Off-limits and forgotten
Tourist places in Balochistan remain largely deserted due to the government’s apathy and the law and order situation By Muhammad Akbar Notezai Mysterious valleys, juniper forests, long stretches of deserts and blue seas, rugged mountains enriched with natural resources and much more make Balochistan one of the most attractive and exotic regions in Pakistan for tourist attractions. Also, the province forms huge land mass of Pakistan, which is approximately 347, 190 Sq Kms. Spring (March-May) and autumn (September-November) are ideal times to visit its beautiful and wonderful places. This is when days are pleasantly cool, but nights get distinctly chilly. In spring, the valleys are carpeted with wild flowers, and in autumn, the orchards are heavy with ripe fruits. The summers are hot, even in Quetta, the provincial capital of Balochistan, though the nearby hills of Ziarat average a pleasant 27 degree Celsius , down the plains, for example at Sibi, temperatures go as high as 52?C. Balochistan is bestowed with great scenic beauty, including: panoramic mountains, rich cultural heritage, abundant resources, hilly stations, orchards, deserts, golden beaches, marine life, flora and fauna, archaeological sites, historic forts, prehistoric caves and rock shelter dwelling, mud volcanoes, etc. There are excellent hiking, trekking and caving opportunities. The geographical contrast from the golden beaches of the Arabian Sea to the Sulaiman Range is wonderful, especially for a newcomer. Ziarat, which is also known as valleys of juniper, is situated 133 km from Quetta at an altitude of 8,400 feet above the sea level. The local tourists mostly prefer Ziarat resort to visit. It possesses the oldest and largest junipers of the world. It is also said that some juniper trees are as old as 5,000 years. Besides, people from the other province of the country largely visit Ziarat district in summer season. The Shrine of Baba Kharwari is also situated in Ziarat. A large number of people visit his shrine and offer sacrifices. While during Eid holidays, local tribesmen gather around the shrine. Other exciting places of Ziarat are Zizree, the Gorges Ferntangi, Shaista Tangi, Sandeman Tagi, Chashma Walk and Karbi Tangi. Makran is the south-west administrative division of the province, with an area of about 24, 000 sq miles. It is bounded on the west by Iran with a common border of about 320 km and on the south by the Arabian Sea. The coastline of Makran is about 400 km long, which has geo-strategic significance due to its proximity with the straits of Hormuz. Gwadar is an important coastal town besides being the biggest fishing centre in the entire coastal belt of Balochistan. Today, Gwadar is a new seaport with an attractive beach. There is also a beautiful island named Astola. A few of the interesting places of Gwadar are Koh-e-Mehdi, Darya-e- Cham (eye of sea), Ghar (cave), Shrine of Nakhuda Bangti Ismail, and Pishukam beach. Quetta is a major tourist attraction. Hanna Lake, Urak Valley, Hazarganji, Chiltan National Park, Zarghun and Lak Pass, etc, are the most beautiful places for tourists. Despite having beautiful places, the government has not been able to exploit these as tourist resorts. After the 18th Amendment, all powers have been transferred to the provinces. But due to the element of corruption and bureaucratic lethargy, the devolution of powers seems to be slow. “Foreign and local tourists rarely visit places these days due to the law and order situation. Besides, investors do not invest in this sector,” laments Yaqoob Shah, Director of PTDC (Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation) Balochistan. “We can boost up our tourism economy if we succeed to bring investors’ attention towards this sector,” he adds. Tourists have been kidnapped in Chaghi district of Balochistan. The two Czech tourists are still missing in Chaghi.
(Courtesy to: The News On Sunday)
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