Islamabad: Federal Minister for Climate Change Zartaj Gul on Thursday stated that there was a need for the Pakistani youth population to be educated on the conservation of mountains in the country — calling it essential to the region’s economic development, according to news sources. She made these remarks while addressing the closing ceremony of the 9th Pakistan Mountain Festival organised by Devcom Pakistan.
The minister was the chief guest on the occasion. While speaking at the event, she opined that mountaineering and tourism had the potential to lead to much-needed prosperity and economic development for the northern areas of the country. She added that the hardworking natives of the mountains were the custodians of invaluable knowledge, culture, and heritage.
Minister Gul said that the government had simplified the visa policy to attract more international tourists, in order to allow them to experience Pakistan’s unmatched high-altitude mountains for trekking and other mountaineering activities.
She said that alternate energy sources had reduced the pressure on the mountain forests, and improved the quality of life for the local communities. She called for comprehensive strategies to sensitise the local population to help them protect natural resources and an overall plan for combatting climate change, poverty and natural disaster risk reduction.
Minister Gul lauded Devcom Pakistan (Development Communications Network) for its efforts to consistently develop and strengthen the Pakistan Mountain Festival; a flagship advocacy event.
National Secretary Ambassador Pakistan Youth Hostels Association (PYHA) Qazi Humayun spoke to the assembled crowd as well and proposed that 13 PYHA hostels located in the mountains could be used to house local youth and students from across the country to engage them for various mountain conservation initiatives.
He too stressed for the need for rapid action in order to save the natural habitat and to control the rapidly changing mountain environment.