“The government should extend Swat like package for the hotel industry of Gilgit – Baltistan, because arrival of tourists in the region has dwindled due to wrong policies of the governments regarding naming of Gilgit – Baltistan. Confusion regarding name of Gilgit-Baltistan and the ignorance of national media has projected Gilgit-Baltistan as a volatile and unsafe region, discouraging tourists, contrary to the face that it is one of the most peaceful regions of Pakistan”.
These remarks were , reprtedly, made by Shehbaz Khan, member district council Gilgit, an elected representative of Gojal valley, during a meeting with Nawabzada Malik Amad Khan, state minister for foreign affairs. The state minister was also briefed about other problems faced by people of Hunza valley in particular and Gilgit-Baltistan in general.
Talking to this reporter on phone Shehbaz Khan said that the minister assured swift action in this regard. Shehbaz also told PT that he has demanded creation of opportunities for arrival of tourists from across the world, through China. He demanded that tourist facilitation centers be established in the region to attract and support tourists comingthrough China.
Another point raised by Shehbaz during the meeting, as reported, was regarding the ‘negative impact of NATCO’s decision to launch direct bus service, between Rawalpindi and Kashghar”, on hotel industry, tour operators and other related”. Shehbaz told Pamir Times that the local people are only left with ‘smoke of the buses crossing the valleys, while all opportunities of income generation have been reduced.
Shehbaz, reportedly, also raised the issue of Hunza – Nagar district and additional seat for Hunza region during the meeting with Malik Amad Khan. The minister, reportedly, assured Shehbaz that his doors are always open for the people of Hunza valley, because “he is also a farzand of Hunza”. The minister has assured Shehbaz Khan that he will make special efforts to resolve issues of Hunza valley.
Shehbaz Khan, talking to this reporter, also said that he has met additional secretary for foreign affairs, Ali Sher Orakzai and Nawabzada Amin Ullah Khan Raiisani, state ambassador, presenting the same demands.