LANDI KOTAL: The entertainment-starved and militancy-affected people of Khyber Agency were provided with a rare opportunity on Sunday when the political administration arranged for the first time a jeep rally.
At least 80 drivers took part in the rally. Frontier 4×4 Jeep Association also collaborated with the administration in holding the event.
Participants of the rally first gathered at Torkham border in the morning for a ‘show run’ up to the historic Bab-i-Khyber in Jamrud. The border crossing remained closed for an hour prior to the start of the rally.
Personnel of Khasadar, Levies and FC were deployed along the border to provide security to the participants of the rally and keep the incoming and returning Afghans at a distance. The ‘show run’ started at around 10am.
Cheerful schoolchildren and local people, gathered at both sides of Peshawar-Torkham Highway, showered rose petals on the participants of the rally. The sight at Bab-i-Khyber was no different as a huge crowed welcomed the rally amid drum beatings and Khattak dance performed by Swat Scouts.
Participants of the rally were then taken to Besai Baba Ghar in Bara from where they embarked upon a 40-km run, passing through Shalobar, Malakdinkhel, Qambarkhel and Sipah areas of Bara.
Unlike Torkham, Landi Kotal and Jamrud where local residents were provided with opportunity to not only witness the rally but to express their jubilations, local administration and security forces had imposed restrictions on residents of the area to remain indoors.
The political administration had also invited some local singers and TV actors to entertain a crowd gathered at the Besai Baba Ghar.
Speaking on the occasion, Political Agent Khalid Mehmud said that the purpose of organising the rally was to send a message to the outside world that Fata in general and Khyber Agency in particular was safe for holding such activities.
“It is a milestone in the history of Khyber Agency that we are able to have opened all the no-go areas and jeeps are now freely running on our roads,” he said.
At the conclusion of the rally, Capt Babar Khan was declared the winner of the 1st Khyber Jeep Rally while Shakeel Burki and Shah Jee Khan were declared second and third respectively.