Experts call for inclusive winter sports strategy

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Zubair Qureshi

Speaking at a webinar, experts urged an inclusive and integrated winter sports strategy to attract tourism towards northern Pakistan. Environment and climate change shall remain the main concern while devising any sports events for the winter season, they said.

The webinar was organized by the Development Communications Network (Devcom-Pakistan) and DTN to brainstorm on “Winter Sports – Scope, Opportunities and Challenges” on Sunday.

The panelists included National Tourism Coordination Board (NTCB) member and sustainable tourism expert Aftabur Rehman Rana, National Tourism Coordination Board convener on adventure sports Shahid Nadeem, WWf-Pakistan Senior Director Wildlife Rab Nawaz, another WWFS-Pakistan Senior Director Tahir Rasheed, EvK2CR Environment Conservation Expert Arif Hussain, Devcom-Pakistan Executive Director Munir Ahmed. Others who spoke on the occasion included RCCI travel and tourism expert Fouzia Qazi, The Adventure Club president Tahir Imran Khan, journalist Zubair Ayub, development experts Umme Kulsoom and Sabeena Hena Iqbal, Baltistan Association of Tour Operators (BATO) chairman Muhammad Iqbal, and Lion Sarfaraz Malik.

They expressed their concerns saying it was the hibernation and mating time for wildlife and biodiversity while massive human activities would disturb their lifecycle.
The experts also showed their concerns on the unwise decisions of the Gilgit-Baltistan government to open Deosai National Park for the winter sports from March this year. They said millions of dollars have been spent on the conservation and protection of the wildlife habitats and biological diversity in the Deosai National Park that are being put on risk.
The participants urged the Supreme Court of Pakistan, national and international development organizations to take notice of it.