Pakistan’s Waziristan fast becoming tourism hotspot: Report

ISLAMABAD, Aug. 14 (INP): Waziristan is fast becoming a tourism hotspot, as it provides some fascinated places to visit, says a report published by Gwadar Pro on Friday.
Tribal youth from South and North Waziristan are extensively utilising social media platforms to promote the stunning beauty of the erstwhile lawless districts bordering Afghanistan ever since Pakistan Army wiped out militants here.
The report says, this is a success story, as thousands of people have started travelling to Waziristan, including families, from the country’s settled areas, said Zahid Wazir, an analyst from North Waziristan, who has vast exposure to matters related to the tribal region.

Zahid Wazir said that Waziristan had the potential to divert tourism spotlight from Swat, Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan, at least for the people of Sindh province and South Punjab, not to mention foreign tourists at this point of time.
He said that the CPEC Western route will also connect these areas with the rest of the country, which will further boost tourism in Waziristan.

Wazir said that many factors contributed to this unexpected but pleasant development, including better roads network, which made the areas easily accessible.
However, the biggest contributor is the change of mindset and social acceptability for people of non-tribal areas among the tribesmen as they went through untold hardships in camps in settled areas after they were displaced due to military operations in the past, he said.

Saifee Wazir, a professional cameraman struggling to set up a firm to promote tourism in Waziristan, said that there were still issues for people of other areas to freely access these districts.
The government needs to encourage people and grant people NOCs for bringing tourists to Waziristan without any hassle.
These districts could become a new tourism hotspot in the country, he said optimistically. He said that due to the presence of hardcore militants in the area for decades, the Army is still not allowing non-local people to freely visit Waziristan.

Hayat Preghal, a political activist from the area and admin of numerous social media pages on Waziristan, observed that tourism sector could become an industry in these districts if the government developed a few spots and built quality hotels there.
The local people are shy of investing their money in tourism facilities because the uncertainty is still prevailing there, he said.

Hayat Preghal added that Waziristan had two trade corridors with Afghanistan, via Angoor Ada and Ghulam Khan. Also, these districts produce the best of pine nuts, apple, vegetables and precious herbs.
The government has also established an agriculture park on a vast piece of land in Ladha. He expected that Waziristan will become a tourism and trade hub in days to come, which might amaze fellow Pakistan who otherwise only imagined bloodshed in this beautiful terrain.

INP/javed