SWABI: Almost all tourist spots of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, mainly those in Abbottabad, Swat and Shangla, witnessed a great rush of visitors during the Eid holidays as three minor sisters drowned in Kundal Dam in Swabi area and a seven-year-old child in a stream at Kambat in the jurisdiction of Samar Bagh area of Lower Dir.
In several areas the tourists complained about lack of facilities and broken roads though the local administrations had made arrangements to keep the traffic flow smooth and facilitate the tourists. Besides, at least two people were killed and scores injured in road accidents and four over family disputes in various parts of the province.
In Swabi, three minor sisters drowned when a boat loaded with picnickers capsized in Kundal Dam here, said police on Friday.
Three minor sisters drown in Swabi area and one in Dir; six die in other incidents
Sources said that picnickers belonging to different regions reached the dam on Thursday to enjoy Eidul Fitr holiday. They sat in a boat to take a round of the lake, but the sailor did not realise the boat was overloaded.
Faqir Zada, father of the ill-fated girls, who himself survived in the incident, told mediapersons that there were about 35 people in the boat. There were men, women and children on board, he added.
He said that when they reached the middle of the lake water suddenly started entering the boat and soon it capsized. He said that the people were holding on to each other and slowly managed to come out, but three minor sisters Muniza (2), Taqwa (5) and Ansa (8) drowned.
MNA Aqibullah said that Shah Faisal, a solider of Pakistan Army who was also in the boat, helped saved many of the people. The police officials and local political leaders also reached the dam after the incident.
Local divers and rescue team recovered the body of one girl on Thursday evening, while two others were fished out on Friday.
Meanwhile, a man allegedly killed his two brothers over a land dispute here in Lalbag Dheri. Police said that the three brothers were engaged in dividing their property when the clash started. In the meanwhile, Sher Zaman accompanied by his two sons Shehryar Khan and Rifaq Khan allegedly opened firing on his brothers Said Zaman and Abduzaman. As a result, they were killed on the spot. Police registered an FIR and have started investigation.
In Abbottabad, a record number of tourists arrived for moving onward to Galiyat and Northern Areas, including Naran, Kaghan, Shogran, Lake Saiful Malook and other scenic spots, during the Eid holidays.
The tourists mostly belonged to parts of Punjab and southern areas of KP, including Bannu, Karak, Kohat and tribal areas.
The district administration and police had established special tourist facilitation centres on the Karakoram Highway where the tourists were provided information and drinking water.
Meanwhile, a couple was shot dead by relatives allegedly over a family issue at village Chan Kot on Wednesday. The victims were identified as Umar Khatab and his wife Razeefa Bibi. The alleged killer, Khalid, was later arrested by Lora police.
In Shangla, thousands of tourists from various parts of the country reached the district and enjoyed their Eid holidays in scenic places of its valley.
The tourists, including families, witnessed lush green meadows, waterfalls, thick forests and natural springs in Yakhtangay, Shangla top, Ajmeer, Kandaw, Chagharzai, Pir Khana, Kapar Banda and other scenic places. However, the tourists faced severe hardships due to lack of accommodation for stay at local hotels as they reached Bisham.
In Parachinar, a large number of people from Kurram tribal district and other areas arrived during the Eid holidays to witness snow-covered peaks of Koh-i-Sufaid Range and enjoy cool weather of the area.
Hundreds of tourists visited picnic spots in Malana, Maiaky, Zeran and Shalozan in the lap of Koh-i-Sufaid. They urged the government to establish more facilities for them in the scenic valleys.
In Lakki Marwat, people from all parts of the district and nearby Bannu and Karak districts thronged the Kurrum and Gambila rivers and spent time during Eid days at the scenic places along the rivers. The local administration had deployed traffic wardens and police on the bridges to regulate traffic and facilitate the visitors.
The Gambila River and nearby dense forests, wetlands and fertile fields presented ideal places for the people to enjoy nature and environment. The residents asked the government to develop the tourist spots and road infrastructure to promote tourism in the backward district.
Our correspondent from Khar added that two people were killed and as many as 150 others wounded in road accidents during the Eid holidays in Bajaur tribal district. Sources said that most of the accidents involved motorcyclists.
They said that in one of the accidents that occurred on Khar-Nawagai road in Rashaki area on Thursday two people were killed when a speeding motorcycle rammed into a tractor-trolley parked at a roadside. They were identified as Zafirullah and Hazbullah Khan.
Officials of the district administration and DHQ hospital in Khar told this correspondent on Friday that at least 150 motorcyclists were wounded in accidents during Eid days in the district.
In Mingora, tourists from across the country visited Swat valley during the Eid holidays to enjoy its natural beauty and refreshing environment.
According to the district administration, over 105,000 vehicles entered Swat during the three days of Eid where over 500,000 tourists flocked the valley, which saw an influx of tourists from different parts of KP, Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan who also appreciated hospitality of the local people.
“Swat valley is the symbol of natural beauty in Pakistan. The valley is spread over a vast area and can accommodate thousands of tourists anytime while its people are hospitable and welcoming,” said Rehan Ali, one of the tourists from Lahore.
Tourists said that Swat had rivers, meadows, forests, lakes and waterfalls with hundreds of sub-valleys and that was why they never felt boredom once they arrived there.
Special arrangements were made by the administration of Malakand division and Swat district to facilitate and guide the tourists.
In Timergara, all the roads leading to scenic spots witnessed a big flow of vehicles on the second and third day of Eid. Majority of the tourists were heading towards the scenic Kumrat valley and Chitral.
Meanwhile, a seven-year-old child drowned in a stream at Kambat in the jurisdiction of Samar Bagh police station here on Friday.
Residents said the child was retrieved by locals and taken to the THQ hospital, but he did not survive.
In Chitral, a great hustle and bustle was seen at the picturesque Kalash valley of Bumburate during Eid days. Almost all the hotels in the valley were filled to the capacity and the tourists were seen arranging their beddings on grassy grounds along the roadside in the open and cooking their meals.
The hotels, including the government-run PTDC hotel, were already booked for Eid holidays while camping place had been arranged.
In Mansehra, passengers and driver of a wagon escaped unhurt when it caught fire at a petrol pump on Friday. The incident apparently occurred because of leakage of CNG at a fuel station in Ghazikot Township. No one was hurt in the incident and the fire engines put out the fire before it could cause loss to the nearby property.
Published in Dawn, June 8th, 2019