Bilal Sabri: Things Pakistan is famous for

Hainan International Media Center (HIMC) aims to communicate with the world and promote Hainan by telling the story of Hainan and conveying the voice of Hainan to the world. At the same time, it also invites overseas columnists to tell their stories under unique perspectives. The special column of these overseas articles has officially launched. There will be more bilingual articles on the way, stay tuned!

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Pakistan — ‘land of the pure’ in Persian and Urdu — is a melting pot of cultures, cuisines and people. Its culture is enrich in traditions and represents history of the region. It is home to the Nobel prize laureates among other noted personalities, majestic mountains &scenic beauty, fertile desert, largest canal-based irrigation system, highest paved international road, world’s largest ambulance network, world’s largest producer of hand-sewn footballs, world’s sixth-most-populous country, only Islamic nuclear power and much more.

Photo/Internet

Yet, the best way to experience Pakistan is to travel the length and breadth of the country as the people of Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Azad Kashmir, Gilgit & Baltistan have diverse cultural values which make them different from the rest of the world.

The image of the country and the lifestyle of its inhabitants is starkly different from its worldwide image and, perhaps, that is why it is often said that Pakistan is the most misunderstood country in the world. The factors that contribute to distorting its image at global level are the phenomenon of terrorism and religious extremism. Sadly, despite being unique in its way of life, thoughts and morals, fighting as the front-line state in the war on terror and suffering the most in men and material, the country’s global image is still not what it deserves.

Geographically, the country is as rich as it gets. On the scale of geographical diversity, Pakistan posses the snow-capped peaks to the deserts of Thar and from the Khewra salt range to the coast of Makran in Balochistan. The country has unbelievably scenic hill stations, lush green fields, blue skies, clear rivers and majestic sea – you get all here.

Pakistan offers one of the best tourism opportunities of the world due to its magnificent mountains, outstretched valleys, rich cultural heritage and hospitable &friendly people. Its cities are full of modern infrastructure and life, villages do not just offer 'Saag', 'Makai ki Roti' and 'Lassi' but display all colors of cultural aspects, making it a dream tourist destination. The main destinations of choice for tourists to Pakistan are northern area, Swat, NaranKaghan, Lahore, Peshawar, Karachi and twin cities – Islamabad and Rawalpindi.

Photo/Internet

Reportedly, World Economic Forum’s Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report had ranked Pakistan as one of the top 25 percent tourist destinations for its world heritage sites, which includes the 5,000-year-old cities of the Indus Valley Civilization—Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa.

Religiously, roots of Sufism are quite strong in Pakistan. Shrines of the Sufis not only draw hundreds of thousands of locals throughout the year but attract people from across the globe, who pay tribute to them on their birth and death anniversaries, go there for soul searching, or prayers.

Recently, Punjab Governor Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar said that he would promote “Sufi tourism” and encourage Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Sufi and Christian tourists to come visit sites in Pakistan, adding that the endeavor would roughly add $5 billion to the economy.

Realizing the importance of Pakistan’s global perspective and in a bid to attract tourists to climb the unclimbed peaks, experience the untouched coastlines and pay homage to religious and historic heritage, Pakistan has proposed the idea of introducing a single-tourist visa for all the member states of the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (Carec) Program.

Photo/Internet

Prime Minister’s Adviser on Institutional and Governance Reforms DrIshrat Husain said that all 11 member states of Cares—Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, China, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan–can attract tourists from around the world by linking together the recreational and religious sites to enhance multiculturalism.

Pakistan is fast improving tourism infrastructure as its important to display its cultural diversity. Many different languages are spoken in Pakistan, family bonds are strong, people are friendly yet gender segregation exists, they love listening to and making world-class music, they are poetic, sports lovers, resilient, hardworking and have big, fat weddings.

Importantly, Pakistanis love chai to the extent that it is available everywhere. Yes, everywhere and you may call it Pakistanis' beer or alcohol. About chai, Greg Mortenson, the author of the 'Three Cups of Tea' quoted a Pakistani man Haji Ali in his book: "The first time you share tea with a Balti, you are a stranger. The second time you take tea, you are an honored guest. The third time you share a cup of tea, you become family, and for our family, we are prepared to do anything, even die."

So what are you waiting for. Pack your bags and come to Pakistan. It won’t disappoint you.

Responsible editor: 陈书敏
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