Pakistan’s ‘safest place’ joins the tourist map

By Nisar Ali – KHAPLU: A mountainous district in northern Pakistan that draws tens of thousands of local and international tourists every year could be one of the country’s “safest places,” according to locals and police officials.

Renowned for its picturesque landscapes and surrounded by some of the highest mountains in the world, Ghanche, which borders China’s Xinjiang province and the Indian-administered region of Ladakh, has not seen an armed robbery or other serious crimes such as murder in the past decade, a police official told Arab News.

The last reported murder occurred about 15 years ago. “Ghanche is a very peaceful region of Gilgit-Baltistan. The crime rate here is quite negligible,” police chief Jan Muhammad told Arab News.
“We haven’t witnessed serious crimes such as murders or armed robberies for years.”
Muhammad said that people in the district were hospitable and peaceful, and he had never received any complaints from locals or tourists of personal belongings or valuables being stolen.
“This district is one of the safest places in northern Pakistan,” Muhammad said.
Police records show only 34 complaints of “an ordinary nature” registered across the district in 2020. This year, police in Ghanche received only three “minor complaints.”
Despite travel restrictions in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, Ghanche continues to host foreign and local tourists, mainly due to its safe reputation.

“People prefer to travel to secure places, and Ghanche is the best place to visit due to its idyllic surroundings and peaceful environment,” said Muhammad Zanique, a tourist from Lahore. “This is my second trip, and I recommend everyone visits this area.”
Muhammad Nasim Rashpori, a hotel owner in Ghanche, said people usually left their houses and vehicles unlocked since there was “no concept” of theft in the district.
“Sometimes we find cell phones and wallets of tourists that they mistakenly leave behind in their rooms,” Rashpori said. “We do our best to trace the owners and return these items.”

The Pakistan Army’s brigade headquarters is located at Goma in Ghanche district. The army’s Gayari Sector Battalion Headquarters is 32 km west of Siachen Glacier.

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