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CARBS Business Review

Unveiling the Hidden Treasures of Pakistan's Salt Range

Mian Muhammad Ashraf

29 May, 2023

Unveiling the Hidden Treasures of Pakistan's Salt Range

Located in northern Punjab, the Salt Range offers a unique tourist destination in Pakistan. stretching about 170 kilometers from the Jhelum River in the east to Kalabagh, it features a well-developed network of roads and infrastructure, including railways, electricity, water, and labor. Traveling from Islamabad Capital territory to Kallar Kahar Lake via the highway, Grand Trunk Road, takes approximately 2 hours.

 

From 1808 to 1815, an English diplomat Mr. Elphinston named the area the ‘Salt Range’ after observing salt production during his travels there. He also dubbed it the “Field Museum of Geology” due to its exceptional exposure of a more or less complete and strategically significant geological sequence.

 

The Salt Range houses a wide range of fossils, including trilobites, brachiopods, corals, walking whales, reptiles, and more, all of which are remarkably preserved. These fossils, which are in the public domain, hold value for both research and commerce.

 

Careful consideration should be given to the construction of a natural history museum or a recreational facility in the Salt Range. This necessitates consultation with international experts supported by the UNDP/World Tourism Organization and relevant geological disciplines. Furthermore, it is crucial to promote the Salt Range as an international cultural heritage site from a paleontological standpoint and attract technical and financial sponsors by declaring it an open-air geological museum for earth scientists.

 

The Salt Range offers an abundant supply of rock salt and limestone, which can be mined to extract other minerals like coal, dolomite, fireclays, gypsum/anhydrite, and laterite/bauxite. These minerals find applications in various industries. Alongside contemporary coal mines, the rock salt mines at Khewra, Warcha, and Kalabagh provide educational and recreational advantages of their own.

 

In May 326 BC, Alexander the Great crossed the Salt Range and arrived in Girjak (modern-day Jalalpur Sharif). He stayed there for nearly two months before engaging in battle with Raja Porus and crossing the Jhelum River. The Muslim scientist Al-Baruni established laboratories in the Salt Range to measure the earth’s center of gravity and circumference.

 

Shahenshah Babar wrote about his experiences at Kallar Kahar Lake and the natural splendor of the area. The Federal Ministry of Culture must take further steps in this regard.

 

Trekking tourism could be developed to explore fossils in various gorges of the Salt Range, traverse Alexander the Great’s trails. Similarly camping at picturesque locations of Salt Range lakes such as Nammal Lake and Kallar Kahar Lake offer many promising opportunities. Another opportunity is construction of hospitals and restaurants in the Khewra Salt Mines for the purpose of treating ailments like asthma, similar to the practices in Poland’s rock salt mines.

Salt Range, therefore, offer a multiple opportunities to attract both domestic and international investments, with some policy decisions and initiatives by the provincial and federals governments.

mian ashraf

Mian Muhammad Ashraf

Mian Muhammad Ashraf is a lecturer at Department of Management & Administrative Sciences, University of Narowal. He is also a PhD scholar at Superior University having more then 25 scholarly publication to his credit.

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