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GILGIT: Gilgit-Baltistan Tourism Minister Fida Khan on Saturday announced that the three-day Shandur Polo Festival would be held from July 21 to 23 at the world’s highest polo ground.

Matches between archrivals Gilgit and Chitral teams are considered the major attraction of the event held at Shandur, located at 12,000 feet above the sea level.

Fida Khan said thousands of national and international tourists were expected to attend the event.

Talking to mediapersons here on Saturday, the tourism minister said all arrangements had been made for the event.

The GB government has formed special committee headed by GBLA Deputy Speaker Jaffarullah Khan to look after the arrangements for polo festival.

Replying a question, he said Shandur event would be organised jointly by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and GB governments. The festival would further cement relationships between KP and GB people, he said, adding GB did not want to create controversy about organising the event.

The Shandur area has remained disputed between GB and KP. In 2012, the GB had called back its polo team to lodge a protest against the province’s control over the area, and accusing the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government of monopolising the event.

However, from last year, it had been decided that KP and GB governments would jointly organise the event.

The GB tourism minister said till resolutions of the disputed territory between KP and GB, the event would be organised jointly.

Fida Khan said the event not only promoted local culture and tradition but also attracted foreign and national tourists in droves.

He said that people of Chitral in KP and Ghizer in GB had blood relations, so the event went a long way in promoting common culture, traditions and language.

Meanwhile, the GB fisheries department has imposed ban angling of local fish. The ban has been imposed keeping in view of breeding season of ‘Desi’ fish.

It will remain in force by August 15, this year.

The department has also prohibited marketing and selling of the fish in local market.

Published in Dawn, June 18th, 2017

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