ISLAMABAD – The development of scenic mountainous hill station ‘Sheikh Badin ‘located in the North of Dera Ismail Khan and west of Lakki Marwat districts would further boost tourism and financially empower local communities in southern parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Provincial Minister for Local Government, Election and Rural Development Faisal Amin Khan Gandapur told newsmen that Shaikh Badin National Park road had been connected to Islamabad (Hakla)-Dera Ismail Khan Motorway Western route of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
He said that work was in progress on the road project to Shaikh Badin National Park. He said that Shaikh Badin was a national park and had also been notified as a heritage site. “Shaikh Badin has 100 plant/animal species, referred to as an ‘ecological island’ by experts. The hill destination would be preserved under protected areas initiative,” he maintained. He said that British Heritage buildings would be rehabilited in its original form at Shaikh Badin for adaptive re-use as restaurants, guest houses etc shortly.
The minister said Olive Tree from Mount of Olives Jerusalem, Tree with a million nails and wilderness mostly unexplored awaits all. Dr Danish Bettani of Peshawar University said that the hill station is situated at a height of 4,516 feet where occasional snowfall is recorded in the months of January and February. The composition of the mountain is mainly rock and minerals which holds little to no water reserves. The village is sustained by rainwater gathered in 7-8 pools, out of which are not always intact and need regular repairs. The population is composed of roughly 50 households.
The main source of income for the villagers is livestock and business.
Recently, with the interest of the provincial and federal governments, there have been some efforts to promote tourism and the hill station has been declared a National Park to preserve the natural flora and fauna and historical artifacts.
Around 10 tourist huts have been constructed at the main village site and electricity provided to the village.
The name Sheikh Badin originates from name of the Sufi saint Sheikh Baha-u-Din Shah, locally famous as ‘Jando Neko’ who is buried at the main cemetery of the village.
The local community claimed that ‘Jando Neko’ was a descendant of Sufi Saint Sheikh Abdul Qadir Gillani and came to live here circa 1600 AD in commemoration of his ancestor’s recluse on the hill.
An annual religious fair, the “Sadra”, is held by the devotees of the Syed Tribe in the month of April. Devotees from the nearby districts climb the hill and present gifts to the locals and make recitations and prayers on the graves.
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