Recently, Prime Minister Imran Khan inaugurated the Protected Areas Initiative under which there are 15 national parks, including Handarap Shandur national park in Gilgit-Baltistan.
I wonder what does this name stand for? National park is a technical term and means protected habitat of unique flora and fauna. Handarap Shandur is a misleading name. Handarap is not a natural habitat. It is a hamlet of 300 houses in Ghizer district of GB, with a human population of 3,500 souls. There is a nullah called Shonjo Gol. It is 27 km long nullah adjacent to Handarap with beautiful lake, lush green meadows and alpine forest.
Shandur is name of a distant place in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, which neither makes part of its core area nor periphery. In view of the above, the very nomenclature of the national park is wrong. It must be renamed as Shonjo Gol national park which is a natural habitat, not human settlement.
It would be pertinent to suggest that the initiative may be reviewed by technical people having basic know how of biodiversity and its conservation.
National parks are an advanced step of game sanctuary and game reserve and as such it must be planed through a team of experts in the field. The current scenario shows that this topic is under the grip of lay men among political circles.
In order to make a viable technical project, the names of Handarap and Shandur may be deleted from the name and it must be Shonjo Gol national park.
Dr. Inayat ullah Fazi