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Jeep rally begins in Malam Jabba

MINGORA, Jan 26: A two-day jeep rally on Saturday began in the snow-covered mountains of Malam Jabba.

The event to be followed by a weeklong skiing competition in the third week of February has been organised to deliver a message of peace to the world and attract professional and amateur drivers and tourists from across the country.

The two kilometres long ‘Second National Snow Jeep Rally’ at Malam Jabba Resort was organised by Frontier Four-Wheel Club.

Last year, too, the club had organised the rally, the first after the elimination of militancy by security forces from Swat.

President of Frontier Four-Wheel Club Babar Khan Yousufzai told reporters on the occasion that around 35 jeeps participated in the first day event.

He said the final round of the race was scheduled for tomorrow (Sunday) with the prize distribution ceremony taking place the same day.

According to him, Kamran Afridi and Mushtaq Afridi, brothers of cricketer Shahid Afridi, participated in the rally, while Mohammad Rizwan and Mohammad Yasir showed up from Dubai to take part in the event.

He aid the event was arranged on self-help basis and that no government or private organisation had provided assistance for it.

In a message to tourists, Mr Yousufzai said peace and the government’s writ had been restored in Swat and therefore, the people from inside the country and abroad should visit the area without fear.

He urged the international community not to ignore the people of Swat, saying they needed long-term cooperation and support for their wellbeing.

Mr Yousafzai praised drivers and tourists for actively participating in the event to make it a success.

Osman Olasyar of Swat Art and Cultural Association told Dawn that the holding of such events would help promote tourism activities in Swat.

He urged the government to encourage organisers and players.

Al-Haj Zaid Khan, president of Swat Hotel Association, said sports and cultural events played pivotal role in reviving tourism industry.