TIMERGARA, Feb 24: A three-day Shahi snow sports festival started at the scenic Pak-Afghan border area here on Sunday.

Former federal minister Najmuddin and operational commander Brig Zaheer Malik inaugurated the festival in the presence of a large number of sportsmen, tourists and elders of the area. Hundreds of players from different districts of Malakand division would show their talent in snow volleyball, skating, paragliding, tug of war and rugby.

Beside others Lower Dir Deputy Commissioner Mohammad Zubair, Commandant Dir Scouts Colonel Mohammad Kamran Aslam and provincial Minister for livestock Haji Hidayatullah were present on the occasion.

Addressing the inaugural function Brig Zaheer asked sportsmen and tourists to enjoy the scenic festival without fear. He said the area, including the border areas, had been made fully secured. He asked elders to educate their children and equip them with modern science and technology for their bright future.

The operational commander also invited other sports teams and tourists to come and enjoy the festival. He said youth should take part in healthy activities so that militants could not use them.

Former federal minister for Safron Najmuddin Khan appreciated the Pakistan army for arranging sports festivals in the area. He suggested the security forces should arrange such events after three or four months.

Players from Swat, Malakand and Chitral said they had no problems of security. They said they would entertain visitors by their talents.

The organisers told reporters more than 100 teams had already reached the spot while more were expected to join them by Monday (today). They said lodging and food facilities would be provided to all players.

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