MANSEHRA: Tourists swarmed Saiful Muluk Lake during the Eid holiday as the Kaghan Development Authority cleared the road to it after six months.
“We cut the mega glacier, which fell to the level of Saiful Muluk Lake, and opened the road to traffic. Now tourists, who have invaded the valley, can visit this fantastic place,” KDA environmental inspector Muzammil Khan told reporters on Thursday.
Mansehra-Naran-Jalkhad and Lake roads were blocked when Kaghan Valley received snowfall in October last year. The MNJ road, which connects Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to Gilgit-Baltistan, had already been cleared for traffic beyond Battakundi last month and now this artery leading to Saiful Muluk Lake has been reopened to traffic.
Tourists, who visited Kaghan Valley to spend the Eid holiday, rushed to Saiful Muluk Lake when the road was reopened.
Balakot Deputy Commissioner Saddam Hussain Memon paid a surprise visit to Naran and checked the deployment of traffic officers on the MNJ road and in the city.
“We have put heavy machinery on standby in landslide prone areas along the MNJ road throughout the valley for the safety of tourists,” he told reporters.
In Swat, thousands of tourists from different parts of the country including Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan visited various scenic spots in large numbers.
They said Swat was the most suitable area for a picnic during the holidays. While many tourists were enjoying the cold water of the Swat River, many more sat along the river with their feet in the water and chatted amongst themselves while some sat in groups listening to local music and taking selfies.
Tourists said Swat was not only the most easily accessible scenic spot, but also cheaper in terms of food and accommodation prices.
“It’s my visit to Swat. The pleasant weather and charming scenes mesmerized me. My friends ask me to come back today but I told them we will spend one more night here to see more places and enjoy the natural beauty,” said Manzar Ali, a tourist from Mardan.
However, due to the huge influx of vehicles from other parts of the country, the roads leading to the scenic spots remained blocked, pushing the local people into multiple troubles.
According to Deputy Commissioner Junaid Khan, around 50,000 vehicles entered Swat in the first three days of Eidul Fitr. “Appropriate arrangements have been made to maintain traffic flow while District Administration officials, police, traffic police, civil defense volunteers and the levy force have been deployed to the roads for the fluidity of traffic and the facilitation of tourists,” he said.
In Shangla, a large number of tourists visited Bruj Banda, Ajmeer, Yakhtangay, Shangla Top, Acharo Sar and other scenic spots during Eid holidays.
Abdul Jabar, a tourist from Gujranwala, said the natural beauty, fresh air and pleasant weather relax their minds. He thanked the local people for their hospitality.
Mohammad Rasool, another tourist, said the landscapes of Bruj Banda, especially the glaciers, thick forest, streams under melting glaciers and waterfalls, were amazing.
Tourists visiting Shangla also enjoyed the rain. They were seen preparing food near springs and on roadsides.
1122 Police and Rescue Teams continued to perform their duty at the scenic spots for the safety and facilitation of tourists.
Posted in Dawn, May 6, 2022