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Gilgit-Baltistan govt. boycotts Shandur festival due to territorial dispute

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Gilgit (Pakistan) : The Gilgit-Baltistan government has decided to boycott the three-day Shandur polo festival over lingering territorial dispute and failing to reach consensus over jointly organizing the event with the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government.

They have instead decided to organise separately a three-day Shandur polo festival.

The festival is scheduled to start from July 22 on the world’s highest polo ground, Shandur, located at 12,000 feet above the sea level.

The Gilgit-Baltistan government had also boycotted the event last year and in 2011 as it accused the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government of monopolising the sport.

Though a meeting was held in Islamabad between GB and KP representatives to work out an amicable solution to organise the festival, the dialogue ended without consensus.

Meanwhile, lawmaker Fida Khan responding to a question regarding GB’s right over Shandur territory said that Shandur was a part of Gilgit-Baltistan, but KP administration had illegally and unconstitutionally occupied it.

“KP administration is deliberately escalating tension by illegally occupying the territory,” Dawn quoted him as saying.

Khan added both sides would suffer if the tension continued.

He further said that the Gilgit-Baltistan government had given the territory to Chitral people for cattle grazing on a temporary basis.

He demanded amicable solution from the federal government on the matter. (ANI)

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