MIRPUR, Apr 28 (TNS): Sardar Masood Khan, President Azad Jammu and Kashmir has said that the government is focusing on economic development with emphasis on promoting and developing the tourism industry in AJK.
The President made these remarks while addressing the inauguration of the Summer Tourism Festival 2018 organized by AJK Tourism Department at Assefa Bhutto Park, Mirpur. The President was the chief guest at the event.
President AJK visited the stalls set up by the various departments of the AJK Government, private entities and tour operators alike. Other stalls also displayed books, artefacts, exhibits, local products and traditional foods.
Speaking at the event, the President said that Azad Kashmir is a beautiful area that has huge potential for tourism as it possesses varied landscape and climate. He said that this tourism festival is the first of its kind organized in the southern regions of Azad Kashmir.
The President added that areas of Mirpur and Bhimbar are tourist destinations in both summers and winters.
Speaking to his audience the President said that AJK has many historical and religious sites like Sufi shrines, forts and archaeological sites. These sites he said are not only attracting tourist but also a source of knowledge for researchers studying ancient civilizations.
The President said that AJK is on the cusp of an economic revolution and the Government is focusing on infrastructure development throughout its regions. This development, he said would direct and indirectly affect the tourism industry in AJK.
He also said that a 200-kilometer tourism corridor will also be established which will pass through tourist destinations like Chakar, Sudhan Gali, Haji Pir, Lasdanna, Toli Pir and Banjosa. This corridor will promote tourism and will have quality facilities to cater to the growing number of tourists.
President Masood Khan said that Mirpur being will play an important role in our development as under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor a Special Economic Zone will be set up here which will be connected to main CPEC route via the Mansehra-Muzaffarabad-Mirpur Expressway. In the coming year, Mirpur will see a huge influx of foreign investors and tourists alike, he said.
The President urged the promotion of water and adventure sports like jet skiing, paragliding, boating, parasailing and scuba diving. He said that the nowadays tourist looks for such activities other than the normal site seeing activities.
On the occasion, President Masood Khan also highlighted the deplorable human right situation in Indian Occupied Kashmir. He said that our Kashmiri brothers and sisters are living their lives in virtual imprisonment where every day they are being killed, maimed, incarcerated and dishonoured with impunity. The President said that our foremost duty and responsibility is to raise our voices for innocent Kashmiris living in IOK. “We must be their voice as they have been made voiceless. We must let the world know about the atrocities perpetrated by India and bring them to task for their illegal and barbaric occupation in IOK”, he said.
The three-day tourism festival will include performances by Paragliders, rowing competitions, tent pegging, horse riding and a traditional cattle show. The event will also host a Sufi Night paying tribute to the great Sufi saint and poet Mian Muhammad Baksh.