the previous survey in 1985 occurs in the increase of yak numbers since, all other herds remained quite stable although the number of households (1985: 61) increased. 20 Here we find a pattern where a village community depending to a higher degree on off-farm employment than most other villages sustains a system of pasture utilization through the help of female household members. The pro­ductivity of herds has been increased by the introduction of Pamirian yaks.

The labour deficiency has increasingly become a problem for all communi­ties. At the same time attention towards the summer pastures has shifted again. Wherever these pastures are located near the access routes to high mountains or along trekking paths the communities who share the right of pasture claim the right of guiding and portering in these areas as well. They feel entitled to negotiate the terms of trespassing their common property. Villages which are affected by mountain tourism such as Pasu (cf. Fig. 6) and Shimshal have developed a rotation system within their community that all households can participate in this source of income. In a few days more cash income can be allocated to the household than a full summer of shepherding would recover. Thus mountain tourism has led to a new valuation of high pastures.

A second case is provided by the people of Abgerch, i.e., the Wakhi settle­ments in the Hunza Valley above Khaiber (cf. Fig. 2). Their traditional right to two pastures in tributaries of the Khunjerab valley - Kiikhel and Karajilga - was taken back when the Khunjerab National Park was inaugurated in 1975. The mountain farmers were promised compensation which was not paid until 1990 when a dispute between the Abgerch people and the Government of Pakistan broke out. Negotiations finally led to a settlement which included preferential provision of jobs to Abgerch people in the National Park, control of traffic and hunters, as well as certain access rights to pastures.21 These mountain farmers faced a dilemma. On the one hand global interest in the protection of Marco Polo sheep affected their pasture resources, on the other hand the protection of ex­tremely old juniper trees in the Boiber valley - their second pasture resource - was supported by the International Union of Conservation (IUCN). The villagers are compensated for not cutting trees there anymore and for restricted pasture use. For these five villages - Ghalapan, Gircha (Sarteez), Morkhun, Jamalabad, Sost - the access rights to common pastures have become a negotiable quantity in their relations with the regional and federal administration as well as with international organizations.
The commons as a village property and one of the last communal resources have gained in importance recently which appears to be contrary to the observa­tions presented above. Never before more village funds have been spent in legal disputes before religious and civil courts (cf. Tab. 1).

The village of Gulmit is most severely affected among all and presented here as a virulent case. Gulmit's pastures (cf. Fig. 2 and Tab. 1) are distributed comparatively quite far away from the permanent settlement and not located just above the homestead. During the 1990s different disputes came up with neighbours about the hereditary rights of pasture use. In 1990 a severe dispute began with Shishket across the Hunza River. The Bori kutor clan of Gulmit was to be deprived of its right to access Gaush (Photo 4), the Ruzdor clan made similar experiences in Bulbulkesht and Brondo Bar (cf. Tab. 1). Although blood and marriage relationships exist between the inhabitants of Gulmit and Shishket no solution could be reached through the local institutions and negotiations by mutually accepted and respected neutral persons. The whole conflict escalated and became a principal affair of defending property rights which have not been laid down in written documents. Representatives of public and religious institutions were consulted in vain, before the legal proce­dures took off. Up to now more than 0.5 million Rs have been spent for lawyers and court fees alone on the side of Gulmit. Similar or even higher contributions were invested by the opponents, not counting all travel expenses and secret meetings of representatives. No solution is in sight besides stay-orders issued by the courts permitting both sides to use the pastures. The funds spent exceed by far the commercial value of these pastures for the next decade. Another dispute between these two villages occurred about the waterless scrub area of Bulchi Das. The driving force for allocating so much energy in a land dispute is explained by all opponents mostly as a matter of pride and sometime interpret the case as an ethnic dispute. But at the same time it is the hope for potential mineral wealth to be found in barren land and on pastures and the need to develop irrigated land for future generations and, of course, those lands are the only land resources left. If those are lost for a community, the pressure on land is even higher. A similar conflict followed soon about Baldi hel/Baldiate (cf. Fig. 2), in this case the dispute is between Gulmit and Altit. Again huge funds were spent for a dispute on a pasture which most of the opponents had never visited. The tradition of one side claims that the pasture was divided in three sections: the western belonging to Altit, the central to the Mir of Hunza and the eastern to the Gulmitik. The other side tries to make it a point that already during the reign of Shah Ghazanfar (1824-1865) or Mir Ghazan Khan (1866-1886) the immigrating settlers from Altit and Baltit were allocated Baldi Hel as their pastures. Obviously no eyewit­ness could be presented for this viewpoint. The abolishment of hereditary rule in 1974 created misperceptions and controversial interpretations of customary rights. But here it is the case to drive out one party totally and this party has practiced animal husbandry in Baldihel until recently. In such cases knowledgeable and respected village elders are consulted first, in the second instance religious representatives give their advice before public bodies are addressed. All institu­tions have failed in finding a solution. Now the ultimate instance is approached by selecting honourable men from both sides who are requested to take an oath by the Holy Kuran and then decide about the property rights. The third case involved the Gulmitik in a dispute with the farmers of Khudabad about Shamijerav ilga, the high pasture above Khudabad (Fig. 3A). The customary priority was given to the Gulmitik, while the Khudabadkuts were tolerated in the same grazing grounds. Now the latter attempt to reach a status quo of equal rights and finally aim at separating the pastures in two shares. Again huge funds have been invested for the legal procedures with only little hope for a mutually accepted solution. These cases have been presented as an example for the need of a settlement in those areas without cadastral surveys. On the other hand it is quite clear that any settlement could generate more disputes and could become a painful affair for concerned parties. Currently pastures lead the list of importance in land disputes. Nevertheless stretches of barren land along roads are coming under dispute in growing numbers.22 From the intensively used permanent settlements - where land disputes between the former hereditary ruler and local farmers were domi­nant in the 1970s and 1980s - the controversies have been shifted to the exten­sively used parts of the village lands: pastures and barren lands. The funds spent on these disputes by far exceed their present commercial value and result in huge economic losses every year. Stating on the one hand a decline of the importance of pastoral practices we observe at the same time a rise in valuation of the land concerned.


