GILGIT: Motorcyclists and motorists taking part in the Pakistan Motor Rally — featuring hundreds of motorbikes and vintage, classic and sports vehicles — set off on Saturday morning from the Khunjerab top, situated at an altitude of about 15,000 feet near the China-Pakistan border.
By evening, the participants of the rally had reached Gilgit city after passing through areas of Hunza and Nagar. They used the Karakoram Highway for the purpose and stopped at the Ataabad lake for a tea break.
They are scheduled to cover the 3,000-kilometre-long route of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and reach Gwadar after passing through Diamer, Naran, Kaghan, Islamabad, South Waziristan, Quetta and Karachi on the last day of this month.
They will thus pass through parts of Gilgit-Baltistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan.
Participants are scheduled to reach Gwadar on Oct 31 after covering about 3,000km
By organising the rally in collaboration with the civilian administration, the army aims to promote adventure sports, showcase the country’s tourism potential and commemorate the 70th anniversary of its independence in a befitting manner.
The Khunjerab top was decorated tastefully with Pakistan flags for the opening ceremony at which national and traditional songs were played. A large number of tourists, local people, artists, singers and civilian and military officials attended the event.
Gilgit-Baltistan’s Force Commander Major General Saqib Muhammad Malik was the chief guest on the occasion. Others who were present were GB’s chief secretary Dr Kazim Niaz and renowned mountaineers Samina Baig and Nazir Sabir, who both have scaled Mount Everest.
Talking to media personnel, Major General Malik said that enemies of Pakistan were spreading rumours about the CPCE project as well as the people of GB.
“Today all [of them] have been proved wrong; from Khunjerab top to Gwadar we are one nation. Our identity is Pakistan and we are peace lovers,” he said.
For her part, Ms Baig said that people of GB were patriotic Pakistanis. She described the day as a historic one because motorists and motorcyclists from all over Pakistan had gathered at the Khunjerab top to kick off the motor rally.
Published in Dawn, October 22nd, 2017