Population: There is considerable confusion about the population. Local leaders estimate the total population as about 1.5 million, but according to an official website, the Northern Areas had a total population of 870,347 in 1998 distributed as follows: Gilgit--243,324, Baltistan--214,848; Diamir--203, 591; Ghizar--120,218 and Ghanche--88,366.
In Pakistan, census figures are treated as
official secrets due to frequent clashes due to differences over the exact
figures of the populations of different ethnic and sectarian groups. The
population of the POK is 3,271,000, that is, about 3.3 million. India's J&K
has a population of 10.1 million.
Languages/dialects spoken: Brushaski is spoken in Hunza, Nagir, Yasin, some parts of Gilgit, and some villages of Punyal. Shina in different dialacts is spoken mainly in Gilgit, throughout Diamir, and most of the areas of Ghizar. Balti is spoken by the entire population of Baltistan except some villages. Wakhi is spoken in upper Hunza and some villages in Ghizar, and Khwar is spoken by some Khwar families in Ghizar. None of these languages are related to each other.
- According to an agreement
dated 28th April 1949, with the government of the POK, the subjects of
defence, foreign affairs, security, currency and the control of Gilgit and
Baltistan were transferred to the government of Pakistan.This
agreement is known as the "Karachi Agreement".
- In 1963, China and Pakistan signed a boundary agreement known as the China-Pakistan Final Agreement in respect of the demarcation of the Xinjiang-Kashmir border. In this agreement, the Northern Areas were shown as disputed areas and admitted as a part of the Jammu and Kashmir State. Under this agreement, the government of Pakistan handed over the Shaksgam area (5,800 sq. kms) of Baltistan to China. Later, both the governments signed an agreement stating as follows:".The two parties have agreed that after the settlement of the Kashmir dispute between Pakistan and India, the sovereign authority concerned will reopen negotiations with the government of the Peoples' Republic of China on the boundary, as described in Article II of the present agreement, of Kashmir so as to sign a boundary treaty to replace the present agreement."
- The literacy rate is 14 per
cent for men and 3.5 per cent for women.
- There is just one doctor for
- Piped water supply is
non-existent. So is electricity for more than two thirds of the population
of the area.
- Except for some brick kilns
there is no ‘industry’ in the area.
- There are only two colleges in the area. There is not a single polytechnic.
It is said that this area has been referred to as 'Bolor' in the accounts of the Chinese pilgrims as well as in the Arabic and Persian books of the Muslim historians including in Alberuni's account and in the Tarikh-i-Rashidi of Mirza Haider Dauglat, who conquered Kashmir for Akbar in 1586 and thus for the first time Kashmir became part of India. Balawaristan, it is said, is derived from Bolor.