Bahawalpur, a relatively backward district of Southern Punjab, has always been a significant part of the sub continent. Before merging into Pakistan, Bahawalpur had its own identity as an independent state with a rich cultural and historical background. Bahawalpur shares a huge desert with India, the Indian part is the famous Rajhistan Desert and the Pakistan side is known as Chulistan Desert. Chulistan covers the area of around 26,300 square kilometer and is vital for the country due to its strategic location. Chulistan is unique in its culture, language, traditions, pottery and art; the locals called it Rohi and the people of the land are known as Rohila’s. Historically known as the city of palaces Bahawalpur is a popular tourist attraction, so is chulistan region which is very famous for its castle.
Cholistan Desert Jeep Rally is the icing on the cake; The event was first introduced in 2006, by the Tourism Development Corporation of Pakistan. The event is two nights and three days long which is usually organized in the month of February, every year.
Desert Jeep Rally is the biggest motor-sport event of Pakistan. It has grown into a national event in the last few yerar and is slowly rising to be the mega event of the region. Punjab Government, with the help of PTDC (Pakistan tourism development corporation), is putting its maximum efforts, to transform it into an ‘international event’.
This year, the 12th Jeep Rally started on 9th of February 2017. According to the event managers 114 drivers, including 3 female drivers took part in the Jeep Rally. The first day of event was a stock category race, wherein the registered jeeps were given the task to complete the 210km track, with a 20-minutes break for each driver.
During the break the jeeps were refueled, inspected and the vehicles with technical problems stood disqualified. Second day was a qualifying round and the third and final day was a concluding round which was won by Mir Nadir Ali Khan Magsi, who completed 253km long track in 2 hours and 26 minutes. Rohni Patel was declared as The First Runner-Up by completing the same track in 2 hours and 30 minutes.
Special security was arranged to make the event safe as drivers from Kenya, Thailand and Iran also participated in the rally. The Prize-Winning event was arranged at the historical Fort of Derawar. Heavy fireworks were arranged on the fort and Famous Singer Rahat Fateh Ali Khan along with many other artists were invited to perform at the Folk Night Music Ceremony. Many more activities, like paragliding, hot air balloon rides, camel rides, traditional camel show and a Kabaddi match amongst the local wrestlers were also arranged to catch the attraction of spectators.
By Zahra Kazmi