Former G-B prison converted to public library

Chief Secretary Mohyuddin Wani's initiative to turn Gilgit jail into library serves as a beacon of hope for the region

Shabbir Mir August 30, 2023
Gilgit public library spells triumph for change amidst adversity. PHOTO: Express


Once a stronghold for the most dangerous criminals, a building that harboured shadows of fear has now emerged as a sanctuary of enlightenment, even as Gilgit-Baltistan grapples with sectarian tensions.

The initiative, spearheaded by the region’s chief secretary Mohyuddin Wani, has orchestrated a remarkable turnaround, metamorphosing the former notorious Gilgit Jail into a cutting-edge public library, signalling the region's profound commitment to education and intellectual advancement amidst challenges.

This transformation comes at a crucial time, as sectarian tensions have reared their head again, threatening peace in the region.

With this backdrop, the revamped public library stands as a testament to the resilience and progress of locals.

The library, inaugurated on Tuesday, will cater to a diverse range of educational needs. With the integration of internet connectivity, the library throws open the doors to a digital realm of resources, inviting individuals to transcend barriers and immerse themselves in a sea of knowledge.

Within its walls, the library has designated zones catering to different study preferences — from serene solitary study corners to collaborative hubs that nurture group discussions and shared learning experiences. The library's shelves stand adorned with a diverse array, encompassing newspapers in both English and Urdu, an eclectic assortment of magazines, scholarly journals, and an extensive collection of books spanning myriad subjects and genres. Embracing the digital age, the library extends its reach to the virtual world through accessible computer terminals.

Read KCBL: Uplifting G-B through growth, inclusion, and resilience

Chief Secretary Mohyuddin Wani's commitment to community empowerment is even more pertinent as the region that saw a change of government in the recent past. He stated, "This initiative symbolises the metamorphosis of a space that once held darkness and dread into a vibrant epicentre of enlightenment and personal growth."

The decision to extend the library's operational hours until 9pm underscores its inclusivity, catering to various schedules and offering an environment conducive to focused study, research, and scholarly exploration. The move is expected to particularly benefit students gearing up for examinations, providing them with intellectual resources amidst the ongoing challenges.

The former prison's evolution into a modern public library stands as a triumphant testament to transformation and renewal. The fresh initiative, it is believed, has breathed life into a place once shrouded in infamy, transforming it into a dynamic nucleus for knowledge, curiosity, and intellectual exchange.

The library's unveiling reflects Gilgit-Baltistan's dedication to educational elevation, promising to inspire generations and propel the region into new dimensions of progress, said lawmaker Syed Sohail Abbas, who also attended the brief inauguration ceremony on Tuesday.

As the doors of this reinvigorated space swing open, a resounding message echoes: where darkness once reigned, the light of learning now illuminates, exemplifying the boundless resilience and potential of human growth, even in the face of adversity.


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