A new museum and art gallery showcasing artefacts from the Gilgit-Baltistan region in Pakistan opened in Bradford on Sunday.
Opened by honorary Sports, Culture, and Tourism ambassador to the region and former Conservative Party MP candidate for Bradford West, Haroon Rashid, the Gilgit-Baltistan Culture and Gallery features photographs of the region, videos, clothes and cultural artefacts.
The members of staff at the cultural centre will also provide free tourism advice to any prospective travellers who want to visit the region.
Gilgit-Baltistan, formally known as the Northern Areas, is an autonomous territory administered by Pakistan in the northern portion of the greater Kashmir region with a population of 1.3m.
The area is becoming increasingly popular with national and international travellers flocking to the region to enjoy its outstanding beauty.
Esteemed guests from across the UK turned up to the gallery opening in Manningham over the weekend.
Mr Rashid, said: “Gilgit-Baltistan Culture and Gallery is a cultural centre and gallery that displays artefacts from the Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan.
“It was opened officially on Sunday, and we had guests from across the country. Kamran Asif, who works as a climate change analyst for the United Nations gave a presentation on tourism in the region.
“We also had the Mayor of Ealing, Councillor Munir Ahmed, Dr Manoj Josh DL, Mohammed Aslam and Mohammed Sabir of Aagrah Group, and some leaders in the business community from London, Cambridge and Newcastle.”
The main tourism activities in this region are trekking and mountaineering. Gilgit-Baltistan’s Minister for Tourism, Sports, Culture, Archaeology and Youth Affairs, Raja Nasir Ali Kahn, told Associate Press Pakistan, that 700,000 local and foreign tourists visited the region in the first half of 2021, helping to revive the tourism sector which was heavily impacted in 2020 due to Covid-19 travel restrictions.
Mr Rashid, added: “Mr Asif gave a presentation on the culture of Gilgit-Baltistan, its diversity, the mountain ranges, its rivers, glaciers, festivals and the best time to travel.”
Due to the increase in tourism activity in the area, airlines have increased the frequency of flights, Mr Rashid said. “There used to be one flight from Islamabad to Gilgit-Baltistan but now there is three flights daily to Gilgit Airport and Skardu International Airport from Islamabad, Lahore, and Karachi.”
Gilgit-Baltistan is home to some of the highest mountains in the world, including K2 and Nanga Parbat.
Mr Rashid, added: “The region has some of the most beautiful glaciers, it is rich with minerals, some of the highest life expectancies in Pakistan, it is detached. Post-Covid-19, there is a lot of travellers who to visit the region because of its outstanding natural beauty and clean air, it is unlike anywhere else in the world.”
The gallery is found on Priestman Close, Manningham, BD8 8BY and will be open from 10am to 12pm Monday to Thursday or by appointment.