Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan is one of the most picturesque and scenic regions. It is also a hotbed of diverse flora and fauna as well as rich culture of the various mountain villages and communities living there since thousands of years with their own food, traditions and various festivals that also serve as an attraction for tourists, local and foreigners alike.
However, overtime as more and more domestic tourists visit these gorgeous Northern Areas, it has come to light that some Pakistanis are unabashedly abusing the hospitality and testing the patience of the local people. The people who have been nothing short of warm and extremely welcoming towards all sorts of people whether they be foreigners or locals’ the fact that they felt the need to speak up at how the domestic tourists treat the local people is a testament to how entitled majority of the Pakistanis visiting these areas are.
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Trespassing, Degradation of the environment, breaking off fruit tree branches and much more… :
The behavior of local tourists is nothing but absolutely despicable and appalling. They abuse the traditions and trample on the culture of the people living there just to get what they want with no regard for the fact that if the locals are even comfortable with their behavior.
Their behavior entails not just trespassing onto private property for likes and clicks, but they are also frequently getting into scuffles with the locals if they request them not to do so. The display of aggressive behavior and entitlement just knows no bounds as they shamelessly break off tree branches and pick un-ripened fruits just to throw them on the ground rendering them useless for the locals who rely on those trees and their products in their everyday lives and livelihood.
The unripe fruits and breaking branches off trees might seem of not much consequence for a lot of people but aside from the fact that the act is inherently useless and doesn’t amount to much; they are in fact of substantial importance to the locals who rely on the wood and fruit for their business and various other purposes.
These domestic tourists display themselves as educated but uneducated masses because the entitlement is so obvious when they have the nerve to take offense for being called out at doing something so clearly wrong and intruding on to the private property of local people. It is almost as if they view the Northern Areas as a commodity that exists solely to serve as a backdrop in their trip pictures and they have no regard for the local people and their environment whatsoever.
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Captured on Video – Animal abuse, trespassing and destroying trees:
There have been many famous TikTok videos that have gone viral for all the wrong reasons which depicted a man breaking off entire branches of trees laden with fruits from a private pasture and on being told off by a local, the man starts to yell and gesture wildly as if he is not the one in wrong but the local is. They don’t seem to fathom that these trees and fruits are not for free and just existing there for them to take as they please and do whatever but actually belongs to someone who relies heavily on them.
Another viral Tiktok video had a guy abusing a protected species of Marmot in the Khunjerab National Park premises which sparked outrage. For details, check out: Animal Abuse: Pakistani TikToker Captures Marmot in Khunjerab National Park
Moreover, there have been cases in which they demand freebies from local markets and shop owners which shows once again how entitled and completely uncivilized they act when they go to the Northern Areas. They treat people over there as sub-class humans and want to do whatever they want to. They don’t like being told off for their wrong-doings and are very demanding with a complete lack of respect for anyone and anything.
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It is astonishing how little local Pakistani tourists care for the home and habitat of others. As a tourist, it is our responsibility to be aware of how to conduct ourselves. These tourist spots may just be a sightseeing adventure or a good memory to us but it is important to remember that it is also the place which many people call home.
Just as we would keep our own homes clean and be at our best behavior at someone else’s house, it is our responsibility to represent the same traits and behavior while going on trips and tours. If we act in such a shameful manner and commodify the locals and their property, damage their environment; what standard are we setting for the other foreigners who would also act in a similar manner as we do. We should treat the environment, the people, the culture and traditions with the utmost respect so that the foreign tourists can also be told to abide by the laws and be respectful of the mountain communities and the environment they inhabit. Before we can learn or teach others to care for the environment, it should be common sense to not indulge in acts that so evidently violate a person’s property, integrity and hospitality.
The EPA and government needs to fine such people and actively register FIRs and impose penalties on these people as well as issue a warning to not let them visit these places again if they keep up such disturbing behavior towards the locals.
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