Pakistan may be not much think-able for many travellers due to the severe image created by local and international media, but there is a lot of interest to Visit Pakistan. Pakistan is the real India where everything began, the Indus civilisation, the scripts of Ragveda, The Buddhism and the language Sanskrit were all started here. We are also a land of the highest mountains of the world including the worlds second tallest peak Mount K – 2. Pakistan is safe in the Northwest Hunza Gilgit and Skardu Areas, in fact, one does not even need to travel to the troubled areas, one can easily have enjoyable travel experience in the Karakorums and Himalayas. Or just visit Bhurban, Murree, Ayubia, and Patriata. Lahore is the Moghul dose of history whereas Karachi is the economic and dynamic hub of Pakistan.
On the whole, if I see the picture is not that bad either, Tourism in Pakistan has been stated by the Lonely Planet magazine as being the tourism industry’s “next big thing”. Pakistan with its diverse cultures, people and landscapes have attracted 0.7 million tourists to the country, almost double to that of a decade ago. Pakistan’s tourism industry was in its heyday during the 1970s when the state received unprecedented amounts of foreign tourists, thanks to the Hippie trail. The primary destinations of choice for these tourists were the Khyber Pass, Peshawar, Karachi, Lahore, Swat and Rawalpindi.
Although primarily a Muslim country, Pakistan is such a diverse region, it is the centre of various religions and settlements long before the creation of the nation that exists today. Today, Pakistan is formed of five large provinces Sindh, Punjab, Bahawalpur Janoobi Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Baluchistan and four territories – Islamabad Capital Territory, Federally Administered Tribal Areas, Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan. The cultural and physical diversity of Pakistan has developed the country into a tourist hot spot for foreign travellers as well as adventurers. Buddhism has an ancient history in Pakistan, although there is no evidence that any Buddhists live in Pakistan today. The country is dotted with numerous old and disused Buddhist stupas along the entire breadth of the Indus River that courses through the heart of the country. Many Buddhists empires and city-states existed, notably in Gandhara but also elsewhere in Taxila, Punjab and Sindh. It is believed that Tantric Buddhism was developed in Pakistan’s Swat valley. Pakistan and much of Afghanistan were one of the first regions to adopt Buddhism and which saw a large number of adherents to the faith. It is believed that through the Silk Road of northern Pakistan, that Buddhism spread later to Central Asia, China and beyond. Then some people do not profess any faith best described as the atheists or the agnostics in Pakistan. A 2012 study by Gallup Pakistan found that people are not adhering to any religion account for 1% of the population. In September 2010 a Facebook group surfaced for Pakistani Atheists and Agnostics (PAA). On August 2011, they launched their website http://www.e-paa.org which received more than 17,000 hits in just 48 hours after its launch from 95 countries. The PAA wants a non-theist box to be added on the passport and to be more comfortable for Pakistanis to change their religion legally if they want.
Adherence to it further in Pakistan there is much music and dance performance arts that make Pakistani art performance unique from other culture. Music and dance performance are in both folk and classical form. Usually, the production wears a customs that show ethnic design. Even the tradition of the performer also identified the particular tribe or province and their art of performance. All regions in Pakistan have their type of art performance. The basic format of folk dance of Pakistan is dancing in a circle, the other and unique dance form of the folk dance is Pathani Khattak dance. This dance is also performed with drum and pipes. The other famous dance form in Pakistan is “Jhoomer”, and it is the special dance form of Baluchistan. This dance involves moving around at a breakneck speed. They did this dance in the night with the light of torches. Jhoomer dance is also done by the women in Punjab province and is referred as romantic fashion dance. In Punjab the other form of dance performed by girls is “Juddi” which starts by girls with singing to the drum beat then they form a circle and begin to dance. “Bhangra” is another famous dance form in Punjab, and this dance is always performed at the start of the harvest season. One of the most famous dance forms in Pakistan is “Luddi Ho Jamalo” which started off in Sindh but now is famous all over Pakistan. This dance form is performed at some celebration or victory. There are almost more than six hundred musical instruments in Pakistan, and the most famous one are Rabab, Veena, Sitar, Tanpura, and Mandal.
In 2009, The World Economic Forum’s Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report ranked Pakistan as one of the top 25% tourist destinations for its World Heritage sites. Ranging from mangroves in the South to the 5,000-year-old cities of the Civilization which included Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa.
Although with so much diversity still, Pakistan is unable to tab on to its tourism potential and unable to attract tourists properly. It is a pity no initiative has been taken up by the government to promote the tourism industry and cash on it, but instead, today Pakistan has become more of a tourism mystery. Before signing off I would like to ask you all a question, What is the first thing that strikes your mind when the word PAKISTAN strikes you? Please be honest in your response…