SWAT - Whenever the name of Swat valley comes under discussion, it makes mankind to call its as a paradise on earth. It’s the valley, which the Creator has enriched with natural beauty and serenity. This realm of beauty and serenity is situated at the north of Pakistan in Hindukush mountain range. It has been the abode of several ancient cultures. Swat is reputed all over the globe for its fascinating landscapes, crystal clear water torrents, diverse flora and fauna, inhabitants hospitality, ancient relics and mesmerising lakes that attract innumerable number of diverse nature-lovers from all over the world.
Those days return now as honeymooning couples walked alongside streams and visitors from overseas fishing for trout and the tourist spots are waiting to welcome once again.
Malam Jabba, rooftop of the world 9200 feet above from sea level, stands on top a mountain of the Hindukush range, at a distance of 40 kilometres north east of Saidu Sharif. Surrounded by wonderful panorama of scenic splendour and mighty mountains, Malam Jabba is much more than just a ski resort. It is a holiday resort that holds great fascination for tourists and also home to the remains of ancient civilisation.
Malam Jabba is 314-kilometres from Islamabad and 51-kilometres from Saidu Sharif airport. Malam Jabba, the fairytale land of romance and beauty, offers unlimited sights that the eye can behold, mighty ranges of Hindukush, the Karakuram and black mountains, gentle slopes, placid plains, torrential streams, lush green meadows and thick green forests of pine. People use to come over for an exciting experience to this nature’s art gallery and that they will never forgets.
Once this valley fell into darkness and ruled by the Taliban, but Pakistan Army regained it. When the Taliban were strong in their stint of illegal writ, they reached Malam Jabba Resort where they started routine patrolling.
They got hold of 80 per cent of Swat valley and perished PTDC’s Malam Jabba SKI-CUM Resort by blowing it up prior to selling out its costly furniture and other valuable equipments. This is not enough, as they also destroyed chair lift (800-metre long cable) depriving the skier from all over the country of enjoying the facility. Destroying PTDC’s Malam Jabba SKI-CUM Resort is such a huge loss to the economy of the area.
For the people of Swat, the only real hope for future lies in what they do, that the hotels fill up again, the guides find customers to take on tours and skiers once more frequent the Malam Jabba resort, burned down by militants at the height of the Taliban insurgency. Traditionally, of course, the economy of Swat has depended on tourism. Even as the fighting ended, the floods of 2010 delivered another devastating blow to it, as riverside inns and cafes were washed away, sometimes taking with them the sums of money owners had so painstakingly gathered and invested.
Ski Federation In-Charge Matiullah Khan told TheNation that upcoming ski event is approaching in the last week of January 2012 and the provincial government has failed to provide them with a single facility. “We are holding National Ski Championship in collaboration with Pakistan Army. This grand event is likely to attract sports lovers from all over the country and generate a lot of interests especially among young generation about winter sports,” he said. He said for this ski championship some foreign skiers have also arrived this winter and they will be taking part in the competition and will spend a couple of weeks. Indeed it’s a positive gesture for business sector, which will rise up, he added.
He further said the non-availability of facility like chairlifts, which is the basic requirement of ski players to go back to the top when players come from mountain height for downward skiing. They go back by climbing the snow filled mountain by having their skating tools in hands, which is injustice. He demanded government to reconstruct the chairlifts on priority basis in order to provide the latest facility to the skiers.
Steps are required to further develop the tourist infrastructure and tourist products and if the government did not take serious steps to promote this sporting event, it is feared that this sport will lose its fame and will close down forever in Pakistan, he added.