‘Hingol National Park a prominent tourist attraction’

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ISLAMABAD: Hingol National Park provides a world of natural wonders and economic value for Pakistan. To conserve the natural landscape and wildlife found in three districts of Balochistan province i.e. Gwadar, Lasbella and Awaran, the government declared it a national park in 1988. It was named after the Hingol river.
Talking to WealthPK, Chief Conservator of Hingol National Park Sharifuddin said it is one of the largest national parks in Pakistan comprising an area of about 616,118 hectares.
Folklores, religious values, shrines, historical graves, natural formations, diversified landscapes, and mud volcanoes are a few of the attractive features in addition to landscape and wildlife.
People also come to visit the tomb of Shireen and Farhad, the two characters of a famous love folklore.
Tombs of the soldiers of Muhammad Bin Qasim (The Victorian of Sindh) are also found in Hingol National Park. A large number of people come to visit the graves of these martyrs.
A famous ancient temple of Hindu goddess Hinglaj is also visited by thousands of Hindu pilgrims every year. This temple is also famous by the names of “Nani ka mandir “or “Kali Mata ka mandir”.
River Hingol and mud volcanoes are also sacred for the Hindu visitors. They named the only active mud volcano as “Chandragup”. Mud bath and coconut throwing in it is a part of their religious rituals. Hindus also bath in river Hingol as they consider its water holy.
According to Sharifuddin, “princes of hope”, “sphynx shape” and the resembling model of the “palace of Petra in Jordan” found in the park are natural mud formations. Some people believe that human hands may be behind these creations. However, it is also a fact that deep archaeological work has never been done there.
In the park, no one is allowed to hunt, cut any tree, and take out any earth, gravel or sands. A variety of local and migrated birds, animals, amphibians and aquatic species are found in the park. Only the local people are allowed to carry out environment-friendly activities i.e., livestock keeping, farming or fishing.
The chief conservator said the park management supports the local communities in multiple socio-economic ways. A primary school for local children was started in the area which is now under the government framework as a regular school. Local people are also appointed as game watchers. A vocational institute to train local women about multiple crafts i.e. stitching. Women were also provided sewing machines at the end of the training. They were also trained to look after and vaccinate the livestock themselves. The World Bank had also supported the said project under the Global Environment Facility (GEF).
Sharifuddin said that government must develop a proper development framework for the Hindu pilgrims and other visitors. He said income from visitors should be spent for environment protection, visitors facilitation and other beneficial plans for the park.
The chief conservator said that in every national park, two areas are defined: Core zone (in which total wildlife is involved), and buffer zone (regular visiting place or recreational area like Kund Malir, an attached coastline with Hingol National Park).
“With input from other government institutes like Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC), national parks can get more tourist attraction. It will help generate a sustainable income source for local communities, and will prove good for the overall economic betterment of Pakistan,” he said.
–INP