Sectarianism in Gilgit discouraging tourists
By Ibrahim Shahid
GILGIT Inadequate steps to restore the confidence of foreign and domestic tourists coupled with a loose administrative grip over miscreants are choking the nascent tourism industry in the Northern Areas, said Northern Areas Chief Secretary Farid Khan Wazir while chairing a meeting in Gilgit.
He expressed dissatisfaction over the measures being taken to improve security and ordered the local administration to take stern action against anti-social elements who have been polluting the otherwise peaceful environment of the region with sectarianism.
“Loud speakers and ubiquitous wall-chalkings are spreading sectarianism in the region. And those involved in misusing loud speakers should be taken to task,” the chief secretary said. He said the frequent sectarian-driven agitations and protests had ruined the region’s economy since tourists were not visiting the region. He urged clergymen unite their people and promote harmony.
Mr Wazir ordered the administration to eradicate wall-chalkings and graffiti within a week. “Property and shop owners will be equally responsible and held accountable if they allow vandals to use their buildings for wall-chalkings,” he said.
He asked the local administration to ensure that no mosque or religious centre use loud speakers. “It is very strange that people have started to make ultimatums for getting their problems solved. All these shortcuts have put development schemes in a quandary,” he said.