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Slow work on Babusar Pass hampers tourism in peak season.

ISLAMABAD, July 11, 2010 (Balochistan Times): Kaghan valley witnessed highest arrival of tourists in the first week of July, however, many had to go back unsuccessful owing to the closure of Babusar pass. Tourists turning back home said they reverted from Jalkhad which was located 19 km short of Babusar Pass as there wasnt any option to move on. The historic pass attracts great number of tourists every year. Many people cannot afford to go for trekking Holidays in Gilgit Baltistan because of the closure of Babusar Pass. Najeeb Ahmed Khan of Himalayan Holidays, a tour operator and Vice President of Private Tour Operators Association told closure of Babusar Pass would affect tourism, especially at a time when the government was working hard to restore trade and travel activities of the country. His travel agency plans to launch its biggest tree plantation campaign at Babusar valley by the end of July where upto 2000 pine trees at the altitude of 3200 meter would be planted. Plantation of trees covers area from Paiju, Baltoro glacier to Cholistan desert. As the international tourists visit to Pakistan declined we took this incentive and started the idea of short trekking and camping holidays for families in Naran and Saifulmaluk lake with the slogan Discover Your Own Country which was quiet impressive, he said. This idea worked for the poor people of Naran and Kaghan, while camping is to provide reasonable accommodation and healthy activities that meets the needs of every familys budget. This year, Himalayan Holiday launched another campaign bearing the theme One Tourist Three Trees which not just focusses on tourism promotion, but it also creates awareness of tree plantation among the locals. Weve set target to plant 30000 trees, and the last tree of the year will be planted in Cholistan near Derawar Fort on Aug 30, Najeeb said. Adventurers are flocking various hill stations across the country, mostly to Gilgit-Baltistan and Naran-Kaghan which offers tremendous opportunities for hiking, trekking, and climbing. Apart from its rich potential in archaeological, cultural scenic beauties, Pakistan is blessed with unique topography, high mountains, plateau, plains, deserts and the luring sunny beaches that place the country at an entirely distinguished position vis-a-vis adventure tourism. The mighty ranges of the Karakuram, Himalaya and Hindukush make a rendezvous here. These range have 700 peaks above 6000 metres with as many as 160 peaks rising above 7000 metres. These include five peaks out of the total fourteen peaks on earth, rising above 8000 metres. More than fifty percent of its area is mountainous, particularly its Northern and North-Western regions which possess the most fascinating mountains on earth. There are five peaks above 8000 metres of total fourteen on earth including K-2, the second highest in the world. Here have conglomerated over 150 peaks with summits above 7000 metres and 728 peaks above 6000 metres. This unique characteristics offer immense opportunities of adventure tourism including mountaineering and trekking. Pakistan is gifted with one of the richest and unique collection of majestic and rugged mountains on earth with three spectacular mountain ranges. CDA steps ahead on Education City project, universities show interest ISLAMABAD: The Capital Development Authority (CDA) is in the process of developing the federal capital into Education City as negotiations are on with the local as well as international educations institutes, having interested to establish their campus in enclave. We have invited the education institutes. Some of them have come up with their plans while several others have interested to set up their campuses and research centers here, CDA Chairman Imtiaz Inayat Elahi told this news agency. He said the universities including Agha Khan University, Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute and two other universities of international repute have approached the Authority and expressed their interest in establishing their campuses in the Education City as the federal capital was facing the dearth of land for the purpose. He hoped for a positive response from universities and foresaw a tough competition for allotment of land, adding that it was likely that international tenders may be invited for the purpose. He said the Authority had identified two huge strips of land falling near Shakarparian and Kuri Road and one of them would be selected by the CDA Board shortly. We want to make the federal capital as educational hub. The City would be developed on public-private partnership, said CDA Chairman. The concept of Education City has been derived from developed countries where such cities are serving well since years as Dubai Knowledge Village, Education City Qatar, Education City UK, Kuala Lumpur Education City and Hong Kong Education City. Education City aims to be the center of educational excellence in the region, instructing students in fields of education. It is also conceived as a forum where universities share research and forge relationships with businesses and institutions in public and private sectors, said Imtiaz Inayat Elahi. Besides educational campuses, land would also be specified for the construction of hostels for the students as well as teachers and other professionals as presently, the students and professionals avoid coming Islamabad just owing to the residential issues. Imtiaz Inayat Elahi said the Authority has also got the consent of the Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani in this regard who has applauded the idea and assured cooperation. He said the Authority is also planning to establish its own educational institutions in the City where students would be provided education of international standard to bring them at par with those of other institutes. Recently, in a meeting, Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani has also asked the Education Task Force to develop Islamabad as model city regarding education as the city is represented by all the provinces and regions of Pakistan.

(THROUGH ASIA PULSE)
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Publication:Balochistan Times (Baluchistan Province, Pakistan)
Date:Jul 11, 2010
Words:955
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