COUNTRYWIDE MOTORBIKE JOURNEY FOR PEACE RIDER IN Gilgit-Baltistan
GILGIT: Whoever said age is a factor clearly never met 54-year-old Shahid Jamil Rana, who is on a countrywide motorbike ride for peace. He was warmly received by locals in Gilgit-Baltistan’s Diamer Valley, thus dismissing any security apprehensions he may have had.
A resident of Lahore, Rana is on a peace journey which may last up to two-and-half months before he rides his way through the whole country. “I was told Chilas and some other parts are not tourist-friendly, but that is not what I found,” Rana said. “It is a perfect place and the people are extremely hospitable – something I realised after meeting them,” he said, referring to locals of Diamer, of whom he had heard a lot through the media and friends in the recent past.
It has been almost two weeks since Rana arrived in G-B from Mansehra via the Babusar Pass. With his motorbike painted with slogan of “Ride for Peace”, Rana meets people wherever he stops and tells them about the purpose of his visit.
The 54-year-old peace activist started his journey from Lahore on July 13 and plans to reach Peshawar via Chitral. His last destinations are Quetta and Karachi — two cities which have been plagued by extreme law and order situations over the years.(Pakistanviews)
“Whenever I take a break from my journey, people look at me with interest and start gathering around me,” said Rana, who has worked as a tourist guide in the past and visited various parts of the country with foreigners.
“We are lucky to have four seasons in the country and that is our strength.” He said people of the country should capitalise on this aspect to make tourism flourish. He believes the devolution of tourism to the provinces has hindered the promotion of the industry on an international scale.
The motorist, who has undertaken this mission without any external funding, said his goal was to make the country peaceful and he was ready to sacrifice his life if need be. “Balochistan and Karachi are risky places, but if my death helps restore lasting peace, I am ready to accept it.”