PESHAWAR           -         The people of Peshawar preferred enjoying mouth watering dishes at home along with guests and loved ones to flocking tourist destinations on the third day of Eidul Fitr amid fears of coronavirus. Contrary to the past tradition of visiting picnic spots, Peshawarites stayed at home and enjoyed Peshawari polao, chappli kabab, nehari, chicken achar, haleem, matton polao, seerkhurma, jalebi, sohan halwa and rajjar sweets. Peshawar Zoo, which had attracted thousands of people during Eid days last year, has been closed for tourists due to looming fear of the pandemic. Famous hill stations, most popular with tourists and picnickers, including Nathiagali, Ayubia, Changagali, Thandyani in Abbottabad district, Kaghan, Naran in Mansehra, Malam Jabba, Kalam, Madain in Swat and Komrat Valley in Dir districts were almost deserted on this Eid. The closure of these spots has adversely affected the hotel industry in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa where hotels are closed since mid of March owing to the coronavirus. Kalam is my favourite tourist destination due to its lush green mountains, fresh air and mesmerizing natural beauty. I had visited Kalam along with my family on every Eid in the past. This Eid, however, I was not able to visit my dream place due to the threat of coronavirus,” said Bhadar Khan, a former Nazim, while talking to APP here on Tuesday.

He said coronavirus had badly affected the tourism sector in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa where famous Sirdaryab picnic point at Peshawar-Charsadda Road, Tanda Dam in Kohat, Khanpur Dam in Haripur and Ayubia chairlift in Mansehra were flooded with tourists last year, but remained closed on this Eid.

“On every Eid, I had visited Ayubia along with my children to enjoy its five kilometres long chairlift ride,” said Qaiser Khan, a resident of Wapda Town Peshawar.

“I like Peshawar zoo where giraffes, lions, tigers, monkeys, cobra snakes and eagles attract children during the Eid days,” said Arif Khan, a resident of Hayatabad, Peshawar.

He said bears, foxes, “parrots, pheasants and zebras remained centre of attraction for visitors especially children on Eid days in the past, however this prime tourists place was also closed on this Eid due to virus threat.

He urged KP Government to reopen Peshawar zoo under SOPs for facilitation of tourists.