Murree’s top officials have blamed tour operators and competing tourist destinations like Nathia Gali of initiating the ‘#Boycott Murree’ social media campaign, denying claims that locals and shopkeepers were involved in harassment of tourists.
Speaking to Pakistan Today, Murree Chief Officer (CO) Najeebullah Tareen said, “An initial probe revealed that one or two incidents had taken place. However the social media movement is a propaganda that is being spearheaded by tourist operators and competing tourist destinations such as Nathia Gali.”
“Tourist operators derive more financial benefit by taking tourists to places such as Naran and Kaghan that require more travel time, hence more money,” the CO added.
“We have taken several initiatives to provide a safe environment and to restore confidence of the tourists such as the deployment of Dolphin Force in Murree, placing banners on 17 important intersections that display important numbers of the local civil administration and the creation of a control room and help desk,” he said.
Murree Police Station’s SHO (Station House Officer) Malik Rafaqat Hussain told Pakistan Today that, “I have been transferred here only a few days ago but I can guarantee that a secure environment will be provided to tourists now.”
“Hawkers and small businessman from surrounding areas come into Murree and commit such offences while the local people and businessmen do not. This is because they know that indulging in such acts would cost them their own business and revenue,” said Murree Municipal Corporation Superintendent Altaf Hussain.
“It is our duty to provide a safe environment to tourists, treat our guests properly and provide facilities to them,” the superintendent added.
Meanwhile, several citizens have taken to Twitter to express their frustration over the issue.
Rehan Bin Iftikhar tweeted, “I urge everyone to not visit Murree this season and go to some other place.”
#bycottmurree very pathetic situation. Urge all not to visit this season. Visit some other place.
— Rehan Bin Iftikhar (@rehan6513) May 6, 2018
“Change your visiting destinations and let those gangsters reflect on the situation.” said another tweet by Abdul Jaleel.
— Abdul Jaleel (@jaleel868) May 7, 2018
Another citizen shared pictures of a bill that had been charged for food.
— ChTalha Ahmed Gujjar (@optimistictalha) May 10, 2018
While Sardar Yasin “urged people to visit Sajikot instead of Muree”.
I urge to the people of Pakistan who they have #bycottmurree in this session must visit the #Sajikot waterfall to explore the beauty of this beautiful valley. The waterfall is situated in lower #Galyat of Dist. #Abbottabad of #KPK & people r cooperative as well.#BoycotteMurree pic.twitter.com/Q3HM8Sqd6q
— Sardar Yasin Khan (کرڑال)🇵🇰 (@SrYasinKarlal) May 10, 2018