Documentary: The Invisible People of CPEC, Part-1 Gilgit-Baltistan

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Map of Gilgit-Baltistan
Map of Gilgit-Baltistan

“The Invisible People of CPEC” is a documentary series which is the labour of three years of research. I embarked on a journey to explore Jammu and Kashmir when I was just 21 years old and did The Abandoned Cranes on exodus of Kashmiri Pandits back in 2013.

After my first documentary, I got to explore Laddakh and its history and during my trip to Laddakh, I decided to venture into research about Gilgit- Baltistan and the CPEC (China-Pakistan Economic Corridor). The history of Gilgit-Baltistan is fascinating and not much of research has happened academically from Indian stand point. We just call it as an integral part of India without understanding the geographic and ethnic complexities of the area.

It took me three years to culminate this project as I did balancing with my Legal career. The film has been shot at Kargil, Kashgar, Dras, Laddakh Skardu and London. I got footage of Skardu from my friend Goba Ali who is featured in this film and recently visited Gilgit. What I have released now is the first part of documentary series and other parts on Xinxiang and Balochistan will be released on upcoming Saturdays. The documentary is an attempt to understand the issues and concerns of people living around the corridor and how Pakistan illegally captured Gilgit-Baltistan which is an integral part of India.

The documentary also depicts human right violations in Gilgit-Baltistan and the demographic transitions due to CPEC in this region. Also, the Diemer Basha Dam which is proposed to be constructed will further increase the demographic transition.

Apart from unfolding various truths and facts, film salutes the bravery of Indian Soldiers who sacrificed their lives to protect the region. The story of Turtuk and Siege of Skardu are the battles which are least talked about. The film is an effort of individuals and not backed by any organization. Mr. Pragnesh podar, who is my mentor is the backbone of the film. Mr. Vivek Bansal helped me with digital strategy and ensured wider circulation so that it reaches out to a large number of people. Mr. Anuj Saini and his company Shutter Stories has handled the camera work, editing and post production to whom I am extremely thankful. Last but not the least Mr. Shailesh Pandey and Vinod Tikoo who were a guiding force. The film is incomplete without the names mentioned above.

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