The incumbent government’s success in post-pandemic recovery of the economy is primarily attributed to two factors; creating activity in the construction sector and its associated industries, and expanding the country’s tourism base. For these reasons, Pakistan’s real estate sector has been labelled as one of the best performing in the region of South Asia, while its tourism sector has persistently won numerous accolades. Presently, the government is working to introduce sustainable tourism and real estate activity in Kaghan Valley. Let’s look at these initiatives individually and understand how they will impact the valley in the long run.
All The Latest That’s Happening In Kaghan Valley
Kaghan Valley is one of the most breath-taking valleys in Pakistan’s northern areas. Its main city is Naran which is particularly known for attracting thousands of tourists on an annual basis, and has famous tourist spots like Babusar Top, River Kunhar, and picturesque quaint villages lined with artefact shops that garner the attention of all visitors.
Let’s explore what the government is doing to ensure sustainable economic activity in the Kaghan Valley.
Anti Encroachment Drive In Kaghan Valley
According to a press statement, in early July, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government announced an anti-encroachment drive in the Kaghan Valley to rid the area of illegal constructions, especially hotels and motels; and also, to recover illegally occupied state land. Since the drive, more than 2,000 illegal buildings have been razed to the ground. These included six hotels, 6,000 illegal cabins, and 22 portions of some buildings. Sources have revealed that along the Kaghan-Naran-Jalkhad Road, 700 kanals of state land has been freed from illegal encroachments.
News sources have also informed the Kaghan Development Authority (KDA) had issued notifications to owners of said building, prior to launching a week-long anti-encroachment campaign in the valley. Similarly, illegal constructions along River Kunhar have also been removed to restore scenic beauty of the river and the valley.
Moreover, the KDA has a grant of PKR 200 million for the establishment of a walnut oil extraction mill, upgradation of N-15 Karakoram Highway, and the establishment of a school of fishing and aquatics.
However, to think that the anti-encroachment drive in the Kaghan Valley is anti-tourism in nature, is wrong. This is because the incumbent government is working to introduce environmental sustainable tourism, or eco-tourism, as one of the main covenants for its Tourism Push.
Tourism Push In The Kaghan Valley
As per leading news outlets, Prime Minister Imran Khan has labeled tourism as the future of Pakistan’s economic growth and therefore, launched a number of campaigns. Most of these came about at the onset of the pandemic, while tourism initiatives in 2021 have given this sector a new meaning altogether. The KP Government’s Summer Tourism 2021 Policy is one such notable example. This is because the incumbent government believes that the tourism sector alone can help repay the country’s debts as this industry has the potential to earn valuable foreign exchange as well.
The recent anti-encroachment drive is also a part of this campaign; to preserve the natural beauty of this valley, and to streamline construction activities so tourism-related rentals can be regulated and emerge as a means of sustainable tourism.
A report by a leading newspaper has quoted Chief Minister Mahmood Khan who had expressed the KP government’s eagerness in protecting the flora and fauna of the Kaghan Valley, especially its commercial hub, Naran. In addition to this, river rafting rules for Kunhar River are also being formulated to ensure safety of the tourists. Moreover, trout farming and tree plantation is also being carried out.
Under its Clean Green Initiative, the valley will soon shift to the use of biodegradable plastic, whereas excavation and rehabilitation work on 18 British-era jogging and walking tracks is also underway. As Patriata’s chair lifts are famous among the tourists, the government is now working to construct the Battakundi-Lalazar chairlift project. Adventure sports in the Naran Valley have grown in recent years as well, and cycling trips as well as marathons are regularly arranged now – which is another thing that attracts tourists.
Moreover, the government is also now working to deploy patrol forces to oversee any illegal fishing, mining or deforestation activities in the area.
Similar to Kaghan Valley, about 50 kilometers from Mansehra city, an area known as Sohnisar is being developed as a tourist hotspot. This place is primarily known for its crystal-water pristine lakes. This place can only be accessed by professional trekkers and houses four lakes, waterfalls, and meadows.
Thinking of visiting the Kaghan Valley? Check out the best hotels for staying in Naran.
If you are looking to enjoy snowfall in Pakistan, this blog has all the relevant details about the best spots to experience annual snowfall. In the northern areas you’ll also find a number of clear-water lakes, which should be on your checklist. However, if you want to experience the culture and interact with the locals, there is no better opportunity than to attend the numerous cultural festivals in Pakistan.