Traditional ‘paradise’ festival concludes in northwest Pakistan

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National flag being hoisted at the inaugural ceremony of Qaqlasht Festival in Chitral.
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Players trying to outperform one another while participating in a football match.
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Traditional Chitrali dance being presented.
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A view of the fireworks after the musical program during the Cultural Night.
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Deputy Commissioner Chitral Irshad Sodhar can be seen addressing the participants of Cultural Night in this picture.
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A view of a polo match during the festival.
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Traditional music being played at Cultural Night during the festival.
Updated 15 April 2018
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Traditional ‘paradise’ festival concludes in northwest Pakistan

PESHAWAR: The four-day Qaqlasht Festival, a mix of sports, tourism and cultural activities that is described locally as paradise, concluded on Sunday in Chitral, the largest district in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
Commissioner Malakand Zaheerul Islam was chief quest, while deputy commissioners of several districts, along with tourism corporation and police officials, were also present.
This year, for the first time, floodlights had also been arranged to ensure that sporting events could take place at night, said Qazi Jalal, a private consultant and one of the organizers of the event. “About 10,000 people visited the festival,” he added.
Hassina Shaukat, of the Tourism Corp. of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, said her department had given 1.7 million Pakistani rupees ($14,706) to Chitral’s district administration to organize the festival.
She said that sporting events at the festival included “polo, tug of war, skeet shooting, paragliding, zip lining, marathon racing, volleyball, cricket and football,” adding that there was also a cultural night with local singers that was followed by fireworks on Saturday.
The first day started with football matches in which 24 teams participated. Out of these, two reached the final on Sunday. On the second day, there was skeet shooting in which players use a traditional and centuries-old rifle called “Siyah Kaman” (or “black bow”).
On Saturday night, the participants enjoyed a cultural night that included a music program and fireworks.
“Qaqlasht is locally described as paradise,” Chitral Deputy Commissioner Irshad Sodhar told Arab News.
A resident of Ayun valley in Chitral, Mohkam-ud-Din, told Arab News that he and his friends had reached Qaqlasht on the first morning of the event to enjoy the festival.
“When we were young, we remember that there were no specific days for the festival that was held in spring. However, the government has now fixed specific days for it in the month of April,” recalled Mohkam-ud-Din, 54.
Muhammad Pervez Lal, convener of the Jashan-e-Qaqlasht Committee, told Arab News that the committee comprised 50 members.
He added that tourists from different parts of the country had reached the festival and many had spent the night in tents there.
“The festival is about 1,000 years old, and it used to be a regular feature when Chitral was a princely state,” Lal added.


Hosny’s El Badla marks a first for Egyptian cinema in Saudi Arabia

Updated 20 September 2018
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Hosny’s El Badla marks a first for Egyptian cinema in Saudi Arabia

JEDDAH: Following on the heels of “Kaala” — the first Hindi film to be successfully screened in the Kingdom — Majid Al-Futtaim on Thursday held the first screening of an Egyptian film in Saudi Arabia with the action comedy hit, “El Badla.”
Clocking a screen time of 100 minutes and directed by Tamer Hosny, the film’s plot revolves around a college student — played by Hosny himself — who attends a costume party dressed as a police officer. Hosny soon finds himself in a tricky situation after his plan backfires and he becomes the subject of a criminal investigation for false impersonation.
Cameron Mitchell, CEO of Majid Al-Futtaim Cinemas, said that Egypt’s rich history of producing quality entertainment has led to a high demand for Egyptian films, not only in Saudi Arabia but across the region as well. 
“We are proud to be the first operator that brings Egyptian content to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and we will continue to offer a range of movies that appeal to a variety of cultures that we cater to,” Mitchell said.
The Kingdom lifted a decades-long ban on screening films by opening its first cinema on April 18.