By Prof. Rahmat Karim Baig
It is to remind the stakeholders of tourism activities that when the PTI government came to power in 2018 it declared to implement the vision of the prime minister to revamp and extend tourism in the country and the KP and started work on the line. But the then minister for tourism was ignorant of the ABCs of this field and he preferred to make a few tours out and spent government money on useless exercises.
At the same time, he imported certain ideas that have already been criticized by this scribe and others for importing Thai experiences that stand on sex tourism or the idea of introducing tourism police – a measure that is alarming after the militancy in our country.
What was contemplated in their meetings was to select sites for promotion as tourist resorts. This is a stupid idea. The resort idea is needed where there is no such attractive sight or destinations that the authorities turn to making resorts.
Pakistan has got thousands of such natural resorts – too attractive to be developed any more such as you cannot develop the relics of Buddhas or Buddhistic ruins of the monasteries, or destinations like Terich Mir, Saraghar BC. That are already framed by nature and the Ministry has to publicize them professionally.
Certain outlandish sites were included with some members from here and there to embody a tourism advisory committee to advance the vision of those who were included in it were hoteliers without ever have hiked to the base camps of the giants of Hindu Kush nor they had ever organized expeditions to claim to have experience of that field. But because they had access to the echelons concerned and the minister did not bother to investigate about the expertise of the members of his team.
To materialize a vision is not an easy task and the minister did not understand it. He transferred three provincial secretaries within two months along with the MD and that was what he did and failed badly to make any headway in the right direction.
The inclusion of novices in the said committee was to promote the interests of the closer friends not based on their experience in that field but because they were members of his cartel. He was looking for an opportune time to dislodge the CM instead of working for his ministry. I met him, listened to his idea and was disappointed for his poor knowledge of the portfolio that had been entrusted to him.
What he had presumed was that he was a champion and could work miracles but it was a stupid idea. The guy had received votes of PTI workers at the call of Imran Khan; these were not his personal votes banked by him for his services. He is not to be given the same portfolio in future but someone with wider knowledge of the discipline be given such a sensitive duty to promote tourism – adventure tourism, religious tourism, cultural tourism, eco-tourism, geo-tourism, research tourism etc.
The lesson given should be strengthened. The funds allocated for this purpose be spent on improving infrastructure, basic facilities, information and publicity kits, framing and publication of rules for mountaineering and trekking as had been done in the 60s and 70s. Novices are not to be recruited for high profile duties.
We hope that the PTI government will take judicious steps in the selection of ministers and there is no option to choose people for challenging positions who lack wisdom and experience or devotion to duties and public service as a representative should be.