The perspectives elaborated on above do not complete the picture of the present state of pastoralism and the estimation of natural grazing grounds. Some observa­tions may hint towards a development which would lead to a further decline in agriculture and in pastoralism at all. But at the same time agriculture is very much alive as an important economic resource. In times when the national economy undergoes difficult periods of crises, when unemployment of skilled people grows and when tourism is dependent on global events and affected by market shifts we observe that the traditional agricultural resource base of the Hunza valley experiences its transformation as well and adjusts at higher productivity levels when possible. New and valuable cash crops such as potatoes, seeds, fodder crops, cherries and other fruits have been introduced and become profita­ble. Crop farming does not depend anymore on the manure supply from animal husbandry, but households prefer some own livestock for their domestic demands and these animals have to be cared for. In the commercial centre of Hunza, in Karimabad, changes have not only affected the individual growth patterns in irrigated agriculture. The common practice of free grazing (hetin) of all livestock in the cultivated lands between the harvest of the second crop in October and the germination of the next crop in March/April has been abolished in 1993. Similar community-based legislation occurred in other villages. As a rule it is enforced by the respective local communities. Private ownership of land was traditionally valid only during the cultivation period when animals were removed to the high pastures. After their return the harvested fields were accessible to everybody's animals until the cultivation period began again in spring. This practice which has been regarded by development agencies23 as one of the most severe obstacles to improved cultivation techniques and an abridged growth pattern belongs now to the past. The ban is strictly supervised and non-compliance leads to severe penalties.24 Especially farmers who make experiments with new crops are keen to avoid any losses from livestock predations. Fruit orchards, vegetable and alfafal­fa plots or seed beds are presently in favour and are devoted to utilize the maximum vegetation period. Consequently, all sheep and goats are banned from other people's fields all year long. This decision was reached in a consensual village forum (jirga) and resulted in the search for a solution how to deal with the remaining livestock. The farmers of Karimabad rejuvenated their previously more or less abandoned pastures. The Buroon clan sent six shepherds in 1935 to Bululo with sheep and goats, in 1985 no shepherd supervised the roaming oxen there which were brought up in spring and taken back in autumn. Since 1998 the Buroon clan has adopted a turn (gait) system in the same way as Baltikuts (mainly Qhurukuts) and Dom make use of their pasture in Altikutse sat/Bericho chok. As no household can spare a full-time shepherd, the burden of watching the oxen and milking the few sheep and goats is distributed among all households on a two-day-long shift basis. Every household has to safeguard its participation. Milch cows are rather kept in stables near the homestead. Similar developments took place in Haiderabad and Aliabad, and are under consideration in other villages. Reduced numbers of oxen and the vanishing of horses in Central Hunza have opened up the opportunity to use high pastures differently. Ultar ter (3600 m) above Karimabad is the best example for a combined use of livestock-keeping and mountain tourism. Since a few years the pasture settlement has been extend­ed, a camping ground was opened and food and beverages are supplied for the seasonal trekkers. Abandoned oxen pastures such as Sekai (3600m, cf. Tab. 1) have been stocked for the first time with yaks which have been imported from the Chinese Pamirs.

