Pakistan — a tourist heaven


By M. Arshad Munir

WHILE traveling from Karachi towards Gilgit Baltistan in north, you will witness some of the most spectacular and diverse scenario, culture and people. This is Pakistan, a land steeped in history.

Pakistan is home to one of the oldest civilizations in the world, dating back to 6500 BC. Mehergarh an ancient culture flourished in Balochistan in 6500 BC. Later the Indus Civilization, Mohenjo-Daro and Harrapa, flourished dating back to 2500BC.

Its people lived in a well-planned city, with an advance lifestyle, contemporaneous with the civilizations of ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, Minoan Crete, and Norte Chico.

At its height, the Indus Civilization spanned much of Pakistan and North India, extending westwards to the Iranian border, south to Gujarat in India. It is regarded as the cradle of civilization in this region.

Taxila is another archeological treasure of the ancient Ghandhara Kingdom located in Pakistan. It is a city of the Gandharan civilization, sometimes known as one of its capitals.

Taxila was a hub of Buddhism, a center of learning, an urban metropolis and a meeting point of various cultures, namely the Achaemenids, Greeks, Mauryans, Scythians, Parthians, Kushans, Huns and eventually the Muslims.

Later in the history the great Mogul’s present an illustrious era of art, music, architecture and gardens left behind which speaks volume of their skill and taste. Their remnants of the splendor are scattered all over the country.

Lahore, known as the cultural hub of Pakistan, hosts some of the most impressive Mogul and Victorian architecture. The elegance of the Wazir Khan mosque and a glass work art in Sheesh Mahal at Lahore fort are the academies of Art.

Pakistan is one of the few countries in the world that exhibit such amazing contrast of people in term of color, creed, race and custom as a socially enlightened and moderate society.

Pakistan is the nation with a rich grounding in culture and rare arts and crafts. The multicultural past has given the people a diverse cuisine varying from province to province.

Pakistan manufactures the finest sports goods including some world class brands. The football used in the World Cup have been manufactured in Sialkot.

It is also known throughout the world for its surgical instruments. The hand woven carpets and rugs are acclaimed and appreciated throughout the world.

The new horizon provides opportunities to women to play key roles in all spheres of life from ministerial posts to running the central banks, service industries and from flying passenger’s planes to fighter jets.

A nation crazy about sports playing both modern and traditional sports and games, they have won World Championship in cricket, hockey, squash and snooker a number of times. Apart from such international sports many indigenous games and sports are highly popular and mark the individuality and fun loving nature of Pakistanis.

Their music is a beautiful blend of tradition and individual colors. They draw inspiration from the rich contribution of the 13th century poet and musician Ameer Khusro, who composed the earliest “raghas”. Even the pop music is a fusion of classical and modern tunes.

The diverse eco system also makes Pakistan an attractive tourist destination. The varying landscape from deserts in the south to the lush green planes and the majestic mountain in the north make Pakistan unique offering all four seasons through out the year.

Mountains and peaks are scattered all over the world but Pakistan is known to have the greatest concentration of peaks above 8,000m as well as being the home to the second highest peak of the world. The Northern Areas of Pakistan is endowed with most geographical features in the world.

It is here that three great, lofty and spectacular mountain ranges, Karakoram, Hindukush and Himalayas meet. In an area of about 500 kms in width and 350 kms in depth, is found the most dense collection of some of highest peaks in the world.

This include five out of the total 14 above 8,000 meters high peaks on earth, namely the second highest rock pyramid – the K2 (8611-M), the killer mountain Nanga Parbat (8125-M), the Hidden Peak Gasherbrum-I (8068-M), the Broad Peak (8051-M), and the Gasherbrum-II (8035-M).

Twenty nine over 7,500 meters and 108 over 7,000 meters and countless peaks between 4,000 meters and 7,000 meters are found in this congregation.

This enormous mountain wealth makes Pakistan an important mountain country offering great opportunities for mountaineering and mountain related adventure activities.

The area is aptly called a paradise for mountaineers, adventure seekers and nature lovers.

— The author is Consul (Press) at Pakistan mission