GILGIT: Federal Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan Chaudhry Barjees Tahir inaugurated the four-day car rally in Sarfaranga , one of the highest cold deserts in the world located in Shigar district of Gilgit-Baltistan, last week.
Over 120 drivers, including national and foreigners took part in one of the most grueling treks in the world – the Sarfaranga plain. Cultural, musical and traditional sporting events were also held. A polo match and a cultural show were presented before the start of the cold desert rally in Skardu.
That was the first time a car rally was organised in the coldest desert by the GB government in collaboration with private tourism and travel companies.
GB deputy director information Nadeem Nasir told media persons that main purpose of organising the event was to attract foreign and national tourists to the areas to promote tourism.
A tent village was erected near Sarfaranga desert to provide accommodation facilities to the participants.
Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly Speaker Fida Mohammad Nashad, GB Senior Minister Akbar Taban, members of GB assembly and GB Council and other officials were present at the inaugural ceremony.
The federal minister also visited the tent village and inspected the arrangements. Speaking to media; Mr. Tahir said the government would take all possible measures to promote tourism in Gilgit-Baltistan. He said the mega event would be helpful in highlighting the areas having immense tourism potential. He pointed out that this year over one million tourists visited Gilgit-Baltistan.
Waqar Ali khan, the focal person for arranging the rally, told that Sarfaranga is a unique cold desert.
Arranging an international event has presented soft image of the country and put on the map of tourist destination, he said.
Moreover, the cold desert rally also gave a chance to show the cultural diversity of G-B and boost tourism industry in the region for economic benefit of the mountain communities, he added.
The final round of the cold desert jeep rally was held at Sarfaranga area of Shigar district. A category driver Babar Khan won the 30-kilometre race, covering the distance in 18 minutes and 25 seconds. Qadir Nawaz and Aamir Magsi secured second and third positions, respectively.