LARKANA:Since last two months, PIA, the national carrier, has stopped all flights to World Heritage monuments of Mohenjo Daro due to which foreign tourists who visit these historical ruins have reduced and most of them are facing acute difficulties as they reach at the site via Sukkur wasting their precious time.
Mohenjo Daro airport was established during British era in 1922 and was inaugurated by renowned excavator and archaeologist Sir John Marshal when he excavated and discovered the historical monuments. Later the airport was expanded and upgraded by first elected Prime Minister of Pakistan Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto who was well aware of the global importance of the ancient cultural ruins of Indus civilization.
After the end of recent PPP government at the Center in 2013 and even during its own tenure no significant development was carried out and since then this airport is constantly neglected by the Civil Aviation Authority, PIA and other relevant authorities at the federal level as it has not been maintained resulting loss of tourist visits.
UNESCO declared the monuments as World Heritage site in 70s after which this airport was granted international status to facilitate tourists and other interested people who are fond of visiting such historical places started visiting the site which included students, teachers, archaeologists, researchers and so forth. Now the visitors have to fly to Sukkur and then come back to Mohenjo Daro by road. Presently even local people including businessmen who want to travel through PIA to various destinations in the country have also to go to Sukkur and catch relevant flight which also kills their precious time.
In this connection, President, Larkana Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Abdul Ghaffar Shaikh, told this scribe on Tuesday that he had written a letter to the PIA CEO Air Marshall Arshad Malik in which he had pointed out that cancelling flights to Mohenjo Daro amounts to injustice with the business community and general public as 5000-year old World Heritage site of Mohenjo Daro is known internationally which cannot be denied as many foreigners also visit this historical place and according to relevant authorities approximately two million people visit this site annually which shows the importance of flights to this destination.
He said flight schedule issued in December 2018 had no mention of PIA flights to Mohenjo Daro till March 2019. Shaikh said Prime Minister Imran Khan wanted to encourage tourism to earn foreign exchange but it showed that PIA policy was negating his genuine efforts. He said previously flights were diverted to Mohenjo Daro from Karachi due to bad weather conditions which attracted visitors in large numbers.
He said CEO made a commitment that he will revise the schedule but it is yet be honoured. He demanded of the Prime Minister and other relevant higher authorities to take notice of the issue and order launching of flights without loss of further time.