|Shandur Polo Festival Kicked Off Today (Thursday/July 7)|
The annual Shandur polo festival kicked off today which has attracted large number of tourists after many years of tourism slump due to security concerns in the whole region.
Syed Mehdi Shah, Chief Minister of Gilgit-Baltistan, inaugurated the event while Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani would be chief guest at the concluding session.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Barrister Masood Kausar, Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain and Sports Minister Syed Aqil Shah besides other ministers and lawmakers would also attend the event.
Chief Minister Ameer Haider Khan Hoti on behalf of TCKP and people of the province had already invited the newly-wed royal couple, Prince William and Princess Kate Middleton, to watch the final of the polo tournament.
Large number of local tourists mostly from down country (Punjab and Sindh), besides local polo fans are heading for the hot spot on the cool plateau at 12000 ft above sea level where traditional rivals Gilgit and Chitral will match their horse and man skill in a three day trial of Istor Ghal (polo) competitition. Other side shows like para gliding, tug of war, cultural shows etc have also been added to keep the visitors entertained.
For the first time Gilgit has been given rights over sharing arrangements of the festival and CM GB is scheduled to inaugurate the festival today. Though no official announcement has been made on the who will be the chief guest on the final day, but it is speculated that either the President or the PM would attend the closing day ceremony on Saturday.