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The Ruling Prince of Nagar Valley

Hunza and Nagar used to be separate princely states parted by the River Hunza which marked the border between the two states.

In the north of Pakistan lies an absolutely stunning district; Hunza Nagar, previously known as Brushal, this place is a lakeside paradise. Hunza and Nagar used to be separate princely states parted by the River Hunza which marked the border between the two states. The small states of Hunza and Nagar were notorious for looting trader caravans that would come from China. The British wanted to expand their trade to Russia from here, but the states wouldn’t allow them to. Thus in 1891, Nagar was invaded by the British Army led by Colonel Durand. British surrounded the Nagar’s Nalt Fort, and eventually seized it six months later.

Along with Hunza, Nagar was also an independent princely until former prime minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto revoked their status in the early 1970s. However, the ceremonial king called a Mir continues to warm the throne. Mir Qasim Ali Khan was crowned at the age of 27 some five years ago. The coronation was 40 days after the death of his father Mir Barkat Ali in a car accident. Mir Qasim Ali Khan is the eldest son of Mir Barkat Ali, who died at the age of 64. The late king, whose wife is from Sialkot, was also a CSS officer with the Foreign Service. Mir Qasim, who was born in Singapore, graduated from University of Buckingham. However, he could not continue with his higher education after the death of his father. The current Mir’s in-laws are from Peshawar and his father-in-law is barrister Iftikhar Ahmed who is affiliated with the Pakistan Peoples Party. Qasim’s family is currently settled in England and their next home is Islamabad where they have their property.

Qasim believes every citizen of G-B is special because of the region’s status. “Every citizen must have a diplomatic status given that our forefathers liberated the region and decided to join Pakistan voluntarily,” says Mir, whose grandfather Mir Shokat Ali was among the rulers who opted to become part of Pakistan. Qasim contested elections for the G-B legislative assembly in 2015. He lost by just 150 votes, but it brought his ambitions to serve the people to the fore. It was different to the way his forefathers, or past kings, ruled for centuries. Nagar district is located 65 kilometres north-east of Gilgit on Karakoram Highway. The valley, just short of Hunza, comprises around 30 villages with a population of approximately 90,000.

Once you leave Hunza and crosses the river bridge after Ganesh village, a road turning right takes you  to Hooper. Before Hooper is Nagar Khas(original), which was once the centre of Nagar. The area is blessed with fruit trees comprising of cherries, apples, and apricots. Nagar Khas is full of hard-working, soft-spoken people with narrow homes and outlets. A road from the Nagar Khas Bazar leads to the last village of north, Hispar, and another towards Hooper, which hosts glaciers and the Rush lake. There is no human infrastructure after Hooper.A short after the settlement is a waterfall with water as pure and sweet as honey. The people here are heart-warming and like to presents walnuts, apricots and other delights to tourists.

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