Gilgit [PoK], February 8 (ANI): The tourism industry in Gilgit-Baltistan is facing a downturn due to Pakistan's discriminatory policies.
During winters, when a large number of tourists visit snow-clad mountains, Gilgit-Baltistan is witnessing no tourist inflow due to a lack of infrastructure.
Durdana Sher, a local resident said, "This is the peak time of the year for tourists to visit this place. Unfortunately, this area suffers from a lack of infrastructure, including poorly maintained roads and a hotel that was run by PTDC (Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation) but was closed down two years ago".
He added, "The PTDC hotel employees are currently jobless. I would ask the tourism department to reopen the hotels as tourists are facing lodging issues which are having an adverse impact on tourism".
Gilgit-Baltistan has perennially been subjected to state-backed discrimination and exploitation. Islamabad's policies are not just hampering the quality of lives of residents of the region but they have severely affected the natural beauty of the region.
Poor road connectivity, lack of accommodation, and communication facilities are troubling the domestic and foreign tourists who are flocking to the illegally occupied Gilgit-Baltistan region in the peak season.
But to its dismay, neither the government nor the authorities are interested in the region's infrastructural development.
It's quite ironic that even after being the hub of hydropower generation, the region suffers long and persistent power outages.
Authorities that work under the command of Islamabad have been able to do nothing so far to get the region out of this situation.
Hidayat Ali, another local resident said, "We can see that we are having snowfall here. It is wonderful for vegetation, but this is a hilly area, so after the heavy snowfall, the temperature drops and there is a water shortage. We have very little electricity after a lot of snowfalls in this area, little access to wood throughout the winter, and rising LPG prices".
If developed properly, Gilgit-Baltistan would have been figuring high on tourist itineraries today.
Unfortunately, poor roads, unavailability of the internet, and lack of electricity have only turned Gilgit Baltistan into a neglected, backward, and poor region of South Asia. (ANI)