By Azmat Ansari
THE Hub river forms tiny lakes and pools along its course, the remnants of the run of the river from the last rains. Moving along vast hill escape made up of brown rocks and grey boulders it is difficult for a trained eye not to spot a few odd gazelles or a lone wildsheep in a journey of three miles on the unmettalled jeep tracks in the valley.
The spotting of the animals gives weight to the claim of the local Sardar that wildlife in the hills under his control thrives unmolested since his 35 plus guards do not allow anyone to shoot the animals. There are now 1,500 ibexes, 800 wildsheep and 400 chinkaras in Hamlique and the surrounding hills. Yet against permits issued by the Government every year he allows a few trophies to be collected mostly by the foreigners.
The last American who was here a few weeks ago ventured at first cautiously fearing a sniper’s bullet or an ambush but within hours he began to say, “I feel more secure here than in my own country.”
It has been Sardar’s dream of turning the place into a resort. There are few places within easy distance of Karachi where one can go to for an outing. With a distance of 135kms from Karachi in Balochistan, Hamlique isn’t a poor choice.
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Together with another expert from Karachi, I reconnoitred the hills and the valley to sample its ambiance and to recommend what may be done to make Hamlique more acceptable to tourists. Luckily I found the terrain such that a small airstrip can be made here with a least bit of investment which should be good news for some charter aircraft companies that offer charter Cessna flights from Karachi. If I had my way I would just erect a large pole, put an air sock on top of it, get in an steam roller and press the land flat for the airstrip. Within eight hours Hamlique could be connected to the rest of the world by air. The travel time from Karachi will then get reduced to 20 minutes instead of four hours by jeeps.
I also recommended to the Sardar to make a golf course there. The terrain is suitable for laying out turf with a marginal investment. The grass takes well to the soil and the water is copious enough to sustain grass on at least 16 acres of land. In one of the surrounding hills that I climbed, I found the terrain challenging enough for fun climbers. Every now and then I found suitable spots for stopping and taking a look at the surrounding hills and the valley.
A point where a rock appears in the distance to have taken a human form was named by other climbers as Ansari Point to commemorate my climb and to remember the track by for future reference.
Although one may find it difficult to believe yet that two mile climb in the rocks makes one feel happy for days on end. The dry and uncontaminated air with which one soakes one’s lungs makes one feel good and happy for a long time. The pure air even changes one’s complexion a shade better within 24 hours.
I have even recommended building a farm of black bucks where fodder may be raised to encourage their breeding. This will also provide some relief to the farmers who sit out the whole night guarding their standing wheat crops on one or two acres of land to stop them from being eaten away by gazelles. The gazelles are pests for the farmers not a delight as they are for the tourists.