ISLAMABAD, Feb 8: Minister for Tourism Maulana Atta ur Rahman linked conducive security environment to the promotion of tourism in the country Maulana Atta, has recently assumed the charge of Federal Minister for Tourism.

Moulana appeared firm to cope with all the challenges confronting country’s rich tourism industry at home and abroad.

At home the tourism sector is being overlooked by the successive governments and quite tiny amount is allocated in Public Sector Development Programme that hardly cater for it demands. At global level, Pakistan is wrongly projected in the media and tourists are advised not to visit this south asian country, which offer four-season tourism opportunities.

It’s not just the security issue that haunt tourism as there as so many other factors that add to woes of this multi billion dollar trade the world over.

Lack of infrastructure, facilities to the tourists, transport, discouraging response from officials circles etc are some of the prime areas that need to be improved on war-footing.

“Until and unless we take this (tourism) industry on priority basis, we are not going to see it flourishing. We also need to put in maximum resource in our tourism sector,” Maulana Atta said.

Pakistan is the most blessed country on the map of the world and stands unique in the comity of nations owing to its diverse cultures, rich archeological heritage, remains of ancient civilizations including Gandhara and Indus, five out of 14 mountain peaks above 8000 metre, serene valleys, gushing rivers, vast deserts of Tharparkar and Cholistan.

“What has been explored so far in terms of tourism in Pakistan is a tip of an ice-berg with a lot more still awaiting to be discovered”, he said.

“We will plan to explore more sites in Murree, Punjab, Balochistan where, we hope, a tremendous potential exists,” Maulana Atta added.

He opined that promotion of tourism could help Pakistan and its people forge friendly relation with the people and governments of neighboring countries.“Tourism could also be put to new dimensions if we improve relations with other countries,” he remarked.

The minister said presently Pakistan had agreements with 24 countries regarding tourism.

When asked how he deemed himself as minister for tourism given the peculiar understanding of the people about the religious conservatives, who allegedly deny the masses of opportunities of recreations, Maualan Atta said he look forward this spectacular industry in a much better fashion.”I shall take tourism industry to the new heights.”

He also ruled out the impression that Islam restricted recreation or healthier activities. “Whatever we do would be in accordance with Islamic injunctions, and of course, our Constitution.” he maintained.

Maulana Atta quoted a Quranic verse (Seero Fil Arz) which means travel around the earth and justified Islam which asked its followers to explore the world and get to new venues.