ISLAMABAD - Turkeys seriousness for tourism was evident from the choice of guests, cuisine, and outfit of the 86th Republic Day reception hosted by Mrs and Ambassador Babur Hizlan here on Thursday. At least three ministers attended the Turkish reception but Federal Minister for Tourism Atta-ur-Rehman was getting special treatment from the Ambassador. It was obviously because of Turkeys special interest not only in their domestic tourism but also in bilateral cooperation. According to a senior diplomat, the Turkish Ambassador was keen to know how the Minister for Tourism has been managing the affairs of the Ministry while most of the tourist sites in the country had fallen prey to the war on terror. The people in Pakistan are so scared of terrorism in the prevalent state of security that they find it ridiculous to even discuss tourism. But the Turkish diplomat quite rightly observed that this was a chance for Pakistan to turn the challenge into opportunity. Some European diplomats chatting together also seconded the opinion. They elaborated the point that entire world was currently looking at Pakistan as it was fighting the war against terror as frontline state. Therefore, they maintained that they were looking forward to successful conclusion of the ongoing army operation in South Waziristan with full potential to usher in a new era for tourism in Pakistan. They pointed out that the post-operation reconstruction in the affected areas including Swat, Malakand, and Waziristan could be tied to the tourism activity. But it was encouraging to hear about promising future especially from the diplomats of the developed world. It is clearly a worth stressing point that the tourism promotion of the entire affected areas especially in the North Western mountainous areas should not wait till the reconstruction and rehabilitation processes. The diplomats also proposed that the areas brought back into the writ of the state should be inaugurated for aggressive tourism. It would accelerate restoration of normalcy in these regions. It could also become a great help for the internally displaced people returning to their war torn villages and towns to revive their livelihood. Aggressive marketing of tourism in the terrorism-affected areas would also serve as an added attraction for the development workers coming up not only from rest of the country but also from abroad. Ideally the tourism marketing should be integral part of the overall reconstruction and rehabilitation programme for the affected areas.