Malam Jabba

Malam Jabba Ski Resort Shuts Down After Controversial PHC Order

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The management of the Malam Jabba ski resort shut it down on Saturday, provoking outrage from civil society and political activists.

The management of the Malam Jabba ski resort shut it down on Saturday, provoking outrage from civil society and political activists.

Syed Zulfiqar Bukhari, the Special Assistant to the Prime Minister

Syed Zulfiqar Bukhari, the Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Overseas Pakistanis, shared the news on Twitter. He wrote, “Unfortunate to see one of our best resorts close down at the peak of tourism season. This upsets many people’s plans just days away from #Ramzan.. the last thing Pakistan’s booming tourism industry needs right now is disruptiveness.”

The Samson Group of Companies, which owns the resort’s lease, said in a news release that the Peshawar High Court’s Mingora Bench had declared the ski resort entry fee unlawful in an interim order and stopped its collection, making it impossible for it to continue with activities such as chairlift, zip line, and skiing, as well as pay salaries and benefits, without the income produced by the fee.

“We have no option but to close the resort till the company can decide on an alternative viable solution to run this business or a different outcome of the court proceedings. We regret any inconvenience to our patrons,” the group stated.

The ski resort’s twitter page also broke this news in these words,

“Due to the recent interim Order of the honorable Peshawar High Court Mingora Bench, Malam Jabba Ski Resort has had to take the difficult decision of closure of the Resort as it is no longer possible to run the Resort profitably.”

The resort directly employed over 500 people, according to the leaseholder, and indirectly benefited thousands of people, including locals and others involved in food, building, hardware, and steel products, transportation, carpentry, marketing, and printing. It stated that Clause 18 of the lease agreement with the government expressly authorized it to charge a resort entry fee.

The Samson Group of Companies stated that it had invested about Rs300 crore at the government’s request, and that the resort’s business model would not be economically viable if such a fee was not paid. The Peshawar High Court, Mingora Bench (Darul Qaza), Swat, declared on April 1 that the collection of the ski resort entry fee will be halted until the next hearing on April 21, 2021, since no lawful authority for it had been found.

Ihsan Ali, a Mingora-based civil society member, believes the government and Samson Group of Companies should resolve the issue immediately because the closure of the cable car, zipline, and other leisure activities will have a negative impact on tourism. MPA Azizullah Gran slammed the development, claiming that “some elements” wanted to harm Swat’s tourist industry.

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