Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Climate Change, Malik Amin Aslam, on Thursday, reopened a 129-year old historical ‘Motto Tunnel’ at Ayubia National Park.
The tunnel has been reopened for tourists after almost 20 years. Restoration work on it has been done by the Ministry of Climate Change in collaboration with the Department of Wildlife.
According to a press release, Aslam while inaugurating the tunnel said that unsustainable and exploitative tourism practices in various parts of the country, particularly in biodiversity-rich and environmentally-sensitive areas, over last several years have badly harmed local fragile ecosystems that house wildlife species and their habitats.
The special assistant said: “Given the realisation, the incumbent government is taking all-out measures to usher in sustainable models of eco-tourism in consultative with local partners and communities as a part of Prime Minister’s vision for Clean and Green Pakistan.”
Sharing details about the tunnel, Aslam said that the tunnel was built in 1891 between Ghora Dhaka (presently Ayubia) to Khaira Gali (Murree) beneath the road and residential area in Ayubia Town. The tunnel had remained in terrible condition due to lack of maintenance over the last several decades.
He said that this tunnel is 12 kilometres long and has a flat track. This track was 4 kilometres long before 12 more kilometres was added to it – it is now 16 kilometres in total.
“Besides, reopening and renovation of the different segments of the tunnel, the tunnel site has also been provided with various facilities for tourists including paved track to the tunnel, information centre, guiding facilities, sitting and resting areas and coffee shop,” highlighted Aslam.
The PM’s aide hoped that the glorious cultural icon would add value to the natural beauty of the national park and provide added attraction to tourists.
He said: “We are taking practical steps to promote tourism. The restoration of this tunnel is also a link to the same series.”