Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif has said peace in the country was the outcome of countless sacrifices of the people and Pakistan Army.
“Your attendance in great numbers in the festival is laudable and depictive of a resilient nation,” a statement issued by the military’s media wing, ISPR, quoted General Raheel as saying during the Shandur Polo Festival in Chitral district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P).
The thrilling polo festival, which dates back to 1936, is not only enjoyed by locals, but also inland and foreign visitors.
“The Shandur Festival is not only a good omen for the growth of national and international tourism in the country but it is also a clear indication for terrorists that the Pakistani nation will continue its traditions alive without any fear,” the army chief said in his address to participants of the annual festival.
The COAS said the ongoing military operation Zarb-e-Azb will continue across the country for the lasting peace and stability.
“The success of this operation, however, depends on the nation’s support and the leading role of the country’s youth.”
General Raheel reiterated terrorists and their facilitators are being chased out across the country and Pakistan will soon be recognised for its better education facilities, peace and progress in the world.
The army chief also lauded the role of different institutions of the Pakistan Army and local government for facilitating the people of G-B and Chitral by providing rescue and relief activities in the region in wake of natural disasters.
The festival, now a global spectacle, attracts thousands of local and foreign tourists and is traditionally played between the teams of Gilgit and Chitral from July 7 to July 9.
Though it is an annual event, it was cancelled last year due to floods that triggered infrastructural damage.
In 2014, players from G-B refused to participate due to differences with the people of Chitral over the ownership of the Shandur Pass.
In 2016, there was a possibility of conflict as well. However, the Frontier Corps made efforts to make the event possible.