The question of future prospects of high mountain pastoralism within the context of sustainable development deserves a complex answer, at least for the Hunza valley. The evaluation needs not to search for an overall decline or replacement of high mountain pastoralism or agriculture as such by "modern" enterprises and/or services. The assessment of the fate of high mountain pastoral­ism within the Hunza society has revealed that socio-economic transformations are reflected in all sectors including the pastoral. Adaptations and modifications are influenced to a higher degree by political and societal developments than by changing environmental conditions in the region where these practices are ap­plied. Thus, sustainability has to account for all available opportunities under a given set of frame conditions. Consequently, pastoral practices and the utilization of grazing grounds will remain to play an economic and security-related role in the Hunza economy. The degree of importance for the generation of household incomes may nevertheless vary quite significantly.

Foot Notes:

1. For such a perspective see for example ALLAN 1987, 1989, 1991, GROTZBACN & STADEL 1997, CHUG 1995.

2. MILLS 1996. Cf. KREUTZMANN 1989, 1991, 1993, 1995, 1996, 1998

3. For a detailed study of the settlement process in Hunza cf. KREUTZMANN 1994.

4. IOR/2/1079/251. Quotations from files and books archived in the India Office Library are referred to under the abbreviations IOR (for records) and IOL (for library) accompanied by the file number: "Transcripts/Translations of Crown-copyright records in the India Office Records appear by permission of the Controller of Her Majesty's Stationery Office."

5. IOL/P&S/ 12/3292.

6. IOR/2/1079/251. British India and the Maharaja of Kashmir supported the Hunza ruler in 1896 with subsidies worth 3000 Rs annually (GODFREY 1898: 79). For the present state of pasture utilization in Shimshal cf. BuTz 1996, ITURRIZAGA 1997.

7. IOL/P&S/12/3292: 156; IOR/2l1079/251: S.

8. SCHOMERG 1934: 211; 1935: 169. The nomadic connotation probably stems from a military report (General Staff India 1929: 144) and has been afterwards repeated by geographers such as ALLAN (1989: 135), DICHTER (1967: 45) and E. SALEY (1966: 322). The observed activities very well conform with what has been termed as combined mountain agriculture (in the introductory chapter of this volume) and are quite different from nomadism. Similarly GLADNEY (1991: 37) terms the Wakhi and Sariqoli across the border as "Tajik nomads of the Pamir mountains in southwestern Xinjiang". All of them neglect the signifi­cance of irrigated crop farming in the combined high mountain agriculture of these peasants which has been an integral part of their agriculture since settlement there and not merely a recent development.

9. Quotation from an untitled and undated (app. 1935) file from the Commissioner's office Gilgit about the property rights of the Mir of Hunza.

10. LORIMER 1935-1938,II: 259.

11. SCHOMBERG 1935: 119.

12. All quotations are taken from Schomberg's confidential report on the social condition in Hunza (IOL/P&S/12/3293: 3-7).

13. Cf. IOL/P&S/12/3294; IOL/P&S/12/3288: Administration Report for 1936.

14. Cf. LORIMER 1935-1938, ScHOMBERO 1934, 1935, 1936, VISSER-HooFr 1935.


16. Ch\f. BUTZ. 1996, KREUTZMANN 1986, 1998, SCHOMBERG 1936: 56,62.

17. Data according to Karimabad Census 1992 prepared by Karimabad Planning Support Service.

18. The 26 households without non-agrarian resources were mainly small households managed by widows or by elderly people without able-bodied members who would be engaged in labour, services or other occupations otherwise. Private enterprise, public services and educational migration plus labour accounted for the dominant occupations.

19. The author is grateful for the collection of data to Einar Eberhardt, Marburg who conducted the Batura livestock survey in 1998.

20. Cf. ABIDI 1987; KREUTZMANN (1986: 102).

21. For a detailed account of this dispute cf. KNUDSEN 1996, KREUTZMANN 1995b, ZAIGHAM KHAN 1996.

22. To sum up only briefly the areas of pasture disputes in the 1980s and 1990s besides the ones already mentioned: Murtazabad and Hassanabad about Hachindar; Ganesh and Shishket/ Gulmit about Gaush and Ganzupar:, Pasu and Hussaini about Kharamabad and Zarabad; Hussaini and Ghulkin about Borit; Ghalapan and Kaiber about Dildung kor; Kil and Kirmin

23. about barren land between the two villages; Misgar and Sost about Bell; Pasu and Shimshal about land between Tupopdan and Dut.

