“Chitral is such a beautiful piece of land with its captivating mountains, beautiful landscape and rich culture, especially that of the Kalash tribe. But once you reach here you decide never to come back again.”
This was the expression of a woman who had come to Kalash valley to spend the Eid holidays along with her family from Lahore.
Talking to this correspondent in Bumburate, Adeeba Khawar said she and hundreds of other tourists remained stranded for hours on the broken and dirt track between Ayun and the Kalash valley.
Ms Khawar said she was amazed over the beauty of the Kalash valley with its snow-capped mountains, lush green villages and women with their particular dress working in the field. But the trouble the tourists went through while reaching the area and staying in the village were unimaginable.
She said they suffered lots of trouble and wouldn’t be thinking of coming back to Chitral again.
Another tourist from Lahore, Dr Adnan, told ChitralToday that the PTI had been in power in KP for almost six years now making tall claims to promote tourism. But looking at the condition of roads and other facilities in Chitral, it seems the provincial government has done nothing in this sector.
“You have to first construct good roads to reach the tourist spots such as these beautiful valleys of Chitral and set up hotels and other facilities to promote tourism.”
He said it was also strange that the local administration had banned construction of modern hotels in the Kalash valleys where these were needed the most to accommodate tourists.
Hundreds of tourists who reached Bumburate and other areas of Kalash valleys had to go back soon after finding no place to spend a night or some hours.
He said he had heard that the government had allocated millions of rupees for promotion of tourism in the Kalash valleys but here it seems even Rs1,000 have not been spent on providing facilities to tourists, he said.
This year, thousands of vehicles carrying tourists from different parts of the country, mostly Punjab, reached Chitral to beat the heat during the week-long Eid holidays.
Most of them moved to the Kalash valleys while other opted to go to Garam Chashma and Upper Chitral.
But the poor condition of the dirt track from Ayun to Bumburate turned out to be a nightmare for the tourists as they remained stuck there in the scorching sun with no one coming to their help.
Most of the tourists said if the government constructed roads and provide facilities to tourists it could earn billions of dollars from the tourism sector.
They said only statements and false claims would not bring any result and ultimately disappoint the tourists.
Reporting: GH Farooqui