Environmental activists decry Attabad’s PC hotel on Twitter

The upcoming five-star project is important for tourism, says Gilgit-Baltistan CM

Picture source: Hashoo Group

Twitter users expressed worry for the environment after renderings of a Pearl Continental (PC) hotel that would soon be constructed at Hunza’s Attabad Lake emerged on social media.

An announcement ceremony for the hotel was conducted on Friday at the Islamabad Marriot Hotel. The Hashoo Group Hospitality and Education Division Chief Operating Officer Haseeb A. Gardezi revealed that a PC hotel would soon be operational for tourists at the scenic Attabad Lake. Images on social media showed the aerial view of the hotel’s massive, multi-level building and showcased the interiors too, which appeared in line with the luxury hotel chain’s brand.

An environmental activist, Zahran opined that it was ‘foolish’ that the Gilgit-Baltistan government approved such a project and added that authorities already moved against it. Zahran said that Attabad could experience glacial disaster at any time and that such development was not suitable for the area.

Another climate activist Aamir Amjad added to Zahran’s point and said that Attabad was formed due to a natural disaster itself. Amjad referred to the accidental formation of the lake in the aftermath of a landslide in 2010. He added that commercial activities of the scale PC would undertake, were bound to create more damage.

Waste disposal from the project was a reiterated concern. Environmental sociologist Nuzhat Siddiqui wondered whether Attabad had the capacity to manage waste produced by the PC hotel. Siddiqui also raised alarm regarding the type of fuel that would be used to run the facility.

Another user wondered where the waste from the hotel would go if not into the lake itself. He also pressed on the social inequality the hotel would bring to Attabad as only the upper class would be able to access PC.

Several users connected the hotels modern design to environmental concerns as well. A user said that the concrete jungle looked alien to the scenery. He added that a more natural looking construction would have served the area better.

Another user said that the renderings looked far from sustainable. She added that Attabad was not Dubai and tourism in the area should be developed along the lines of ‘eco-tourism’ only.

The Chief Minister of Gilgit-Baltistan Khalid Khurshid said on Friday that the new hotel was an important step for tourism in the region. Khalid said the PC establishment would help fulfil Prime Minister Imran Khan’s vision to reduce Pakistan’s debt through advancement of local tourism.