The 3-day long Shandur Polo Festival concludes at the world’s highest polo ground on the border between Chitral and Gilgit-Baltistan. Pakistan Army Chief General Raheel Sharif attends the event along with Chief Minister of Gilgit-Baltistan Hafiz Hafeez Ur Rehman among many other officials from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Gilgit-Baltistan. Chitral-A beat Gilgit-A by 10-5 in the final. Prizes were distributed among the winners by COAS.
Talking to the audience after the match, General Raheel Sharif said:
“I’m myself a good player of polo, but the way you play is amazing, your expertise and skills in this game are unprecedented,”
He congratulated Pakistan army for a successful anti-terrorism campaign across the country. He added:
“this peaceful atmosphere is a result of sacrifices rendered by the army and people. This journey of success will continue to support of masses.”
Gilgit-Baltistan had boycotted the Shandur Polo Festival initially but later successful talks were held to organize the event with mutual ownership.
The COAS also appreciated the efforts being made by tourism departments of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Gilgit-Baltistan in promotion of the game and providing a safe and peaceful environment for people to enjoy polo.
Paragliding, jumping, horse dances, tug of war, cultural music and folk dances were also held during the 3-day festival.
Thousands of Pakistan and international tourists enjoyed the festival alongside the locals.
The polo festival is organized every year but Gilgit-Baltistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa continue their own efforts to take complete ownership of both Shandur region and the festival. The region has been in a disputed situation for decades as both sides claim their ownership of the land.
The Shandur Polo Festival was first played in 1935.