Baltistan ( بلتستان, 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.