GILGIT – Gilgit-Baltistan Chief Minister Hafizur Rehman has approached the federal interior ministry against its decision of making no-objection certificate (NOC) compulsory for foreign tourists, The Nation has learnt.
Earlier, the federal interior ministry had imposed a ban on visits of foreign tourists to Gilgit-Baltistan without obtaining a no-objection certificate (NOC) from the ministry of interior Islamabad.
The chief minister in a letter addressed to the Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, asked the movement of the foreigner to Gilgit-Baltistan without prior NOC from the interior ministry Islamabad.
The letter further added the interior ministry notification seriously dented our efforts.
Gilgit-Baltistan is a famous destination for international tourists, adding that the GB government and tours operators have worked hard to attract the tourists from all over the world.
The letter added the government and tour operators have been attending almost all international tourism festivals, expos and meetings, and showcasing the beauty of GB.
The letter stated very encouraging results are coming off the efforts made by the government and tourists operators in this regard.
Each year number of foreign tourists is increasing which is a very healthy sign for the local economy as well as national exchequer and protecting the soft image of Pakistan.
The letter further stated that the entire tourism fraternity of GB is in serious protest over this virtual lockdown of GB.
GB is among the most peaceful parts of Pakistan and this ban all the more unjustified and discriminatory. If security is the underlying reason, then NOC condition should not be limited to GB, but the whole country.
All the rest which valid visa will not need any extra NOC/clearance from the ministry concerned as it will tantamount to lockdown GB completely for all foreigners thereby bringing a huge loss to the tourism industry and country alike.
The letter requests that matter may be looked into for resolution of the issue in the best interest of GB and our national image.
This news was published in The Nation newspaper.