By Prof. Rahmat Karim Baig
It is with reference to a news item published in media about tourist spots in Chitral which has got the highly dense conglomeration of high mountains, glaciers, unexplored valleys and cwms.
The new spots need access roads of standard quality to attract domestic tourists but the high peaks and glaciers are coveted items of adventure tourism like mountaineering, trekking, hiking, trotting, skiiying, snow boarding, rock climbing etc.
Also read about tourism industry of Chitral.
The spots like Terich Mir BC, Shandur, Boroghil, Summer palace , Kalash valleys are already in notice but inclusion of Madak Lasht, Kagh Lasht are also good spots but inclusion of Gobor is inadvisable as it is already in the control of Defence Ministry and is a sensitive spot and entry not allowed.
The authorities at the helm of affairs and the tourism Ministry KP must understand that a good knowledge of the boundaries of Chitral districts have to be clearly known to the Ministry concerned and be clear about all the para meters of this type of decisions.
The prime Minister, it seems, has little knowledge of the geography, borders, topography, poorest infrastructure and level of poverty of Chitral (with due apology, otherwise he would have taken necessary measures for this hinterland and its neglected inhabitants) and the KP Tourism Authority must take steps after proper data collection from stake holders and experts.
Gobor and the adjoining areas/ valleys have to be dropped from this proposal at this stage and kept for the next phase.
The adventure tourism side of this venture has to be given top priority in this phase as it has eclipsed in the past three decades, almost forgotton, and latest rules and local law and order situation are not known to the adventure clubs in the West.
They were our top clients in the 60s, 70s, and 80s but the contemplated new rules/ abrogation of royalty/ new facilities, inducements etc. by TC, KP must be framed and sent to all diplomatic missions all over the world for translation in local languages in the countries concerned for publicity in the media of those countries to inform the mountaineering clubs and potential customers that await impatiently for re-entry into high Hindu Kush. Now the new generation of those countries want to see this moutain chain but has so far got no access to come to Chitral for many reasons like NOC issues, visa problems etc.
Publicity about adventure tourism in Hindu Kush must be initiated on urgent basis to reintroduce this old destination of climbers abd be apprised of these new measures of PTI government.
An adventure tourist e.g. a climber comes here for about 45 days and spends around 5,000 dollars and a team of climbers thus brings a good amount of foreign exchange that is required so badly.