Khyber - The visitors have demanded that the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Tourism Department and other relevant authorities take necessary initiatives to develop the Ghaar water streams and Ali Masjid tourist site, which is the only picnic point in the Khyber district.
The Ali Masjid picnic site is located on the main Pak-Afghan highway in the Khyber district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. It is approximately 16 kilometres east of the city of Landi Kotal and sits at an elevation of 3,174 feet above sea level.
According to the locals, the freshwater flowing from the century- old stream, with its historical significance as part of the Khyber Pass, adds to the beauty of the area. During the summer months from May to September, this popular tourist site attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors from Khyber and adjacent districts.
Amjad Khan, a tourist from Peshawar, mentioned that the cold water of the Ghaar stream in Ali Masjid provides a moment of relief for those escaping the scorching heat of downtown. While he appreciated the natural beauty of the picnic point, he pointed out the lack of facilities that visitors face. He noted the absence of potable water and proper sitting shelters for families, leaving visitors with no option but to sit under the open sky.
Another local visitor, Muhammad Haris from Shiekhmal Khel Landi Kotal, who enjoyed the site with his friends, mentioned that the picnic point is conveniently located near Landi Kotal and downtown areas, making it easily accessible. He expressed his disappointment that despite the area being blessed with natural beauty like other mountainous regions, the government has neglected its development. He added that with the interest and support of the concerned department, it has the potential to become a highly productive tourist site in Khyber.
Aamir Khan, the owner of the only hotel in the hills at the site, stated that they had conceived the idea of creating a picnic point at the Ghaar stream in Ali Masjid to attract visitors to Khyber. Although development schemes were announced by the administration for the site last year, no practical steps have been taken so far, according to him.
He urged the government to construct huts, shelters, and washrooms, and provide drinking water, as the stream water is contaminated due to visitors bathing in it. He emphasized that the picnic point would not only provide a place of enjoyment for citizens but also serve as a source of income for the locals.
It should be noted that the previous government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had announced development projects for the Ali Masjid picnic point, but no construction work has been initiated as of yet.