120 foreign tourists, including 77 Japanese, are now safely out of Gilgit, in the northern region of Pakistan, where they were stranded due to violence from separatists groups. The Pakistani government intervened after the Japanese embassy in Islamabad appealed for help. The tourists, who had been in this difficult situation since the start of the month, had no other way of getting transport out of the area, and were beginning to run low on food. All 120 tourists are now safe, and without injury. Plans for transport are also being organized for another twelve tourists stranded in Hunza.
The Gilgit area was put on curfew on Wednesday of last week, due to injuries and a few deaths after violent outbreaks. Sunni and Shiite Muslims have been entangled in tensions for years in the region, but only recently has the area gotten this dangerous. Embassies have issued warnings to those considering travel in the area to evaluate the dangers and rethink their decisions.
The Gilgit region is a regular destination for tourists as well as climbers. It serves as a starting point for expeditions into the Himalayan mountains, and on to the K2, the world’s second highest peak.
Photo source: AP