PESHAWAR: The 15-day Upper Dir Sports and Culture Festival carrying 2000 male and female players in 14 different games got under way under the aegis of District Administration, District Govt and District Sports Officer Upper Dir at Upper Dir Sports Complex.
Commander 212 Brigade Upper Dir Brigadier Abbas Haider was the chief guest on this occasion. MNA Sibgatullah, District Nazim Upper Dir Sahibzada Fassih Ullah, Ex-MPA Anwar Khan and local leaders of PTI, Jamat-e-Islami were also present during the colourful opening ceremony.
The ceremony was started with the recitation of Holy Quran by Qari Shahab Khan, followed by national anthem wherein 2,000 players including players from Peshawar, Islamabad, Lahore, Faisalabad and other cities of the country took part.
This is the fourth such sports and culture festival organised by district government and district administration in collaboration with K-P Sports directorate. District Sports Officer (DSO) Dir Mukhtiar Hussain is acting as Organising Secretary. All the participating team took part in the smart March Past while the chief guest Commander 212 Brigade Upper Dir along with other guests took “Salami”.
When Brigadier Abbas Haider announced the opening of the Sports and Culture Festival pigeon, colorful balloons and balloons carrying banners inscribed with “Kashmir Bany Ga Pakistan” “Pakistan Zindabad”, “We stand with Kashmiris” “We condemned brutality of Indian Forces, “Stop genocide of innocent Kashmiris” were released in the air.
To expressed solidarity with Kashmiries in their right to self-determination, a walk was also organised with Commandant Brigadier Abbas Haider, Depty Commissioner Upper Dir Abdul Hamid, MNA Sibgatullah, Ex-MPA Anwar Khan, District Nazim Sahibzada Fassih Ullah, elders of the area, officials, players and people from walk of live took part.
“The Independence Day is special as we are standing with Kashmiris for their right of self-determination and we condemned the brutality of India forces against innocent Kashmiries,” Brigadier Abbas Haider in his speech said.
He appreciated District Nazim Sahibzada Fassih Ullah, Deputy Commissioner Upper Dir, DSO Muktiar Hussain and Directoratge of Sports KP for holding the 3rdSports and Culture Festival by involving the talented youth of Upper Dir, Upper Dir, Chitral and other adjacent areas besides welcoming the players come from other cities of the country.
He said peace has been restored to all areas and that is why opportunities are being given to the youth to come and show their hidden talent without any fear. He said the people of Upper Dir are peace loving and love their country and if India made any misadventure, the forces of Pakistan Army and the people of Pakistan would give befitting reply.
Nazim Upper Dir Sahibzada Fassih Ullah said the Festival, which is an annual feature of the Upper Dir, is carrying T20 cricket, football, volleyball, basketball, badminton, athletic, and tug of war, martial arts including taekwondo, judo, karate, wushu, snooker and hockey.
The aim and objective of the Festival is to involve the youth of Upper Dir in healthy sports and culture activities. Sahibzada Fassih Ullah said players from all across Pakistan every year participating enthusiastically in various sports, culture and traditional events part of the Festival.
He said there is no dearth of talent in the youth of Upper Dir and many players in the Martial Arts, Cricket, Football, Volleyball, Hockey and other games are now part of the these festival reached to the national and international levels.
Accompanied with DSO Mukhtiar Hussain, DN said that more than 2000 players are expected to take part in the festival. He disclosed that the qualifying rounds in different events for the local teams have already been kicked off and among them four top teams would be part of the overall Sports Festival.
The opening ceremony also carried a grand firework as well with other culture programs including national songs in connection with the ID celebration and great enthusiasm witnessed among the youth.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 18th, 2019.