KARACHI: President General Pervez Musharraf Saturday said Karachi has been placed on the map of world sea cruise with the launch of first ever sea cruise liner.
Pakistan is blessed with a unique landscape – loftiest mountains, vast plains, deserts, coastlines, rich cultural heritage, ancient civilizations and cradle of different religions.
Karachiites must see up North and northern area people must see coastal lines?, he noted while addressing the select gathering of diplomats, senior officials, leading businessmen, bankers and notables on-board Gulf Dream Cruise Liner at Karachi Port.
First Lady Begum Sehba Musharraf, Sindh Governor Dr. Ishrat-ul-Ebad, Chief Minister Dr. Arbab Ghulam Rahim, Ports and Shipping Minister Babar Ghauri were also present on the launching of first-ever sea cruise vessel.
The President noted that more than 500 destinations are covered by sea cruise operators and Karachi has now been added to that list.
He asked KPT to provide more facilities to attract more cruise operators. He noted that more has to be done in the form of port infrastructure, passenger services, amenities to facilitate cruise operations.
He asked Pakistanis to promote tourism within the country by self to attract foreign tourists into Pakistan. He asked people to first see the unique places of the country. It would help in development of hotels, motels and other tourism facilities at the tourist resorts, he noted.
?Pakistanis themselves must travel to see their own tourist attractions. Then foreign tourists will come?, President Musharraf said.
The President said Pakistan is a land of exotic and picturesque pleasure and its people should explore these tourist attractions. Pakistan offers varied temperatures starting from 50 degrees plus Celsius to minus 50 degrees.
The country is blessed with difficult terrain and virgin coastal line with coastal towns like Ormara, Gwadar. He said the government was developing Gwadar as an industrial and tourist town and its town planning was already done. It will emerge as one of the most beautiful towns of Balochistan and Pakistan in next 15 to 20 years, he said amid thunderous applause.
He said the plains of Punjab and Sindh and the inhospitable deserts in Punjab and Sindh offer great tourist attractions. ?In the North, you will find some of the highest mountains of the world.?
Talking of cultural heritage, President Musharraf said Pakistan is blessed with 8000- year- old Meher Garh civilization in Balochistan, Indus civilization, Gandhara civilization, Mughal period landmarks and relics of Alexander?s stay, etc.
He noted that Pakistan happens to be the cradle of three olden religions – Buddhism, Hinduism and Sikhism.
He said the government was trying to open up these attractions through road links connecting remote northern mountainous areas to main roads.
?We are linking Chitral, Hunza, Gilgit, Skurdu, Astore, Kaghan, Chilas. I strongly recommend Karachiites to explore their own country and its beauty. Travel, these are very safe areas. The most exquisite and most beautiful places of the world,? he observed.
Referring to sea cruise, President Musharraf said it is most comfortable when the sea is calm. Launching of Karachi-Dubai cruise is for the first time in the history of Pakistan, he added.
He urged the cruise operator Rizwan Mohiuddin to also include Gwadar as one of the destinations.
Talking of his association with the water, the President said that he has promoted water sports in the country.
Earlier, Port and Shipping Minister Babar Khan Ghauri said more cruise liners have shown interest to operate from Pakistan due to the business friendly shipping policy of the country.
He said he was going to India by the end of this month to sign a shipping protocol to start shipping and ferry services between the two countries.
KPT Chairman Vice Admiral (Rtd) Ahmed Hayat said the port was encouraging more sea cruise liners. He said it was the fastest growing business in the world.
He said Manora (Island) was being developed as a tourist resort and its construction will begin in August next at a cost of Rs 2 billion.