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.


Yara Shahidi shines at Time Gala

Updated 44 min 56 sec ago
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Yara Shahidi shines at Time Gala

  • Actress Yara Shahidi attended the Time 100 Gala celebrating its annual list of the 100 Most Influential People in the World this week
  • The Iranian-American star of TV show “Black-ish” paired her quirky outfit with a slick top knot and black heels

DUBAI: Actress Yara Shahidi attended the Time 100 Gala celebrating its annual list of the 100 Most Influential People in the World this week, looking out of this world in a galactic-themed outfit.

The Iranian-American star of TV show “Black-ish” paired her quirky outfit with a slick top knot and black heels.

She is well-known for her stance against the proposed US immigration ban that caused uproar last year and shared a message on her social media accounts at the time saying: “If my baba was stuck in an airport because of a Muslim ban 39 years ago, he would have never fallen in love with my mama. I would not exist and I wouldn’t have two amazing brothers.”

The actress has also been vocal about her Iranian-African-American heritage and even called herself “a proud Black Iranian.”

Also at the event, held at New York’s Lincoln Center on April 24, was hijab-wearing Olympian Ibtihaj Muhammad.

Mohammed, the first American to compete at the Olympics while wearing a hijab, won a bronze medal in fencing at the 2016 Rio Games.

In 2017, she made headlines yet again when Mattel Inc. said it would release a doll modeled on the sporting star. The doll is part of the Barbie “Shero” line that honors women who break boundaries. Past dolls have included gymnast Gabby Douglas and “Selma” director Ava DuVernay.

“I had so many moments as an athlete, where I didn’t feel included, where I was often in spaces where there was a lack of representation,” Mohammed said at the time. “So to be in this moment, as a US Olympian, to have Mattel, such a global brand, diversify their toy line to include a Barbie doll that wears a hijab is very moving to me.”

Meanwhile, singer, actress and fashion icon Jennifer Lopez lent the event some glittering star power.

She graced the red carpet in a gold gown by Lebanese designer Zuhair Murad, mere days after her photoshoot with Time magazine was revealed to the world.

Lopez wears a dress by Murad on the cover of Time magazine’s May issue, in which she is named one of the 100 most influential people in the world.
The gown is from the designer’s spring 2018 couture line. Murad’s official Instagram page shared a video of the actress speaking to the magazine, along with a caption that said: “We couldn’t be happier.”
“I never let anyone pigeon-hole me or put me in a box,” Lopez said in the video. “And every step of the way people try to do that to you — especially