BAHAWALPUR: The participants in the 19th Cholistan jeep rally were given a send-off at Bahawalpur on Wednesday, while they were accorded a warm welcome by the residents of towns and villages on their way to the event’s venue near the historic Derawar Fort.

The drivers participating in the rally on its second day left Bahawalpur in carvans and groups for the desert area. A large number of people, including their friends, fans and government officials gathered to give them a send-off.

On their way to the rally’s venue they were warmly greeted by people at Yazman and other localities along the road as they were excited to see the jeeps, SUVs and other vehicles.

According to eyewitnesses, locals lined up along both sides of the roads at Islami Colony, near Bini shell godowns, Yazman, 12-Bc and 13-BC villages, Kandiwala Pull and other localities to greet the the drivers.

They said that there was a huge crowd of rally enthusiasts at Yazman city which is considered threshold of Cholistan desert.

Because of the availability of the shuttle bus service to reach the rally venue, a large number of spectators had arrived at Derawar Fort even before arrival of the participating drivers. The shuttle service has been provided by private transport owners on the orders of Divisional Commissioner Dr Ehtasham Anwar Mahar. The shuttle service is available at Bahawalpur General Bus Stand.

After reaching the rally venue, the drivers appeared for medical check-up and registration processes, while their vehicles were technically examined by the relevant officials.

Later, they attended a conference and participated in the draws for the qualifying round to be held on Feb 22.

According to the rally organisers, all arrangements for the mega sports event had been completed.

Otherwise a desolated area, the Cholistan desert has become abuzz with activity because of the jeep rally, where a huge tent village has been set up.

Meanwhile, the Punjab Arts Council (PAC), Bahawalpur, organised an exhibition of calligraphy and paintings entitled “Rang-e-Bahawalpur” in connection with the jeep rally.

It was inaugurated by arts council’s Board of Management chairman Prof Dr Aslam Adeeb and Director Sajjad Hussain. The exhibition will continue till the conclusion of jeep rally on Feb 25.

Similarly, at the Government Sadiq College Women University (GSCWU) the students made paintings showing different scenes and phases of the jeep rally. VC Prof Dr Ashfaq Mahmood Qureshi and Assistant Commissioner Adeal Khan gave away prizes and shields to the winners. Different sports events and competitions were also held at the university.

Published in Dawn, February 22nd, 2024

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