Ties that bind: Chinese cemetery to be renovated by October

Published: June 6, 2013
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Those who visit Gilgit to partake in its natural beauty will place ‘China Yadgar’ on their itinerary. PHOTO: EXPRESS

Those who visit Gilgit to partake in its natural beauty will place ‘China Yadgar’ on their itinerary. PHOTO: EXPRESS

GILGIT: 

Chinese authorities are optimistic they will complete the renovation of a decades-old Chinese cemetery by October.

The renovation is being carried out to pay homage to Chinese labourers and engineers who lost their lives nearly 40 years ago during the construction of the Karakoram Highway (also referred to as the ‘Friendship Highway’) during 1966-76. The cemetery – locally known as ‘China Yadgar’ – is located in Danyor, nearly 10 kilometres from Gilgit River.

The foundation stone for a renovated graveyard was laid by Chinese and Pakistani officials in a ceremony on April 4. Chinese Embassy Consular Zhang Lianyou and Gilgit-Baltistan Assembly Speaker Wazir Baig participated in the event.

“We will hopefully finish work by October this year,” said MA Guiming, an official of the China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) which has undertaken the task of renovating the cemetery.

The Chinese cemetery over the years has been a place worth visiting. Close to the city, it has been somewhat a tourist attraction. Those who visit Gilgit to partake in its natural beauty will place ‘China Yadgar’ on their itinerary; most Chinese visitors who come to Gilgit-Baltistan go to the graves to pay homage.  Some of the deceased workers’ relatives have also visited the graveyard.

Those who visit Gilgit to partake in its natural beauty will place ‘China Yadgar’ on their itinerary. PHOTO: EXPRESS

“The new design will have something to offer to the visitors, including a room for the display of information and photos – possibly about those who sacrificed their lives,” Guiming told The Express Tribune.

But China hasn’t forgotten the people who have been caring for their deceased in their final resting place. For years, the cemetery has been looked after by four Pakistanis recruited for this very purpose. They diligently maintain the memorial park – cleaning, and watering plants.

“We acknowledge this act from the core of our hearts,” Guiming said. “They have done this while the relatives of the victims sit hundreds of miles ways away, unaware of the four Pakistanis’ gesture.”

Acknowledging their services, the Chinese government arranged an official trip to China for two of the maintenance men some years ago. According to Guiming, they were taken to Hong Kong and Beijing as a token of appreciation for their services. “The Chinese nation is grateful to them,” he added.

Like every Pakistani, Guiming is also hopeful rebuilding the cemetery will further strengthen Pak-China ties which flow through the Karakoram.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 6th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (5)

  • Hussain Baltistani
    Jun 6, 2013 - 1:57PM

    Every Natural Beauty of Gilgit Baltistan is owned by Pakistan,
    Every Cultural and Historical heritage of GB is owned by Pakistan,
    Every natural and social potential of GB is owned by Pakistan,
    Every achievement got by GB’s citizen is owned by Pakistan,
    But Pakistani Govenment refuses to give Basic Rights of voting, representation and legislation in Parliament and Senate of Pakistan. Why? Are only the People of GB not Pakistanis? – See more at: http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2013/06/04/city/islamabad/indus-river-projects-can-remedy-power-outages-for-good/#sthash.32rsYQDl.dpuf

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  • Lala Gee
    Jun 6, 2013 - 3:29PM

    @Hussain Baltistani:

    “Are only the People of GB not Pakistanis?”

    Certainly you are. Rather more than anybody else. How could you not feel the love prevalent in every province of Pakistan for the people of Gilgit and Baltistan.

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  • Usman
    Jun 6, 2013 - 4:38PM

    @Lala Gee

    @Hussain Baltistani:
    How could you not feel the love prevalent in every province of Pakistan for the people of Gilgit and Baltistan.

    Love is fine, but what about “Basic Rights of voting, representation and legislation in Parliament and Senate of Pakistan”? That’s what @Hussain Baltistani is asking for and you very conveniently by pass it.

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  • Lala Gee
    Jun 6, 2013 - 8:21PM

    @Usman:

    “Love is fine, but what about “Basic Rights of voting, representation and legislation in Parliament and Senate of Pakistan”?”

    Perhaps you are aware of the fact that GB and Azad Kashmir along with the Indian Occupied part of Jammu & Kashmir were declared disputed territory by the United Nations Security Council, and directed that its accession to Pakistan or India was to be determined by plebiscite. Unilaterally declaring it part of Pakistan and giving it representation in Pakistani Parliament and Senate would be a violation of the UNSC resolutions. However, due to India’s persistent refusal to agree to hold a plebiscite, Pakistan has already given GB the status of a province and people are allowed to choose their provincial representatives through vote. What GB people can do is to demand their representatives to repeatedly pass resolutions for making GB province proper part of Pakistan. I am sure, after passing of certain time, their aspirations will become reality.

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  • Jamshed
    Jun 6, 2013 - 10:50PM

    @Hussain Baltistani:
    “But Pakistani Government refuses to give Basic Rights of voting…..”

    We Punjabis, with the right of vote, feel it is an effort tin futility! Do you think that your vote will mean anything? My vote stands for nothing and with the right of vote, you will also realize that your vote means nothing. Its the same faces, same families every time. Votes mean nothing my friend! Get over that gripe!

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