24. The Aga Khan Rural Support Programme (AKRSP) and the FAO/UNDP-sponsored Inte­grated Rural Development Project (IRDP) advocated such a strategy in the early 1980s. Fencing of irrigated terraces was discussed as one solution, others included the keeping of livestock in stables. Both agencies died not succed with their proposals then (AKRSP 1984, SAUNDERS 1983, 1984).

25. In all villages so-called Falai committees were founded and authorized to impose sanctions for trespassing animals. In Haiderabad the fees amounted in 1998 to 5 Rs per sheep, 15 Rs per goat and 25 Rs per cattle. The collected fine is handed over to the owner of the respective plot.

(i) Manuscripts and primary printed sources

General Staff India (1928): Military Report and Gazetteer of the Gilgit Agency and the Inde­pendent Territories of Tangir and Darel. Simula.

General Staff India (1929): Military Report on Sinkiang (Chinese Turkestan). Calcutta. GODFREY, S. H. (1898): Report on the Gilgit Agency and Wazarat and the countries of Chilas,

Hunza-Nagar, and Yasin, including Ashkuman, Ghizr, and Koh. 1896-97. Calcutta.

India Office Library & Records: Afghanistan Consulate (1927-1947): IOR/12/50/394.

India Office Library & Records: Crown Representative's Records - Indian State Residencies:

Kashmir Residency Files: IOR1211075/217.

India Office Library & Records: Crown Representative's Records - Indian States Residencies - Gilgit, Chilas, Hunza and Nagir Files (Confidential): IOR/2/1079/251.

India Office Library & Records: Departmental Papers: Political & Secret Internal Files & Collections 1931-1947: IOL/P&S/12/2336, 2361, 3285, 3288, 3292-3294.

India Office Library & Records: Departmental Papers: Political and Secret Separate (or Subject) Files 1902-1931: IOL/P&S/10/278, 826, 973.

India Office Library & Records: Files relating to Indian states extracted from the Political and Secret Letters from India 1881-1911: IOL/P&S/7/61, 66, 157, 170, 181, 205, 222, 231, 233, 243, 252.

MCMAHON, A. H. (1898): Report on the Subject of the Claims of the Kanjut Tribe (i.e., the people of Hunza) to Territory beyond the Hindu Kush, i.e., to the Tagdumbash Pamir and the Raskam Valley (IOR/2/1079/253:60-67).

MARSHALL, W. M. (1913): Note on the History of Hunza Rights on the Taghdumbash Pamir (IOL/P&S/10/278: 216-218).

QUDRATULLAH BEG (1935): Hunza ters. In: Lorimer, D. L. R.: Personal Records. Collection of Notes, communication and material collected during 1923-1924 and 1934-1935, archived in SOAS London: MS 181247.

SCHOMBERG, R. C. F. "Hunza Report" (IOL/P&S/12/3293)

SYKES, P. M. (1915): Report on tour to Yarkand. Kashgar (IOR/2/1076/222).

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Aga Khan Rural Support Programme (1984): First Annual Review 1983. Gilgit.

ALLAN, N. J. R. (1987): Ecotechnology and modernisation in Pakistan mountain agriculture: In:

PANGTEY, Y. P. S. & S. C. JOSHI (eds.): Western Himalaya: Environment, problems, and development 2. Nainital, 771-789.

ALLAN, N. J. R. (1989): Kashgar to Islamabad: the impact of the Karakorum Highway on mountain society and habitat. In: Scottish Geographical Magazine 105 (3), 130-141.

ALLAN, N. J. R. (1991): From autarky to dependency: society and habitat relations in the South Asian mountain rimland. In: Mountain Research and Development 11 (1), 65-74.

BERGER, H. (1998): Die Burushaski-Sprache von Hunza and Nager. Wiesbaden.

BIDDULPH, J. (1880): Tribes of the Hindoo Koosh. Calcutta (reprint: Graz 1971, Karachi 1977). BUTZ, D. (1996): Sustaining indigenous communities: symbolic and instrumental dimensions of pastoral resource use in Shimshal, Northern Pakistan. In: The Canadian Geographer 40 (1),


DICHTER, D. (1967): The North-West Frontier of West Pakistan. A Study in Regional Geography. Oxford.

GLADNEY, D. C. (1991): Muslim Chinese. Ethnic Nationalism in the People's Republic (_ Harvard East Asian Monographs 149). Cambridge, London.

GORDON, T. E. (1876): The roof of the world, being the narrative of a journey over the high plateau of Tibet to the Russian frontier and the Oxus Sources on Pamir. Edinburgh.

