Gul Hamaad Farooqi
CHITRAL: With high hopes the centuries old colorful ‘Mulki Cup Polo Tournament’ kicked off in a playground of Chitral on Friday after 59 years.
The Additional Deputy Commissioner Minhasud Din and president of Polo Association Shehzada Sikandarul Mulk inaugurated the tournament and unvieled the trophy which was formally conducted by district administration in an attempt to revive the game and preserve culture of Chitral.
Scores of youngsters and elders from Chitral other districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa showed up on first day of the championship.
On this occasion, the ADC Minhasud Din said that Chitral is rich in terms of tangible cultural heritage that has given a starkly color to the life stylde of the inhabitants of the region.
The traditional and recreational activities in Chitral play an essential role in the world, said Minhas. He added the administration is showing keen interest in holding such tournaments.
He further siad that the moto of district administration for polo is, “Let other people play at other things- the king of games is still the game of kings.”
Minhas maintained that the district administration has made every possible effort to make the tournament memorable and full of fun.
22 teams from across the region participated in the 10-day long polo tournament taking place at Chitral Polo Ground.
This year the polo tournament was also added in the celebrations of Jashan-e-Chitral that has also begun in the region. After the conclusion of this tournament, The Kalash festival (Chilam Joshi) and Jashan-e-Chitral will be celebrated from 14th to 16th May in Chitral.
The Mulki Cup Tournament was celebrated in Chitral back in the time of Shujaul Mulk. A large number of locals assembled and played wrestling, tug-of-war, archery, running, hiking, horse riding, Tampook Baazi, Chat Chatoo Olaik, Anto Dek, Nast Nasek and other games. Musical shows and folk dances were also held in the same tournament.
In 1928, The Mulki Cup Polo Tournament was played for the first time between 12 teams; Shahi Qilla Polo Team, Wazir-e-Azam Polo, Chitral Scouts Polo, tehsil Mastuj Polo, tehsil Torkahu polo, tehsil Morkahu polo, tehsil Darwesh, Tehsil Latko, tehsil Chitral pOlo, Koh Polo, Aweer Polo and Ayun Polo.
However, the tournament was halted in 1963 in the aftermath of Chitral joining Pakistan, however it was revived in early 2002.