Summer festival kicks off in Mirpur

By APP
Published: April 29, 2018
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Kashmiri villagers collect saffron flowers at a field. PHOTO: REUTERS

Kashmiri villagers collect saffron flowers at a field. PHOTO: REUTERS

MIRPUR (AJK): Azad Jammu Kashmir (AJK) President Sardar Masood Khan has said the government is focusing on economic development with emphasis on promoting and developing the tourism industry in AJK.

He expressed these views while inaugurating a three-day grand tourism gala – the Summer Tourism Festival 2018, hosted by the AJK Tourism Department in Mirpur.

Speaking on the occasion, the AJK president said, “Kashmir is a beautiful area with huge potential for tourism as it possesses varied landscape and climate.” He said this festival is the first of its kind organised in the southern regions of Kashmir.

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The president said areas of Mirpur and Bhimbar are tourist destinations in both summers and winters.  “AJK is at the cusp of an economic revolution and the government is focusing on infrastructure development throughout its regions,” he said.

“Our priority is construction of new roads, energy production, development of industry, universal access to health and modernising the agriculture sector. This development will directly and indirectly affect the tourism industry in AJK,” he said.

Khan also said a 200km-long tourism corridor would be established which would pass through tourist destinations like Chakar, Sudhan Gali, Haji Pir, Lasdanna, Toli Pir and Banjosa. This corridor would promote tourism and have quality facilities to cater to the growing number of tourists, he added.

The AJK president said Mirpur, being the first planned city of Azad Kashmir, would play an important role in development as under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) a special economic zone would be set up here to be connected to main CPEC route via the Mansehra-Muzaffarabad-Mirpur Expressway.

On the occasion, Khan also highlighted the deplorable human rights situation in Indian occupied Kashmir.

“Our foremost duty and responsibility is to raise our voices for innocent Kashmiris living in IOK. We must be their voice as they have been made voiceless. We must let the world know about the atrocities perpetrated by India and bring them to task for their illegal and barbaric occupation in IOK,” he said.

The three-day tourism festival would include performances by paragliders, rowing competitions, tent pegging, horse riding and a traditional cattle show. The event will also host a Sufi Night to pay tribute to the great Sufi saint and poet Mian Muhammad Baksh.

Khan visited the stalls set up by the various departments of the government, private entities and tour operators alike. Other stalls also displayed books, local products and traditional foods. APP

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