This paper is based on the author’s Diploma thesis handed in at the Centre for Development Studies (ZELF) of the Freie Universität Berlin. There are many people to whom I would like to extend my thanks for their support, assistance, and contributions to it. Above all, I am greatly indebted to all my interview partners in Gilgit-Baltistan, as well as to the whole team of the Aga Khan Rural Support Programme (AKRSP), Pakistan, for their openness, cooperativeness, and great hospitality during my stay in northern Pakistan. This study would have not been possible without the collaboration with AKRSP. To the following members of AKRSP I would like to specifically express my gratitude for supporting me in multiple ways: Sher Khan, Ahman Ali Shah, Saima Shakoor, Manzoor Hussain and Hinan Aziz from the Community Physical Infrastructure section; Muzaffar Uddin, Regional Programme Manager, and Izhar Hunzai, General Manager; Ghulam Amin Baig and Muhammad Ibrahim, Policy Dialogue and Partnership section; Yasmin Qalandar, Naeema and Shahana, Gender And Development section; Zaib, Aftab and Kosar, Institutional Development section; Nazia, Monitoring & Evaluation section; and Amjad Wali, Entreprise Development section. Special thank-yous further go to Sher Ghazi from MIES (Mountain Infrastructure and Engineering Services), as well as Nazir Abbas and Murad Shah, both working for the gems centre of Sumayar. The successful completion of the field studies would have been unthinkable without the great collaboration with my translators Ali Nazir Abidy and Mohammad Baqir. I am also particularly grateful to the families of Abdul Karim from Bargo Bala, Mansoor Karim from Ahmedabad, and, again, Mohammad Baqir from Sumayar, for providing board and logding. They made me feel at home in their houses and made each of the visits to the case study villages very special and unforgettable. A very special thanks furthermore goes to Prof. Dr. Hermann Kreutzmann, Director of the Centre for Development Studies (ZELF), Freie Universität Berlin, for getting the research internship with AKRSP into gear and encouraging and supporting me during the whole process of writing the thesis. I also want to thank Prof. Dr. Dörte Segebart, Junior Professor at the Institute of Geographical Sciences, Freie Universität Berlin, very much for her very valuable and detailed advice, especially in the beginning of the research. A thank-you goes to the Geographical Society of Berlin (GfE), which supported my research financially. For supporting and advising me during the writing process in Germany, I finally express my gratitude to Andreas Benz, Christoph Hinske, René Herlitz, Holle Wlokas and Imogen Minton, as well as all others who discussed my results with me and offered their constructive criticism. And last but not least I would like to thank my parents for their irreplaceable support during all my years of study.