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Thal Jeep Rally, festival kick off with vibrant, cultural event

Thal Jeep Rally, festival kick off with vibrant, cultural event

LAYYAH:The fifth annual Thal Jeep Rally and a festival were inaugurated on Friday with a flag-hoisting ceremony by Deputy Commissioner (DC) Azfar Zia and District Police Officer (DPO) Syed Nadeem Abbas Shah.

The district’s Choubara tehsil is hosting the three-day rally that will be participated by 85 racers, including two women. The mega event also features a Thal festival.

In the four previous editions of the rally, the Choubara desert was the mid-point where racers stopped for a few minutes to check their vehicles and drove back to the starting point of Head Muhammadwala in Muzaffargarh district. But this year, the desert will be the finishing point of the rally that will start from Muzaffargarh for which a 106-kilometre-long track has been prepared. DC Zia declared Nov 21 (today) as a local holiday.

Qualifying rounds in three categories held; final races today

At the flag-hoisting ceremony, contingents of students from private schools marched and saluted the national flag. Comedy skits and the local jhoomar dance were also performed.

Various cultural activities, sports competitions, tent-pegging and horse and camel dances will be performed at the three-day festival. Government and private institutions have displayed the colourful culture of the desert at their stalls. The district government and the police have made foolproof security arrangements for the event. A food street has also been established.

MUZAFFARGARH: On the first day of the jeep rally, qualifying rounds in three categories were held here and the tagging and registration process completed.Over 80 vehicles were registered for the rally.

Asif Fazal Chaudhry won the qualifying round in the prepared category by reaching the finish line in a minute and 31 seconds. Raza Saeed covered the distance in one minute and 37 seconds and stood second.

In the stock category, Khawaja Taimur covered the distance in one minute and 35 seconds and stood first, while Amir Magsi secured the second position by finishing in one minute and 37 seconds.

In the women’s category, Salma Khan stood first by covering the distance in one minute and 44 seconds.

This time, Mir Nadir Magsi and Roni Patel were not participating in the race due to coronavirus.

Talking to the media, Salma Khan said it was a great moment for them as last year two women had participated, while the number was half a dozen this time. Final race in the women’s category will be held on Saturday.

Additional Deputy Commissioner Imran Shams told the media that it was a great honour for the district where such an international competition was being held. This time, the track had been reduced from 180 kilometres to 105km due Covid-19 and security arrangements had been chalked out by DPO Hassan Iqbal.

Mr Shams further said that 14 checkposts had been established and equipped with police and Rescue 1122 personnel and ambulances.

Kot Addu Assistant Commissioner Dr Fiaz Ahmad said such activities would promote the district and cultural values of the region at the international level.

Last year, Nadir Magsi had won the race.

Published in Dawn, November 21st, 2020

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