The Motivated Youth Organisation (MYO) is determined to show the world that Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) is not synonymous with militancy. This group of 20 young men makes videos and publicises the province on social networking websites to revive sports and tourism in the region.
After militancy robbed K-P of its tourism and entertainment, the province’s scenic beauty and historic monuments were mainly left for the locals to see. What were once parks are now little more than garbage dumps.
MYO was launched in July last year after a training course from the British Council in Peshawar in “active citizenship”. The group is now set to leave for Lahore for another training session.
“The project is part of our commitment to bring back tourism to the province and help increase employment and revenue for the people,” said MYO head Abdul Aziz.
Aziz belongs to the volatile tribal region of Mohmand Agency and is currently pursuing an MSc degree in Economics from the University of Peshawar. “This province is gifted with untouched natural beauty which can bring in millions through tourism,” said Aziz. “The situation is not that bad, but people have lost their confidence. We have to boost their morale if we want prosperity.”
They started out small, helping traffic constables during traffic jams and cleaning parks and sidewalks. MYO then moved on to making videos of historic sites, rivers and valleys to attract tourists. “We have been using social networking sites to motivate people to come here,” he said, adding they have received a positive response.
The organisation had recently organised a gala at Nishtar Hall, where videos of tourist attractions were shown. They now want to launch the Peshawar Premier League to engage the province’s youth in extra-curricular activities. “We cannot arrange it, however, unless the Pakistan Cricket Board or some other state institution helps us,” Aziz said.
He added that the city has no sporting facility for the public. “The Arbab Niaz Stadium, one the most beautiful stadiums in the country, does not hold any national or international events in the city anymore.”
Published in The Express Tribune, March 1st, 2013.