Strolling through the Gilgit Bazar one finds expensive vehicles lined up on both sides of the road. High sounding brand names and symbols glinting on their back and fore, the vehicles might make a stranger feel like walking in a posh locality of Karachi, Lahore or Islamabad. And, mind you, it is not just about Gilgit city. Almost all major towns of Gilgit – Baltistan are brimming with these expensive models, doing a range of tasks, some as mundane as transporting animal fodder!
So, where have these vehicles come from and what are they doing in the Bazar of Gilgit or on the rough roads of the various valleys; regions usually synonymous with terms like ‘deprivation’ and ‘poverty’? And, even more importantly, who owns these?
The story goes like that most of these vehicles are smuggled into Gilgit – Baltistan from Pakistan and Afghanistan via Khyber Pakhtunkhawa. The smuggling route is Karakuram Highway, the so-called neo-silk-route. These vehicles are sold at ridiculously low prices because the ‘importer’ does not pay any duties. That’s why these vehicles are famously known as NCP vehicles, the shorter version of “Non Custom Paid”.
The government started worrying about the NCP vehicles as they piled up on the village and city streets of Gilgit – Baltistan. It tried, in vain, to snatch the vehicles but failed because some of the buyers and sellers of these vehicles are ‘great leaders and matchless social activists’.
Complete at SOURCE