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Locals oppose tourist centre at Madak Lasht

MADAK LASHT: People of Madak Lasht in Shishi Koh valley of Lower Chitral have expressed their reservations over government’s plan to turn their area into a tourist centre saying this would put their indigenous culture and traditions at stake. 

They were speaking at an open forum arranged by the deputy commissioner of Lower Chitral to listen to their issues after the conclusion of the three-day winter snow sports festival in Madak Lasht.

The festival was organized by Hndukush Snow Sports Club in collaboration with the district administration and the KP tourism department. Players from Chitral and other parts of the country besides nine from Europe took part in skiing, ice skating, ice hockey and other games.

But the local people seemed perturbed over the area becoming a tourist hub and told the deputy commissioner that the planned tourism centre in Madak Lasht should be shifted to somewhere else.

They said Madak Lasht was inhabited by 4,500 people who settled here after their migration from Afghanistan in the 16th century. They said the area remained deprived of all basic facilities such as schools and healthcare centres and there was no metalled road to the valley. 

The only road to Madak Lasht was constructed by the forest department with the aim of transporting out timber from the area but later the road was handed over to the C&W department which failed to even maintain it.

The DC told the locals that he would convey their reservations regarding setting up of the tourist centre to provincial authorities and take steps to resolve other issues.–GH Farooqui

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