Forwarded by: Didar Hunzai
ISLAMABAD, May 29: An internationally-renowned Pakistani mountaineer has asked the government to publicly contradict a media report about the alleged presence of Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in Karakurum mountain range, an allegation that can badly damage the economy of the Northern Areas by scaring away foreign and local visitors from the region during tourist season.
Nazir Sabir, the first Pakistani mountaineer to conquer Everest who also heads the Alpine Club, warned on Thursday that the report of an Arabic television network attributed to an unnamed source who alleged that Osama was present in the Karakurum mountain range needed to be immediately clarified by the Foreign Office in strong words.
The appearance of such baseless news item when our mountain tourism season is about to start and a number of expedition teams have made their final arrangements to reach Pakistan for their onward destination to Karakurum and its surrounding mountain ranges is most damaging to our fragile tourism at the very outset of the season, he said.
“This news item can be as baseless and outrageous as someone claiming to have spotted a person hiding in a cave on moon,” he observed.
It is most unfortunate that some of the local and international media is often associating terrorist activities taking place along the Pak-Afghan border to the Northern Areas out of their sheer ignorance and total lack of knowledge. They are not aware of the fact that the Northern Areas is over 500km away from the troubled Afghan border area.
This seems to be a planned conspiracy by some vested interests who are enemies of the peaceful people of the Northern Areas and they do not want to see Pakistan heading towards normalcy while gaining confidence of our international clients to visit Pakistan, Mr Sabir said.
“Our mountain region of Gilgit and Baltistan is known for peace and tranquillity and remains extremely peaceful even during the most disturbed times elsewhere,” he observed. (Courtesy: Daily Dawn)