The Gilgit Baltistan is officially referred to by the government of Pakistan as the Federally Administered Northern Areas (FANA). It borders Afghanistan to the north, China to the northeast.The Northern Areas, which became a single administrative unit in 1970, was formed from the amalgamation of the Gilgit Agency, the Baltistan District of the Ladakh Wazarat, and the states of Hunza and Nagar. With its administrative center at the town of Gilgit, the Northern Areas covers an area of 72,971 km² (28,174 mi²) and has an estimated population approaching 1,000,000.

Before the independence of Pakistan and Partition of India in 1947, Maharaja Hari Singh extended his rule to Gilgit and Baltistan. After the partition, Jammu and Kashmir, in its entirety, remained an independent state. The Pakistani parts of Kashmir to the north and west of the cease-fire line established at the end of the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947, or the Line of Control as it later came to be called, were divided into the Northern Areas (72,971 km²) in the north and the Pakistani state of Azad Kashmir (13,297 km²) in the south. The name "Northern Areas" was first used by the United Nations, to refer to the northern areas of Kashmir. A small part of the Northern Areas, the Shaksgam tract, was provisionally ceded by Pakistan to the People's Republic of China in 1963.

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Gilgit

Gilgit (Urdu: گلگت, Hindi: गिलगित) is the capital city of the Northern Areas, Pakistan and a tehsil (headquarters) of Gilgit District. Its ancient name was Sargin, later to be known as Gilit, and it is still called Gilit or Sargin-Gilit by local people, in the Burushaski language, it is named Geelt. Ghallata is considered its name in ancient Sanskrit literature. Gilgit city is one of the two major hubs on the Northern Areas for all mountaineering expeditions of Karakoram to the peaks of the Himalayas, the other hub being Skardu.

Gilgit has an area of 38,000 square kilometres (14,672 sq mi). The region is significantly mountainous, lying on the foothills of the Karakoram mountains, and has an average altitude of 1,500 metres (4,900 ft). It is drained by the Indus River, which rises in the neighbouring regions of Ladakh and Baltistan.

Skardu Baltistan

Baltistan

Baltistan (Urdu: بلتستان, Hindi: बलतसतान) , also known as بلتیول (Baltiyul) in the Balti language, is a region in northern Pakistan (administratively situated in nortern areas.Northern areas were part of jammu and kashmir and came under pakistani control in 1947) , bordering Xinjiang Autonomous Region of China. It is situated in the Karakoram mountains just to the south of K2, the world's second highest mountain. It is an extremely mountainous region, with an average altitude of over 3,350 m (11,000 ft). It is inhabited principally by Balti Shi'a Muslims of Tibetan descent who converted from Tibetan Buddhism prior to the 16th century.

Baltistan was an independent state but was occupied by the Raja (King) of Kashmir in the nineteenth century. In 1947 when India and Pakistan gained independence, it was still part of Kashmir. Now the region is divided between Pakistan and India. The districts of Skardu (Skardo) and Ganche, which is a part of the Northern Areas of Pakistan, its main town is Skardu. It contains the highest peaks of the Karakoram, including K2. Indian-controlled Baltistan (the district of Kargil) which is disputed and claimed by Pakistan is located in the north of Kashmir