Stories about tourism

Bring back tourism to G-B

I still remember how tourists, particularly foreigners, would openly wander around the streets of Gilgit-Baltistan before the 9/11 attacks and the subsequent start of sectarian violence in the region. G-B is one of the world’s most scenic destinations, where tourism was once the main source of income for a majority of the population. During summer, some 12 years ago, G-B would host so many foreign tourists that domestic tourists found it hard to find any accommodation. Every hotel, restaurant, guesthouse and even private residents were occupied by foreign tourists and dollars were showered in every business.  Tourists would roam around without any ...

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Chronicles of a misfit Pakistani in Tashkent

October 17, 2012 The journey started from Karachi en route to Lahore. Flights to Tashkent run only on Uzbek Airways and originate from Lahore (Islamabad has recently been added); why not Karachi is a mystery to me? Maybe people from Punjab are more inclined towards history and hedonistic tendencies? Karachi was balmy. Lahore was cool, and we were anticipating cold weather in Tashkent. Why not? It is situated right in between Siberia and Pakistan, and who cannot forget those chilly winds in Quetta and Karachi, courtesy of mother Russia. The latest forecast showed temperatures ranging between 2C-14C, and I prepared accordingly; mufflers, caps, wool coats… hardly ...

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Journey to Quetta: The road less travelled

At 5:00am, my mother woke me up for our long awaited trip to Quetta. Although I have been to Quetta many times, this time around I woke up to a heightened level of excitement. I now owned a Nikon D7000 and could not wait to take pictures of the scenic route to Quetta. We began our adventure at 6:00am. By 7:00am, we had reached Daraban. A gust of fresh air and a soundless environment greeted us ─ no traffic signals, no pollution, no horns. It was only us, the sheer silent beauty of nature and an escort that accompanied us for 10 ...

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London Olympics 2012: The biggest party on the planet!

Before the 2012 Olympics began, London’s mayor, Boris Johnson was proclaiming to the world that the games would show that it is ‘a great time to be British’. Two weeks later, I can safely say that if anything, I think it was a great time to just be in London! It was as if the games had permeated every nook and cranny of the city. I will be honest, before the games started, most of us were unsure of how successful they would be. There were public transportation nightmares, security personnel glitches, bustling crowds, and for a while everyone had their ...

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Euro 2012: So Poland and Ukraine can host but not Pakistan?

The UEFA‘s decision to choose Poland and Ukraine as hosts for the Euro 2012 was dealt with criticism and rightfully so: The two countries are known for their hostile attitudes. Poland, where 96.7% of population is pure Polish, is ranked number 14 in the list of the most racist countries in Europe. Ukraine, which has a whopping 78% of pure Ukrainians, has bagged the 23rd position on the list. However, we were not aware of the situation regarding racism in Ukraine and Poland before the release of the famous BBC documentary “Stadiums of Hate”. ...

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Culture cousins: Beirut and Karachi

The population is made up of people from diverse religious, linguistic, ethnic, and socio-economic backgrounds. Political parties are based on ethnic and sectarian lines which go hand in hand with political identities. Unity is relatively rare among the political leadership and the population in general. The masses blindly follow the incompetent and corrupt leaders and unfortunately some have no other choice as their livelihood depends on it. The same faces and names remain in power for years on end considering the main qualification for holding office is that you belong to a specific family. The blame game never ends (external or ...

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Reviving tourism in Swat

Known for its dazzling beauty with high-peak mountains, lush green valleys, spectacular waterfalls and magical lakes, Swat Valley has remained a tourist’s paradise. Containing thousands of years of history, the valley is not only known for its natural beauty but also for its rich cultural heritage and various civilisations which sprang there. Apart from summer tourism, the valley offers much more for winter tourists. Every year, the skiing slope of Malam Jabba is swarmed with tourists who enjoy the serene environment and hills covered in snow. Tourism, apart from agriculture, is the backbone of Swat’s economy. More than half of ...

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One dozen provinces, please

Recently, the voices calling for the division of Punjab have been getting louder and louder. But do we really need to? What will the consequences be? What are the advantages? My personal view is that many people are demanding division for their petty agendas, but the step is not in the larger interest of Pakistan. Keeping personal interests aside and treating the matter without bias we have come to the conclusion that: Pakistan has certainly developed but not uniformly, many smaller cities have been overlooked (not only in Punjab but in all provinces) Facilities are not provided equally to people of all regions A ...

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Let’s promote ‘religious tourism’

Over 8,000 Sikh pilgrims from various countries visited Pakistan recently to celebrate the 543rd birthday of the founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak Dev. This is not the only occasion in the calendar year when Sikh pilgrims come to Pakistan to visit their religious sites. The federal government has always been sensitive to the needs of Sikh pilgrims, but few in government may have thought that this traditional hospitality can also be converted into a source of earning. Since so many Sikhs visit the country throughout the year, it can use their arrival ...

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Open letter to Shahbaz Sharif

Dear Mr Shahbaz Sharif,  If only you knew a little about economics and governance policies, I would not have been writing this letter today. For the past couple of weeks I have been hearing and reading constant malicious criticism from you and your fellow political puppets on the Government of Pakistan’s policy on two weekly holidays. Keeping the power shortfall debate aside for which this policy has been implemented, I would like to state certain economic arguments in favour of this policy, which of course you would have known of, if you would have ever taken an economics course in ...

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