UPPER DIR: After a heavy snowfall in the last few days, over 50 jeeps took on the curvy and treacherous road in a snow jeep rally competition on Sunday and exhibited excellent skills of driving in Lowari Pass.
Syed Azaz Shah of the Islamabad 4x4 Jeep Club won the 37kms rally while Taimoor Ali of the Frontier 4x4 Jeep Club Peshawar ended up runner-up in the competition.
Five jeep clubs namely Frontier 4x4 Jeep Club, Islamabad 4x4 Jeep Club, Main Machine 4x4 Club Lahore, Chitral 4x4 Jeep Club and Afford & Adventure 4x4 Jeep Club Peshawar participated in the rally.
The rally attracted a good number of people who had to trudge through snow on foot to reach Qulandi as private cars were not allowed to go to the area. The race started from Qulandi area of Upper Dir and passed through Lowari Tunnel to Ziarat in Chitral and ended back in Qulandi.
This section of Dir-Chitral Road receives heavy snowfall and on Saturday it had accumulated many feet of snow. The road was closed by the heavy snowfall and bulldozers of army's engineering corps cleared the unpaved track of snow to make it usable for the jeep rally.
The rally presented a spectacular view as jeeps raced on the track nestled in lofty snow-clad mountains. The jeep rally is becoming a yearly event now as this was the second consecutive year the snow jeep rally was organised. General Officer Commanding Swat Major Gen. Ali Amir Awan said the jeep rally competition would be a yearly feature now and would be with more fanfare the next year.
The GOC said the rally would have a positive impact on local tourism. He said the holding of the jeep rally became possible due to the successful military operation, Zarb-e-Azb. He said militants had infested this region and organising such activities was not possible. He said the local population must be appreciated for making the jeep rally successful. He said the Dir-Chitral Road, which remains closed due to heavy snowfall, would be kept open round-the-year to facilitate Chitralis.
Other activities such as local and Pashtun dances were also held to add colour to the rally. A spectacular performance of Khattak dance was presented to warm the chill-frozen participants and crowd. Kilash dance was also exhibited apart from performance by the Frontier Corps' band.