Dryland, Estelle and Syed, Jawad (2011) A postcolonial perspective on cultural identity: the Balti people “of” Pakistan. Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal, 30 (1). pp. 41-57. ISSN 2040-7149

Purpose – The aim of this paper is to explore issues of cultural identity of the people of Baltistan and any challenges they face in the nation state of Pakistan.

Design/methodology/approach – The paper uses a postcolonial lens to offer a review and synthesis of issues of cultural identity of the Balti people of Pakistan.

Findings – The review demonstrates how the historical and socio-political context is intertwined with the Balti people's cultural identity which remains hybrid as well as contextual in its construction. It reveals that while the state of Pakistan has been able to assert its control over the Balti people and the region of Baltistan predominantly through military means, the critical issues of cultural pluralism and the basic human rights of the Balti people have remained generally ignored throughout the 63 years since partition.

Research limitations/implications – The contentions offered in this paper need to be refined through in-depth empirical studies. Future scholars may wish to examine the class and cultural politics at work in the emerging renaissance movement in Baltistan. Scholars may also examine how the lack of economic development and investment in Baltistan may be forcing the Balti people to resign (at least some elements of) their cultural identity to seek employment in urban areas of Pakistan.

Originality/value – The paper brings to the fore issues of cultural identity of the people of Baltistan, which have – to a large extent – remained ignored by Pakistan as well as internationally.

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