MINGORA: Miandam Culture and Sports Festival got under way at the top of Miandam hilly resort enriched with medicinal plants and both foreign and local tourists thronged in to see culture and sports events during the three-day event. Miandam is a hill station in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan, in the foothills of Hindu Kush mountains, located at a distance of 55 km away from Mingora, the capital of Swat Valley, and 56 kilometers (35 mi) from Saidu Sharif.
Miandam is enriched in medicinal plants, owing to which the town is the site of a World Wide Fund for Nature project promoting sustainable harvesting of medicinal plants, and now about 1,000 people are dependent on the medicinal plant trade for their entire income.
The aim and objective of the festival is to highlight to the world that peace has been restored to the areas known and famous for scenic beauties. The primary economy of the region is based on tourism and agriculture. Agriculture is mostly centered on corn and potatoes, as of 1988, its population was 3,000 but it is now estimated to be 20,000, including neighboring hamlets.
Miandam is an administrative unit, known as Union council, of Swat District in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan. District Swat has 9 Tehsils comprising Khwazakhela, Kabal, Madyan, Barikot, Mingora, and Kalam. Each Tehsil comprises certain numbers of Union Councils. There are 65 Union Councils in Swat district, 56 Rural and 9 Urban.
The Miandam Cultural Festival organized by District Administration Swat started with a colourful opening ceremony at the recently handed PTDC Motel Miandam to the provincial government after the 18th amendment. The district administration made all out arrangements to hold the festival in befitting manners. Apart from cultural programs and traditional stalls, sports competitions such as Karate, Boxing, and Bodybuilding etc. will also be organized in the festival.
Assistant Commissioner Khawzakhela Mehran Khan was the chief guest on this occasion who formally inaugurated the Festival in a grand opening ceremony. Soon after his announcement a beautiful firework enthralled the sitting spectators. When contacted Deputy Commissioner Swat Junaid Khan said that the Information Center, Food Court, Kids Play Area, Khattak Dance, Rabab, Drama, Sketches, Traditional Music, Poetry etc. are also part of the festival.
In the light of the vision of the Prime Minister Imran Khan and special directives of the Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Mahmood Khan, the third major festival is being organized in Swat in the last four to six weeks to promote tourism in Swat. He said, tourists from all over the country enjoyed various competitions, traditional food, music and other activities. He said that players in gymnastics, marathon races, hiking, boxing, bodybuilding and bicycle races are competing in the festival.
Regional Sports Officer Kashif Farhan and district administration have finalized all the arrangements to make the festival a success like Kalam and Gabeen Jabba Snow Sports Festivals held recently. The aim of the festival is to attract domestic and foreign tourists to the tourist destinations of Swat, he said. Junaid Khan said, Gabeen Jabba and Kalam Festivals had been enjoyed by thousands of tourists from all over the country while foreign tourists also came to promote tourism in all areas of Malakand Region including Swat.
The government is taking various initiatives to organize the Cultural and Sports Festival. One of them is to facilitate the access of tourists to the tourist spots. New tourist destinations are also being developed, he added. He said that such activities would not only promote tourism but also generate employment opportunities at the local level, adding that all possible measures were being taken to provide facilities to the tourists.