Souped up jeeps bring Thal desert to life

Rally was planned in under-developed districts to generate economic activity.

Our Correspondent November 20, 2017
Vehicles taking part in jeep rally. PHOTOS: INP/APP

LAYYAH: The jeep rally in the Thal desert ended on Sunday with Sahibzada Sultan, a former champion of the famous Cholistan jeep rally, clinching first position.

Second position was grabbed by Nadir Magsi while Rooni Patel secured the third position.The jeep rally was inaugurated on November 17 (Friday) by Punjab  Minister Mahar Ijaz Ahmad.

The racing route was situated on 176 kilometres long track between Layyah and Muzaffargarh. At least 12 check posts were set up on the route of the track for refuelling and rechecking purposes.

The distance of three kilometres of the final round was covered in 1 minute 37 seconds by Sahibzada Sultan, 1 minute 38 seconds by Nadir Magsi and 1 minute 39 seconds by Rooni Patel. Female racers also participated in the jeep rally. Among the females Suchna Patel stood first.

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On the occasion, pigeons were freed in the air as a gesture of freedom. Students of GC University Layyah Campus dressed in traditional dresses of four provinces also displayed performances.

Foolproof security arrangements were made on the occasion, while the concluding ceremony was organised at Faisal Stadium, Muzaffargarh.

At least 80 jeep racers from various cities of Pakistan took part in the rally in the qualifying round. The track of final round was three kilometres long. Four different categories of drivers participated in the final day rally.

In the second round of stalk category competition, 33 cars participated. In this competition, Asif Afzal and Tushna Patel were declared winners.

While speaking to The Express Tribune, Sahibzada Sultan said that the tack was the most challenging one of his career.  He suggested that foreign jeep drivers should also participate in the event.

Nadir Magsi told The Express Tribune, “There is no chance of any mistake on this track.”

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Tushna Patel said that sensible driving was needed more than the enthusiasm on this sandy track.

Layyah Deputy Commissioner Syed Wajid Ali Shah said that the event was more successful and colourful than the one held last year.

He said that all necessary arrangements were made to make Thal Jeep Rally a successful event. He said that the main objective of the event was to bring the people of all four provinces closer and to end hostilities.

The rally was planned in under-developed and vulnerable districts of the province to generate economic activities and help promote the local culture of Punjab.

Apart from the jeep rally, the Layyah district government also organised a series of events, including local cultural performances and sports competitions. Over 50 teams were in the running for the camel race and volleyball. A number of food stalls were set up to entertain participants near the race track.

Members of national and provincial assemblies, officials of the district administration and a large number of students from schools and colleges attended the event.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 20th, 2017.


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