Prof. Rahmat Karim Baig
In the following lines, I dare to bring to the notice of the Chitralis as well as outsiders who come here as tourists and go to various destinations with friends or all alone or with a guide who is neither a trained one nor knows enough about the geography of these two districts. Pakistani tourists take it for granted as Chitral is a good and safe place to visit and meet the people freely, enter every village without hesitation and I have seen some tourists with my own eyes eating fruits without asking the owner which is a very bad practice and disliked by locals.
The tourists should travel properly – learn etiquettes of traveling, a bit of pre-knowledge of the culture of the valley concerned such as Kalash valleys, Yarkhun valley, Torkho valley in particular. Help and guidance could be sought from locals but intervention or encroachments cannot be condoned. There are shingle roads to all the valleys and are in very poor repair so the tourist must come with a bundle of info about the valley where they intend to travel. Take photographs of beautiful scenery if any but never try to take picture of females be it an old lady or half idiot. Never try to take photo offering money. Get enough info about the route, it’s bad or good aspects and carry the necessary kits.
Recently, I have heard a tourist from one of the districts across Lowari pass who is now on facebook as Arshad Ali and he has started sharing photos of various places of Chitral, including some of the peaks which he uploads as authentic and has also the audacity to give name of the peaks. For example, he posted a photo of a peak but does not know the name of that particular peak but he has remembered the names of Terich Mir, Nowshaq, Booni Zom etc. and writes under the photo as Booni Zom but it is not that particular peak or writes Nowshaq where he has never gone but under another photo he writes this peak is Nowshaq. All this is a great blunder and this type of disinformation and baseless claims must be avoided. It is a very sensitive time and age of science because of the high technology which is available everywhere and this kind of exchange of wrong info must not be posted without proper investigation. Please don’t spread wrong information about the geography of Chitral and post only the really true photo. Never try to misguide potential tourists.
Abide by the ethics of traveling and stick to your itinerary. Don’t violate the rules of standard tourism, follow the rules or learn the rules first and then take to the route. Be a responsible tourist; don’t spread garbage here and there; Take your garbage with you and dispose it of according to the rules of eco-tourism. It is a sensitive human activity and should not be abused by untrained, uncultured and irresponsible wanderers. Be a responsible tourist and earn a credit of good tourist instead of making mess for others especially for your own community to which you belong.