Signs of restoration of tourism in Malakand Division
July 27, 2012
Following successful military operation in Malakand Division, once more signs of restoration of tourism industry are looking positive. Since last few years Malakand Division has been hit by terrorism, flashfloods which has pushed the people and Division backwards.
Once the biggest grossing industry in Swat, the ski resorts, guesthouses, shops and restaurants that catered to the tourism industry now lie abandoned or in ruins. Often the most dominant buildings in the valley's landscape, hotels were frequently captured by insurgents as bases or vantage points during both the siege of Mingora and along the frontlines of the bloody war as security forces battled with the entrenched Taliban militants.
In the past few years, the situation and crisis through which the people of Malakand had to pass is a different chapter of history. Three years back the wave of militancy and an army led operation to crush this wave started a vicious circle as a result of which the people of Malakand had to pay the price in the form of extremism, terrorism, migration and destruction of infrastructure.
In view of this scenario, not only the basic infrastructure of health and education were destroyed but the most vital sector of Malakand Division the tourism industry suffered a major back lash. Thousands of people who were affiliated with this industry and were earning their livelihood, were the worst sufferers of terrorism.
After successful offensive launched by the army against the militants, all efforts are being made to revive the tourism industry both domestically and internationally. In this regard several sporting events such as Peace Fairs and Sports festival were organised to lure the people.
In this endeavour, a three day Shahi Peace festival was organised by the Pakistan Army with the cooperation of Tourism Corporation KPK (TCKPK).
Hundreds of tourists, local youth, journalists and personnel of security forces enjoyed different games played.
Different games including volleyball, tug-of-war, football, skating, rugby, paragliding and baseball were played among various visiting teams while on the occasion Music and Dance enthralled the audience in this regard.
Prizes were distributed among the winners. The locals wanted more such events as the war-torn area needs some kind of boosting as morals of people are not very high. They opine that such events will refresh their minds.
Second thing is the wave of militancy which keeps striking back. It is interesting that whenever the tourist season begins the wave of militancy rears its ugly head especially in Dir, and Swat. While as soon as the season is over the militant activities die down. The interference by militants and the religious circles are the main hurdle in tourism industry here.
Forests are also an important source of income for the people here, but due to negligence of the government and liaison between smugglers and the administration billions of rupees of forests are being destroyed. If foreign investors are brought in to look after the forests than this area would be made into a true heaven.
It is the need of the hour for the government to spend money to improve the facilities for lodging, education and health. Hotels should be constructed and a complete ban on deforestation should be implemented if we want to revive the tourism industry.