GROTZBACH, E. & C. STADEL (1997): Mountain peoples and cultures. In: MESSERLI, B. & J. IVES (eds.): Mountains of the World. A global priority. New York, London, 17-38.

ITURRIZAGA, L. (1997): The valley of Shimshal - a geographical portrait of a remote high settlement and its pastures with reference to environmental habitat conditions in the North­West Karakorum (Pakistan). In: GeoJournal 42 (2-3), 308-323.

KNUDSEN, A. (1996): State intervention and community protest. Nature conservation in Hunza, North Pakistan. In: BRUUN, O. & A. KALLAND (eds.): Asian perceptions of nature. A critical approach. London, 103-125.

KREUTZMANN, H. (1986): A Note on Yak-keeping in Hunza (Northern Areas of Pakistan). In: Production Pastorale et Societ 19, 99-106.

KREUTZMANN, H. (1989): Hunza - Landliche Entwicklung im Karakorum. (= Abhandlungen - Anthropogeographie. Institut fur Geographische Wissenschaften der Freien Universitat Berlin 44). Berlin.

KREUTZMANN, H. (1991): The Karakoram Highway: The impact of road construction on mountain societies. In: Modern Asian Studies, 25 (4), 711-736.

KREUTZMANN, H. (1993): Challenge and Response in the Karakoram. Socio-economic trans­formation in Hunza, Northern Areas, Pakistan. In: Mountain Research and Development 13 (1), 19-39.

KREUTZMANN, H. (1994): Habitat conditions and settlement processes in the Hindukush-Karako­ram. In: Petermanns Geographische Mitteilungen 138 (6), 337-356.

KREUTZMANN, H. (1995a): Communication and Cash Crop Production in the Karakorum: Ex­change Relations under Transformation. In: STELLRECHT, I. (ed.): Pak-German Workshop: Problems of Comparative High Mountain Research with Regard to the Karakorum, Tiibin­gen October 1992 (= Occasional Papers 2). Tiibingen, 100-117.

KREUTZMANN, H. (1995b): Globalization, spatial integration, and sustainable development in Northern Pakistan. In: Mountain Research and Development 15 (3), 213-227.

KREUTZMANN, H. (1996): Ethnizitat im Entwicklungsproze6. Die Wakhi in Hochasien. Berlin.

KREUTZMANN, H. (1998): The Chitral Triangle: Rise and Decline of Trans-montane Central Asian Trade, 1895-1935. In: Asien-Afrika-Lateinamerika 26 (3), 289-327.

LORIMER, D. L. R. (1935-1938): The Burushaski Language. Oslo (= Instituttet for Sammen­lignende Kulturforskning, Serie B: Skrifter XXIX-1-3).

MILLS, M. (1996): Winds of Change: Women's traditional work and educational development in Pakora, Ishkoman Tehsil. In: BASHIR, E. & ISRAR-UD-DIN (eds.): Proceedings of the Second International Hindukush Cultural Conference. Karachi, Oxford, New York, 417-426.

SAUNDERS, F. (1983): Karakoram Villages. Gilgit.

SAUNDERS, F. (1984): Integrated Rural Development. Pakistan (Northern Areas). Project Find­ings and Recommendations. Rome (= Terminal Report Pak/80/009).

SCHOMBERG, R. C. F. (1934): The Yarkhun Valley of upper Chitral. In: The Scottish Geogra­phical Magazine 50, S. 209-212.

SCHOMBERG, R. C. F. (1935): Between the Oxus and the Indus. London (reprint: Lahore 1976). SCHOMBERG, R. C. F. (1936): Unknown Karakoram. London. STALEY, E. (1966): Arid Mountain Agriculture in Northern West Pakistan. Lahore.

UHLIG, H. (1995): Persistence and Change in High Mountain Agricultural Systems. In: Mountain

Research and Development 15 (3), 199-212.

VISSER-HOOFT, J. (1935): Ethnographie. In: VISSER, P. C. & J. VISSER-HooFT (ed.): Wis­senschaftliche Ergebnisse der Niederlandischen Expeditionen in den Karakorum and die angrenzenden Gebiete in den Jahren 1922, 1925 and 1929/30, Vol. 1. Leipzig, 121-155.

ZAIGHAM KHAN (1996): Saviours of the lost park. In: The Herald, September 1996, 142-143.

Source: QUDRATULLAH BEG 1935 in LORIMER-Personal Records; SCHOMBERG 1936; SHIPTON 1938; fieldwork and interviews by author 1983-1998.

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