BAHAWALPUR: Off-road junkies revved up their engines and took each other on at the Desert Jeep Rally which started on Thursday in Bahawalpur Division’s Cholistani area.
Organised by the Tourism Development Corporation Pakistan (TDCP), the four-day extravaganza will continue till February 18. For the wheel spinning action to continue unabated, the provincial government has made strict security arrangements, while the home ministry enforced a ban on walking, motorcycle riding and movement of other vehicles along the route of rally.
The Bahawalpur Museum organised a four-day picture exhibition in connection with the Jeep Rally 2018 called “Bahawalpur State’s Story in Pictures” at Derawar Fort. This exhibition’s purpose was to introduce foreign tourists and jeep rally lovers to Bahawalpur state’s forgotten aspects, social services and achievements of the Nawabs.
Senator Chaudhry Saood Majeed said that Cholistan Desert Rally will be expanded from Cholistan to Gwadar and Tharparkar, making it the biggest motorsport event in three provinces. He expressed these remarks during the press briefing of the 13th Jeep Rally’s schedule.
Punjab Revenue Authority Chairman Raheel Saddiqui said the event would provide business opportunities to the local population.
TDCP Managing Director Ahmar Malik said that this time, the rally will also feature foreign drivers and Pakistani women drivers. The rally will last over four days and go through three districts including Bahawalpur, Rahim Yar Khan and Bahawalnagar. In addition, there will be a host of other programmes apart from the rally other programmes. The plans include a culture night, fireworks, camel dance and a tent village.
Last year, more than 300,000 spectators turned up and bigger numbers are expected for 2018. All arrangements have been completed and institutions, including Pakistan Army, Rangers, police, Rescue 1122, the Bahawalpur vommissioner, the Bahawalnagar and Rahim Yar Khan district administrations and the health department have been assigned responsibilities.
The Cholistan Desert Jeep Rally’s trophy was displayed and draws were taken out for the qualifying round. At this time, rally participants will become part of the cavalcade.
DPO Bahawlapur Captain (R ) Mustansir Feroz Stated in his press release that all security arrangements have been completed in regard to Jeep Rally for which District Police’s more than 800 officials will observe security duties and to control traffic a traffic plan has been constituted under the supervision of DSP Traffic. District Police, Elite Force, Dolphin Force, Punjab Constablry, Traffic Police, Special Branch, Rescue 1122, Bomb Disposal Squad and concerned departments have will observe their responsibilities while Reserve Force will remain present at Police Lines.
The DPO office will serve as a control room working under the supervision DSP Legal Shahid Iqbal. The control room will operate from February 15 to February 18 and will be active 24 hours a day.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 16th, 2018.