CPEC M-15 connects safer, more resourceful places for enjoying snowfall: Experts

By Khalid Aziz | Gwadar Pro Jan 11, 2022

ISLAMABAD, Jan 11. (Gwadar Pro)- Hazara Motorway of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) connects the best destinations for enjoying snowfall with safety and comfort, experts familiar with Pakistan’s scenic northern areas told Gwadar Pro.

Saeed Akbar, CEO of Travel Asia Adventure, a firm which facilitates tourists in northern areas, said that Siran Valley in Mansehra district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province was the most suitable place for enjoying snowfall during winters. Its only at a two-hour hassle-free drive from Islamabad through the CPEC Hazara Motorway (M-15). This is one of the most beautiful valleys in the country with lush green meadows, peaks, forests and rivers, which make it a perfect place to visit round the year, especially when it is snowing, he said. Popular tourist hotspots like Chattar Plain, Battal and Shinkiari have dedicated interchanges on M-15 and fully-developed tourism facilities including hotels and restaurants, he said. Travelling through the mesmerising Hazara Motorway is a feast in itself, he added.

Amjad Qamar, a communication expert from Mansehra, said that M-15 had made it convenient for people of KP, northern Punjab and Islamabad to enjoy snowfall in the Siran Valley and go back home during the same day. The Valley has vast plains and broader roads with no concerns of parking or accommodation, he said. Also, it is easy to reverse the vehicle and go back if weather condition gets bad, he said.

In December and January, people flock to northern areas of the country to witness the snowfall, with Murree, Mansehra and Swat being the top spots for winter tourism. Murree, a hill station in northern Punjab, receives the biggest influx because of close proximity to Islamabad. However, tourists have been complaining of scarcity of resources including water, accommodation and parking facilities due to limited capacity because of the hilly terrain. During the past weekend, two dozen people lost lives inside vehicles stuck in heavy snow and severe traffic congestion. After the incident, experts have advised the winter tourists to opt for areas linked through Hazara Motorway for enjoying snowfall in a safe and comfortable way.

Shazia Mehboob Tanoli, an Islamabad-based feature writer hailing from Mansehra, added that weather condition in Siran Valley never deteriorates to the extent to harm tourists. Furthermore, due to plain areas, it is easy for the administration to clear the roads and rescue the tourists in case of heavy snowfall, she said.

Saeed Akbar said that tourists should get on Karakoram Highway, or China-Pakistan Friendship Highway, from Mansehra up to Chattar Plain to enjoy snowfall to the fullest. They can come back through M-15 via Chattar interchange or proceed further to spend a night in Bisham, headquarters of KP’s Shangla district, which also receives snowfall during winters. He said that the mentioned areas were expected to witness a fresh spell of snowfall from January 16-22.

Ahsen Ali, a travel advisor, said that in case of light rain, tourists should use the Friendship Highway instead of the M-15 between Mansehra and Thakot.

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