After my A-level exams had finished, I planned on visiting some tourist spots of lower Sindh that are near Karachi. The tourist spots that I visited were Keti Bander, Keenjhar Lake and Makli graveyard. Joined by my brothers, when we reached Keti Bander, our first impressions of the spot were quite disappointing.

Keti Bander is a small port on the Arabian Sea. And, in the history books, it is where Mohammad Bin Qasim had arrived with his army from Iraq. Since then till today there have not been any developments made to this area in terms of raising its tourism standards despite having the potential based on the natural beauty that it possesses. The seawater is beautiful and perhaps, it is the only thing that actually catches ones eye. Although One-Belt Road (OBR) is in progress, it is upsetting to see that the current routes that lead to Keti Bander are full of bumps and the condition is just too drastic. This shows the extent to which the Government of Sindh is negligent of its tourist spots, which have the potential to do extraordinary in terms of generating income. The government should surely take example of Dubai’s tourism industry.

We should be thankful that we have a source of natural beauty i.e. sea but, it is our inability to utilize such beautiful tourist spots in a way that is beneficial to the country. Foreign tourists, who travel for hours to reach here, eventually find themselves in misery and utmost disappointment. There are various reasons for such disappointment upon visiting this tourist spot.

Firstly, the whole area stinks that is because of the smell of the fish; which eventually spreads in the open air. Talking about fish, the Keti Bandar economy completely relies upon fishing and the entire village is dependent on the fishermen who sometimes spend days at a time on their boats in the Arabian Sea. But, still the revenue generated from fisheries is not adequate. The reason behind this is that fishing is done on a small scale. Hence, it is more like a household fishing business where it’s a fight over livelihood over catching as many fishes as one can for their own stomach. Nonetheless, this can change if the government shows interest into investing on tourist spots in order to improve the statistics of tourism industry in Sindh in general. Thus, having provided with better sailing boats and high quality fishing equipment like landing nets, fishing rods, small hooks etc. I can assure that from small scale the fishing business can escalate to larger scale. This would allow for more trade of fish into metropolitan cities thus, generating revenue.

Secondly, it is hard to stay in Keti Bander because there is no sort of hoteling available. The area is compact with small huts in which people live. These are by side with shops. Hotels should be built here and the common population of Keti Bander can have the opportunity to serve in these hotels as waiters and be given salary. Foreign tourists can be at an ease of staying in these hotels, which would eventually generate economy. It is also pertinent to mention that the weather here is often warm so planting of palm trees would be a good step in the right direction if taken by the government, Planting of trees is a small step which the NGOs can help with. But again many NGOs, INGOs fail. Why? The answer is negligence and lack of interest.

Thirdly, there are no other forms of attractions or activities except for just seeing the sea. The way this can be solved is through introducing more subjects of attraction in Keti Bander. Jet ski rides may be inaugurated for example from Keti Bander to Karachi over the vast Arabian Sea. Other fun activities like horse riding, camel riding, bike riding may also be worked upon as these catch attention of people, more and more people would be willing to come to Keti Bander for leisure. As a result economy will be generated.

No doubt Keti Bander can transform into a beach resort if the government acts upon the above suggestions with full sincerity and intention of uplifting the standards of tourism industry in Sindh.

Leaving Keti Bander, we spent some time at Keenjhar Lake and I must say it was well spent. There is a good system of accommodation at Keenjhar for tourists. And, we took boat ride as well, which was truly fun. In the history books, the Sindhi legend of Noori Jam Tamachi also took place around this lake. Noori Jam Tamachi; is a famous tale of Prince Jam Tamachi’s falling in love with the charming fisherwoman Noori. Noori makes Jam happy with her perfect surrender and obedience, which causes him to raise her above all the other queens. To this day there is a shrine in the middle of the lake marking Noori’s grave. Every day hundreds of devotees visit the shrine. The story also appears in Shah Jo Risalo and forms part of seven popular tragic romances from Sindh, Pakistan. The other six tales are Umar Marvi, Sassui Punnhun, Sohni Mehar, Lilan Chanesar, Sorath Rai Diyach and Momal Rano commonly known as the ‘Seven Queens of Sindh’, or the seven heroines of Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai.

In a nutshell, we should take advantage of the naturally beautiful tourist spots and utilize them through rigorous investment to uplift their standards and image of tourism in Sindh in general. In a way that more and more economy is generated under tourism industry this would undoubtedly help the nation overcome financial crisis as well.

IMTIAZ ALI MIRANI,

Shikarpur, Sindh.