SWAT: Malam Jabba has become the skier’s heaven that it is known for after the first snowfall. Fresh white sheet of snow and snow-clad hills invite tourists from across Pakistan.
Farhan, a youth from Lahore, who came here with his family, told The Express Tribune, “Seeing snow in abundance is a real joy for all of us. This is our first ever experience of witnessing snow.”
Blanketed by snow, every inch of the valley presents a scene of serenity. Where the snow provides entertainment for tourists, it also spells good business for the locals. Some children and youngsters can be seen selling food items, while others are running small tea stalls and restaurants.
Busy preparing chicken karahi for his customers in his wooden shack, Akhtar Ali, 24, told The Express Tribune, “I entertain 10 to 12 families here daily, which [makes for a] comfortable income.”
Meanwhile, Zameen Shah, a child, sells chips and snacks after school and earns up to Rs50 daily. Even though the chill seemed to disturb him, he was happy. “I sell pappar (crackers), chips and snacks,” he grinned.
Some enterprising businessmen have created the snow-covered slippery roads into business opportunities. They can be seen on the road leading up to Kalam with chains in hands, which they install on the vehicle’s tyres so that they can navigate the route safely.
“We charge Rs300 to 600 for per trip and go with the vehicle to the top. It earns us a modest income and lasts us for about three months,” said Zahir, standing on the road.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 26th, 2011.