Boating ban ‘disappoints’ Sardaryab visitors

Published April 14, 2024
Boats parked on the bank of Sardaryab in Charsadda due to a ban. — Dawn
Boats parked on the bank of Sardaryab in Charsadda due to a ban. — Dawn

CHARSADDA: The abrupt ban on boating in the River Kabul dampened the spirits of visitors to the popular Sardaryab picnic spot here during Eid days.

The district administration slapped the ban after a boat capsized in the river near Kund Park, Nowshera, killing eight people.

Sardaryab attracted holidaymakers, including youth and children, in large numbers from across Charsadda and adjoining Peshawar and Mardan districts on Eid. They showed up to ride boats, camels, horses, and swings, eat fish, and relish other local delicacies.

However, the boating ban disappointed them.

They said Sardaryab on the Peshawar-Charsadda border was famous for boat riding, but the ban on it let them down.

The visitors demanded an immediate end to the ban with strict conditions for boat riding.

Boatmen also complained about the ban and said they used to make good money on Eid, but that wasn’t the case this time around due to their misery.

“Eid days always promised us handsome earnings, but that hasn’t happened this Eid due to the boating ban,” a boatman told Dawn.

The boatmen demanded an immediate yet unconditional lifting of the restriction.

They said they’re ready to ride a small number of picnickers in boats, and that, too, with safety gear. Colourful and decorated boats were parked on the riverbank, but people were stopped from riding them.

Salman, a minor boy from Peshawar, told Dawn that he loved riding decorated camels and horses and taking selfies with them.

Sima, a student from the Utmanzai area in Charsadda district, said Sardaryab was an open area that attracted nature lovers.

“I love fried fish at the makeshift stalls here,” she said.

The student demanded separate enclosures for women visitors and stalls of traditional Charsadda chappal and Rajjar sweets at Sardaryab.

Mohammad Umar of Mardan demanded an immediate end to the boating ban and the provision of better recreational facilities for Sardaryab visitors.

He said authorities should develop the area as a premier tourist spot to increase visitor arrivals, which would not only increase their revenues but also create job opportunities for locals. A musical concert was held in the open area at Sardaryab to the amusement of visitors.

Singers sang Pashto poems by Ghani Khan and Hamza Baba.

Published in Dawn, April 14th, 2024

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