More countries to be invited next year for Int’l Tour De Khunjrab: CM Gilgit Baltistan

Chief Minister Gilgit-Baltistan Hafiz Hafeez Ur Rehman Thursday said that cyclists from around the world will be invited next year to participate in the International Tour deKhunjrab-2019 Road Cycle Race in Gilgit-Baltistan.

Talking in an exclusive chat with APP during historical Shanti-Khoi� Cap Day Festival held in connection with International Tour de Khunjrab-2018 Road Cycle Race starting from Friday (May 11) at 11.00 a.m, Chief Minister Gilgit-Baltistan Hafiz Hafeez Ur Rehman express his confidence that the Race would give a message of peace to the rest of the world and now cyclists from Afghanistan, Switzerland, Pakistani origin Australian Cyclist Ismail besides top cyclists from across Pakistan are competing this year but from next year cyclists from around the world would be invited to participate.

At one way it would help us in promoting healthy activities and on the other people would see true picture of scenic G-B which could promote local and international tourism.

He said that the race would prove a beacon of light and would bring due opportunities to the youth of G-B.

He said the youth of GB is full of talent and if provide due opportunities like the International Race with international cyclists are here, they could learn more and help us to motivate them for the good.

We are very much interest to introduce this new venue to the world cyclists, CM Rehman said while replying to a question. The Race, he said, also promote and highlight to the world the new tourism potential we have as far as exploring tourism of G-B is concerned.

Chief Minister G-B Hafiz Hafeez Ur Rehman welcome all the cyclists with school children displayed a smart PT show. Both the Chief Minister G-B and newly appointed Chief Secretary Babar Hayat Tarar exchanged their Caps on Cap Day (Shanti-Khoi) Festival. The Chief Minister also distributed traditional G-B Caps (Topi Shonti) among all the participating cyclists, officials and other guests.

Soon after the distribution of Caps on Cap Day Festival, the Chief Minister Hafiz Hafeez Ur Rehman led all the cyclists by himself rides on sports bi-cycle and went through main circular road for 2-km while people were standing on both sides of the road formally welcoming all the international cyclists.

People across Gilgit-Baltistan were also there with their traditional headgear of a white woolen cap with a feather in it to mark the first ever Cap Day.

The region’s government had already made announcement to observe the event in connection with the International Cycle Race. We have decided to introduce our culture to the people living outside G-B and to foreign visitors, CM Rehman said. This is our identity and all government officials have put on the traditional cap on this day every year, Rehman after completing a good ride on the bi-cycle, said. It is an exchange of love and welcoming gesture to the cyclists who are here highlighting a soft image of the people and G-B, he added. He said along with this the same festival held across 10 districts of G-B to highlight the region’s rich culture. He said more than 10,000 people associated with the tourism industry in G-B. He said the tourists returning in increasing numbers recently, with over 500,000 visiting G-B last year and an even greater number this year we are expecting, the government decided to hold a Cap Day day as an attraction and as a celebration of local culture.

Initially, the day was set to be marked on September 1 to coincide with autumn, but the date was later changed because of the International Cycle Race. The traditional Gilgiti cap is called Shanti-Khoi in the local language. The soft, round and flat-topped cap is usually white in colour and is made from the finest wool. They are usually decorated with either a tuft of feathers or a flower.

Its history can be traced back to the days when the region was still divided among small, but fiercely independent princely states which existed before 1947. The cap itself is believed to have become a mainstay of the region during the 17th and 18th centuries. Shanti-Khoi was conceptualized to escape the freezing winds of a region that sees the temperature drop to 25 degree centigrade below freezing point during winters.

Considered the official headgear of G-B, no traditional formal dress in this mountain-locked region is considered complete without the cap. Such is its importance that was incorporated into the official uniforms of the Gilgit scouts during pre-partition days, a force commended by Major William Brown and it is still part of the uniform of Northern Light Infantry Regiment (NLI) presently. (APP)

Source: Radio Pakistan