Pakistan is home to world’s largest ice glaciers

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By Sultan Shoaib

GILGIT, Jan 29 (APP):For millenia,glaciers have formed life lines of cultures,food production,livelihoods and biodiversity.
In modern times ,these rivers of ice also considered as the water reservoirs or water banks of the country provide cooling water for power stations and water supplies for industry and hence contributing immensely in boosting the economy of countries.
Pakistan is home to world’s largest ice glaciers out of the polar region. Spreading over an area of 16933 square kilometer, there are over 5000 glaciers in the Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral regions of Pakistan which include the famous Siachin Glacier, Biafo Glacier, Khoordhopin Glacier, Batura Glacier, Braldu Glacier, Snow Lake and many more these glaciers are the major source of Water feeding the major rivers in Pakistan. In the wake of the alarming increase in the Global warming, these glaciers are facing a serious threat, resulting an existential threat not just to the over 2 million people of Gilgit-Baltistan but also the 200 million people of Pakistan.
Glacier depletion especially the melting were causing flash floods in many areas of Pakistan causing human displacement and lose of lives. In future this can affect agriculture, drinking water supplies, hydroelectric power, and ecological habitats.
This can also affect Pakistan’s economy that depends mainly on water from glacier melt.
A group of mountaineers and researcher from Shimshal Valley – Hunza Gilgit, reached Askoli, a remote mountain village in Skardu, after walking across the Braldu Pass. They are on a mission to raise awareness about saving glaciers from depleting.
The expedition had started from Shimshal Village in Hunza-Gojal on January 1, this year.
The expedition members surveyed Mulungdi glacier and Khurdupin glacier before embarking on their journey to Askoli on January 6. Finally they have reached Askoli. Glacier, Batura Glacier, Braldu Glacier, Snow Lake and many more these glaciers are the major source of Water feeding the major rivers in Pakistan. Keeping in view this alarming situation, Pakistan Integrated Mountain Conservancy Program (PIMCP) -an initiative by young researchers and mountaineers is going to organize the 1st Winter Glacier Conservancy Awareness Expedition 2017. The expedition members, originally, included Abdul Joshi, Niamat Karim, Daulat Muhammed, Bulbul Karim, Eid Muhammed, Ali Rehmat, Mansoor Karim, Syed Zaman, Jalaluddin and Hidayat Shah, all hailing from Shimshal valley. Of these members, Abdul Joshi, Saeed Zaman, Niamat karim, Hameed ullah, Bulbul karim and Daulat Muhammad were able to cross the highly difficult terrain, including Braldu, Lupke La, Snow Lake, Biafo, Khoordhopin and Yazghail Glacier.

A research expedition had also been held already, in which young researchers and activists, Adnan Mirza (Gulmigt), Reena (Moorkhun), Reema Shimshal and Syed Ahmad Khan also took part.
The expedition was aimed at monitoring and collecting data to analyze the change in the glaciers due to global warming.
Samiullah, one of the researchers in the PIMCP, said that the data and information collected during the expedition would be shared with various University students and research organization in Pakistan who were conducting research work on glaciers.
“It will also work for raising awareness about the rapid and alarming rate of glaciers’ depletion due to human made Global Warming and inspiring people at every level around the world in general and Pakistan in particular to stand up and take some substantial steps in addressing the issues of global warming and climate change,” he added.