Over 15,000 tourists sent back from Lowari tunnel

CHITRAL: Over 15,000 tourists coming to Chitral during the Eidul Azha holidays were not allowed entry at the Lowari tunnel and sent back.

Shafiqullah sits in his shop waiting for customers.

The step was taken as a precautionary measure to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the area.

The ban has been imposed on tourists since May this year.

Thorough the media, the district administration had announced well before the religious event that no tourists would be allowed to visit Chitral.

Sources told ChitralToday that only those people were allowed who intended to meet their relatives in Chitral.

The decision was, however, criticized by people of Kalash valleys who mostly depend on tourism to earn their livelihood.

Shafiqullah, who sells traditional handicraft and jewellery in Bumburate, told ChitralToday that due to the COVID-19 pandemic there was no tourist in the area since March.

Now when the virus was losing intensity the district administration deprived the locals of doing some business by not allowing tourists to the area.

Mr Zafar, the owner of a hotel, said the district administration has made Kalash valleys a no-go area for visitors but those having connections in the admin were seen even entering houses of the Kalash community people.

The locals said instead of sending them back tourists should have been allowed to enter Chitral and visit scenic areas under the standard operating procedures (SOPs) against the coronavirus.–Muhkam Uddin Ayuni

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