President AJK Sardar Masood Khan Monday expressed deep grief and condolences over the loss of many precious lives at Kundal Shahi in Neelum Valley of Azad Jammu Kashmir. He said this was a national tragedy which is being mourned by the families and the people of AJK and Pakistan. The President expressed his profound sympathies with the families of the deceased and the injured. He also paid tribute to rescuers who rushed to save the victims of the incident. Masood said that this tragic incident has once again highlighted the importance of making tourism safe. More attention, he said, is needed to be given to sound infrastructure and awareness raising so that incoming tourists may pay heed to the signposts and cautionary warnings about the capacity of the infrastructure and safe locations near peaks and precipices.
Every year, many precious lives were lost because of lack of attention to such warnings given for the safety of tourists. At the same time, the President said that all structures handling tourists must be fortified and strengthened, and signposts made more visible, repetitive and clearer, so that untoward accidents can be avoided.
Meanwhile, Minister for Tourism Gilgit Baltistan Fedia Khan Fedia said Monday that government was taking tangible measures for the promotion of tourism in the region. As part of such efforts, the minister said several national companies and firms had been contacted to engage into joint venture projects for the promotion of the tourism sector. Talking to media, the GB tourism minister said the Gilgit Baltistan was an attractive destination for tourists and tourism department was utilizing all its resources for fully capitalize on the natural wealth.
The president said that Azad Kashmir is beautiful area that has huge potential for tourism as it possesses varied landscape and climate. He said that the tourism festival is the first of its kind organised in the southern regions of Azad Kashmir. The president added that areas of Mirpur and Bhimbar are tourist destinations in both summers and winters. He said that AJK has many historical and religious sites like Sufi shrines, forts and archeological sites. He said forts dating back to the Mughal, Sikh, and Dogra rule include Baghsar Fort, Ramkot Fort, Muzaffarabad Fort and Mangla Fort.—APP