PESHAWAR: Like every year this time too Chitral clinched the trophy after defeating Gilgit-Baltistan by 10-5 in a one-sided affair final of the Shandur Polo Festival played at world highest polo ground in Shandur valley.
Inspector General of Frontier Corps Major General Waseem Ashraf was the chief guest on this occasion. Deputy Speaker Gilgit-Baltistan Assembly Jaffar Ullah, Minister for Tourism Gilgit-Baltistan Fida Ullah, Ambassadors of various countries in Pakistan, a good number of local and foreign tourists, yesteryears polo players and officials of Tourism Corporation KP were also present and witnessed the one-sided final.
There were tight security measures taken in and around the Polo festival by the Chitral scouts and police for the smooth conduct of the King Games participating teams from Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral. Right from the outset of the final match Chitral team dominated the proceedings and scored one after another by winning the final 10-5. Chitral after taking lead, lost an edge over the final, giving due chance to Gilgit-Baltistan team to strike back and thus it succeeded in reducing the margin by scoring five goals in the last session of the final before conceding 10 goals.
Besides the polo matches, the festival, an annual feature of the TCKP calendar costing Rs 40 million wherein local teams from Chitral and Gigit-Baltistan took part and among them, like every year Chitral won the battle in a one-sided affair.
A large number of foreign and domestic tourists and visitors experienced the battle between the true warriors on the world’s highest polo ground in Shandur. The polo teams of Chitral, Gilgit, Laspur and Ghizer participated in the “game of kings” and the “king of games”.
The polo game has now got international fame and every year thousands of visitors and tourists from across the world come to Chitral to watch the grand gala. The local cultures including music and Chitral and Gilgit-Baltistan’s performing art were also displayed. A tent village had been set up for providing boarding and lodging facilities to both foreign and domestic tourists.
This time the polo ground had been renovated while there were numbers of other programs to showcase the work of local artisans and cultural nights during the festival. The district government of Chitral, police, army and other stakeholders had assured full cooperation in making the event a success.
The tourists also enjoyed cultural and music evenings while fireworks were arranged at night time. Paragliding and traditional dances of Chitral and Gilgit-Baltistan were also performed alongside the polo event.
The paratroopers of SSG also have a free fall from the 10,000 feet beside demonstration of paragliding which enthralled the sitting spectators.
The Shandur annual festival brings a great sense of contentment to the people of these districts. The festival is often embellished with cultural orientations of both the teams that include their cultural dances, paragliding and folk music.
Chitral is the most peaceful region and it attracts thousands of domestic and international tourists annually, especially during the Shandur and Kalash festivals.
This year, the number of foreign and domestic tourists as compared to the previous years turned up as peace has been restored in the province and the visitors can now visit any scenic place in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa without acquiring non-objection certificate (NOC).
At the end of the final, the chief guest Major General Waseem Ashraf gave away trophies and cash prizes to the winners and runners-up team. The winners were awarded Rs 100,000 and the runners-up got Rs 90,000.