GILGIT: Tennis star and UN goodwill ambassador Aisamul Haq on Thursday visited Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B).
“I apologise that I couldn’t come here earlier,” the tennis star who flew to G-B in the morning told reporters in Hunza, the town wrecked by a massive landslide early this year. The landslide displaced thousands of people. “I should have come earlier,” he said.
Qureshi visited the Aliabad camp set up by the government for the internally displaced persons (IDPs) of Attabad and met people there. He also had a brief chat with the IDPs in the camp and appealed to the international community to come forward to help the people affected by natural calamities in G-B. No government official accompanied him to Hunza though the UN’s representative in Pakistan did join him in his visit.
Qureshi visit pleased the locals who are nowadays faced with a severe weather accompanied by a fuel and power crisis, among others.
“We are grateful that people of international fame still feel our pain and are ready to support us,” said Didar Ali, a resident and member of the Ismaili council in Hunza. He voiced hope that the visit of the tennis star would help change the fortunes of the people who have been reeling from one disaster to the next.
Shahid Hussain, another resident of Hunza, said that like others of his town, he too was delighted to see the Pakistani star with them in this corner of the country. “We are living in difficult conditions here and we welcomed him for coming to us in this cold weather,” he said.
Sources said that Qureshi later flew to Ghizer Valley to see the scale of damage caused by the recent spell of floods in the valley.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 10th, 2010.