GILGIT (ET): Spectators flocked to stadiums in Diamer Valley to attend a sport gala being held for the first time since an operation was launched against militants.
Sporting events were cancelled following terror attacks on foreign trekkers at a base camp in Nanga Parbat in May this year, and the subsequent killing of three security officials, who were investigating the incident, a month later. Following this, a crackdown was launched by security forces, who had advised people to avoid large public gathering and stay indoors.
Games were held simultaneously on Thursday in Darel, Tangir and Chilas town. These included cricket, football and polo matches. .
G-B force commander Hafiz Masroor Ahmed and chief secretary Younus Dagha were among those who attended. They also distributed prizes among the winners.
“This was to tell the world that we are not terrorists and we do not support them,” said Inayaullah, an elder who also helped organise the event. “Incidents, particularly the killing of tourists, earned the valley a bad name and now we want to compensate for that.”
The games were a mood changer for many residents who had seen nothing but the police and security forces conducting raids and making arrests in the last few months.
“It was such a pleasant day today,” said said Mohammad Qasim, a resident of Chilas.
“There were players in uniforms instead of the police.”
Dagha also thoroughly enjoyed the events. “It was really a memorable occasion and people are so friendly,” he said.