Sculpture of Quad e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah placed at the entrance of beautiful Ziarat valley: Photo provided by Sikandar Ali Hullio

Syed Ali Shah: 

In a strategic move to bolster tourism, Balochistan Chief Minister Mir Sarfraz Bugti has announced ambitious plans to develop Ziarat into a premier tourist destination in Pakistan. During a review meeting of the Ziarat Development Authority, Bugti emphasized the need to adopt successful strategies from the Galiyat Development Authority to ensure effective tourism planning. This initiative is poised to unlock Ziarat’s immense potential, creating job opportunities and promoting the lush green valley renowned for its natural beauty.

Ziarat, home to the world’s second-largest juniper forest, requires special attention to preserve its unique ecosystem while promoting sustainable tourism. The region’s cold weather, rugged mountains, ancient juniper trees, and abundant fruit orchards make it a natural magnet for tourists. With the right infrastructure and strategic planning, Ziarat can be transformed into a top-tier destination that attracts both domestic and international travelers.

Chief Minister Bugti highlighted the necessity of creating a pilgrimage tourism project modeled after the scenic Galiyat region, known for its tourist-friendly infrastructure and natural allure. He directed the project director to integrate these insights into Ziarat’s development blueprint, ensuring that the region benefits from tried-and-true tourism strategies.

On arrival, Chief Minister Bugti was received by Commissioner Sibi Division, Bashir Ahmed Bangulzai, along with other high-level officers. During the meeting, Bugti reiterated his commitment to introducing practical policies aimed at promoting tourism across Balochistan, with a special focus on pilgrimage tourism. “Resources will be provided without delay for viable tourism projects,” assured Bugti, underlining the provincial government’s dedication to supporting and accelerating tourism initiatives.

The development of Ziarat as a premier tourist destination is not just about attracting visitors; it’s about creating sustainable economic growth for the region. Tourism can serve as a catalyst for job creation, providing employment opportunities for local residents in hospitality, tour services, retail, and other supporting industries. Moreover, the influx of tourists can spur investment in infrastructure, including better roads, hotels, and recreational facilities, further enhancing the region’s appeal.

In addition to economic benefits, promoting tourism in Ziarat will help raise awareness about the importance of preserving the unique juniper forests, which are a critical part of the region’s natural heritage. Eco-tourism initiatives can be developed to educate visitors about the ecological significance of the juniper trees and the need for conservation efforts.

The Chief Minister’s proactive approach is expected to pave the way for significant advancements in Balochistan’s tourism sector. However, to realize this vision, continuous focus and investment are essential. The government should prioritize the following actions:

  1. Infrastructure Development: Invest in improving transportation, accommodation, and recreational facilities to make Ziarat more accessible and comfortable for tourists.
  2. Marketing and Promotion: Launch marketing campaigns to promote Ziarat’s unique attractions to a broader audience, both domestically and internationally.
  3. Sustainable Practices: Implement eco-friendly tourism practices to preserve the natural environment and promote conservation efforts.
  4. Community Involvement: Engage local communities in tourism projects to ensure they benefit from and support the development initiatives.

By focusing on these areas, the government can transform Ziarat into a landmark destination that not only attracts visitors but also fosters sustainable economic growth and environmental preservation. The development of Ziarat is not just a tourism initiative; it’s a comprehensive strategy for regional development that promises to bring prosperity and recognition to Balochistan.

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Quetta Voice is an English Daily covering all unfolding political, economic and social issues relating to Balochistan, Pakistan's largest province in terms of area. QV's main focus is on stories related to education, promotion of quality education and publishing reports about out of school children in the province. QV has also a vigilant eye on health, climate change and other key sectors.