SWAT: The residents of Malam Jabba here on Wednesday said that some elements were trying to discourage tourists from visiting the valley but they would not tolerate any move to affect tourism in the area.

Led by local elders Shah Ristan Khan, Mian Jee, Sharif Khan, Sultanat Khan, Mohammad Zada and Iqbal Hussain, a large number of residents of Malam Jabba staged a protest outside Swat Press Club and later addressed a press conference to express their concerns.

They said that some people were troubling the companies which spent billions of rupees for promotion of tourism in the area.

They said that such acts would not only discourage tourists but would also affect peace of the valley.

“Some elements are trying to provoke simple people for their vested interests. They blackmail the investors. It will not only impede promotion of tourism but also leave hundreds of people jobless,” they said.

They said that promotion of tourism brought prosperity to the area as locals got multiple employment opportunities and business activities were gaining momentum.

“In the year 2000 there was only one hotel in Malam Jabba that was also destroyed by terrorists. After restoration of peace in the valley, a company invested huge amount and promoted tourism and created job opportunities for locals,” they said.

They added that many hotels were set up in the area after the company made investment there.

They said that tourism played a key role in stability of Swat but some elements wanted to sabotage it. They warned the miscreants to refrain from creating hurdles to development of Malam Jabba and promotion of tourism there.

“We will never allow miscreant groups whether they are locals or outsiders to harm tourism and make our people jobless,” they said.

Published in Dawn, January 14th, 2021

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