Tourism prospects: Cable cars bring life back to Malam Jabba

Tourists on the cable ride in Malam Jabba, Swat. PHOTO: EXPRESS

Tourists on the cable ride in Malam Jabba, Swat. PHOTO: EXPRESS

MINGORA: Eight years ago, the destruction of the ski resort at Malam Jabba signalled the arrival of terrorists in the once serene Swat Valley. Fast forward to 2016, the militants are gone and the cable cars, which carried hundreds of tourists and treated them to stunning views, are back in circulation at 9,200 feet above sea level.

The previous cable car system was completely destroyed by militants in 2008 during the insurgency in Swat.

The new cable cars also brought smiles to the faces of tourists from across the country as they saw the system functioning for the first time in close to a decade. “I visited Swat for the first time in 2005 and enjoyed a ride in a cable car in Malam Jabba,” said Izharul Haq, a tourist from Mardan. He told The Express Tribune his first ride was so memorable that it inspired him to visit Malam Jabba all over again for another round. However, he was astonished when he discovered that the entire system had been razed to the ground by militants in 2008.

“The wreckage of demolished cable cars reduced me to tears when I visited the valley for the second time in 2008,” Haq said. “Now, the revival of the cable car system and a ride to the top in one has rejuvenated me. It brought back happy memories”.

Another visitor, Ahmad Ali from Rawalpndi city, while standing in a queue for a ride, said he and his family were excited about taking a ride in a cable car to the top of the hill—more than 9,000 feet above the sea-level. “Swat has many things to offer to tourists; lush green fields, snow-capped mountains and rivers following in a zigzag pattern,” Ali said. He said reviving the cable car system increased the pleasure of their trip to the scenic valley by twofold. “Now, the prevalence of peace in the valley has overshadowed fear and I recommend every Pakistani to visit Swat and enjoy the natural beauty and take a ride on a cable car,” Ali said.

Also among the visitors to the scenic spot was Kamal Hussain of Peshawar city who said, “The Swat valley’s beauty is unmatched, but the government must immediately recognise Malam Jabba as a tourist spot and take measures to support tourism. The spot lacks basic infrastructure and the 45-kilometre road connecting Malam Jabba to the main city of Mingora is dilapidated.”

He urged the government construct the road to Malam Jabba, to support the tourism industry and facilitate visitors.

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