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Free Tourist Zone – A perfect substitute for Chinese Aid

By Didar Ali

Chinese aidAttabad, Disaster, Rescue, International Aid, Rehabilitation, Chines Aid, World Food, FOCUS, USAID, IDP’s, corruption,  Government, FWO, Army, etc. etc. etc. these keywords have been echoing in the high mountain valley since 2010.

Who ever wanted to gain from miseries, gained well enough; whoever suffered, lost more than enough; and whoever wanted to serve, served with true hearts and minds.

The disaster occurred, the lake came into being, people turned IDP’s, snow leopards became hyenas, and hyenas became wolfs. No offense!

Never mind! The inhabitants of Gojal Valley who used to be self-reliant and cherished their traditional agricultural practices over decades have now become parasites and affectionate to International Aids. Sometimes the distribution of such aidless-aid leads to awful ending.  No issue at all, if there is punching in the face; in return, one gets a bag of flour or rice.

Inhabitants of the valley must be grateful to the victims; according to them the disaster occurred because of massive Facebook campaign. The deity noticed then shoved the mountain down on Attabad, which blocked the Indus creek.  Bestowing their kindness, now we get tons of flour, rice, salt and sugar. With these diviner loafs we can enjoy “KumKum”, “Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi”, “Ishq-e-Mamnoon”, “Fariha”, and many upcoming imprudent and outlandish drama serials.

What next?? No one ever asks such question, not to Mehendi Sho neither to Wengxi Beeg nor to Aid providers, but to “himself.”  Will the people enjoy these serials or switch to some thriller movies that at least have an intermission?

The landlocked geography of Gojal Valley offers rare opportunities to the locals to earn their livelihood; the only cash crop, potato, has now become a liability and the seasonal birds have been avoiding visiting and exploring the pristine nature and rich traditions of the mountain people. Poor image of the holy land and the blocked Karakorum Highway (KKH) are considered to be the main reasons. But, one can’t ignore the lethargic Ministry of Tourism, which recovers from coma during specific festivals, only to get the proposed budget.

Rather crying on graves and shaking comatose, it’s time to come up with some viable solution, which will at least give hope the downhearted youth of Gojal and Hunza.

The Chinese government must come up with some sustainable solutions, rather than providing aid, which further damages habits of the locals and social-harmony as well.  We have already been witnessing many undesirable events lately as a result of the Chinese aid.

Hunza Valley has tremendous potential for tourism related activities; therefore, it’s high time for some practical decision taking by taking the locals of the area onboard.

Opening the Pak-China border for the people of Hunza and Chinese tourists will pace up the economic activities in the area. It will be a life blood to hotel and transportation industries of the area, many hotel owners will be able to provide quality service to the visitors.

The Wakhi’s of Gojal Valley have deep roots in Sinkiang province of China; trade, marriages, and cultural exchange were common in old days. But then Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto separated the Pamiri people, half of the part was given to the Chinese and other half remained with Pakistan. Still there are contacts – rare, but alive among mountain people.

Providing dual-citizenship to the people of Gojal will further enhance economic, education, cultural, and tourism related activities between the Pamiri people of Chinese and Pakistani side.  Such initiative will further strengthen socio-economic ties between China and Pakistan.  It will also help the locals to get back to their fields and work to produce cash crops and sell in the Chinese markets, which are nearer safer and reliable.

Keeping sustainable, eco-tourism in mind will reduce the risk factor, especially in an environmentally most fragile region of World.

Such initiative will be a test case for other nations like, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, India and Afghanistan to come together for regional cooperation, which is increasingly important in high pace economic era.

Didar has a passion to write about arts, culture, philosophy, politics, technology and tourism. He is also a cultural critic. He blogs at OINOMANCY. He can be reached at alee_st@yahoo.com

The views expressed by the writer, the reader comments, the perceptions, opinions, beliefs, and attitudes expressed through this blog are those of individuals and participating users, and are not necessarily aligned with the views, policies, standards, and practices of Mountain TV.

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