Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) has proposed new dates to the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) government for the Shandur polo festival.
“We have proposed August 20, 21 and 22 to K-P,” said Ghizer Deputy Commissioner Sibtain Ahmed on Friday. We hope the event takes place on the proposed dates, he added.
The K-P government had earlier postponed the festival on G-B’s request because a main road in Sosat had submerged after rains in June. The festival was initially scheduled from July 3 to 5.
The submersion not only suspended traffic between G-B and Chitral, but also stranded more than 20,000 people in the valley for more than a month. In July last year, a massive landslide swept away a portion of the same road, stranding people returning from the Shandur polo tournament. They were stuck for days until the government finally repaired the road.
“The road is currently open for light vehicles, but it will be fully repaired before the tournament starts,” Ahmed said.
Following the restoration of traffic, the stranded villagers were also delivered food and medicine as compensation for the shortage that occurred during the blockage.
Many people set camp at the polo ground. The festival also includes folk music and dances and attracts nearly 10,000 people every year, including celebrities and public figures.
Teams from G-B and Chitral have played polo since the early 20th century in Shandur Top, the highest polo ground in the world, which lies at 3,700 meters.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 20th, 2013.
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