Kashmir: GB to host ‘winter sports festival’ from January 15: Minister

Jammu & Kashmir POK - Pakistan Occupied Kashmir

Gilgit Baltistan’s Minister of Planning and Development, Raja Nasir Ali Khan, Monday said that the snow-covered GB region to host a seven-day long ‘Winter sports festival’ from January 15 to 25 to draw millions of local and foreign tourists where more than fifty-two teams including 12 female athletes will participate in the event.

Talking to the PTV news channel, the minister of GB said that the event aims to showcase the region’s beauty and highlight the soft image of Pakistan around the world, adding that Gilgit-Baltistan has also inaugurated ‘the Ice Hockey Championship’ in the winter sports festival this year.

He said the potential of Gilgit-Baltistan will host major international events, including the Asian Games and the 2026 Olympics, showcasing Pakistan positively on the global stage.

He said these winter sports, like ice skating, skiing, etc., have historically remained popular across GB.

In reply to a question, he said hundreds of athletes from ten different districts would participate in the seven-day event, adding that they would compete in skating, ice hockey, and ice curling.

He added that the government pays attention to winter sports in GB, which will boost Pakistan’s image internationally while also benefiting the local community in numerous ways.

To another question, he said to promote local culture and entrepreneurs, “the festival also includes several stalls of traditional dresses, food, and handicrafts, which is an added attraction for the tourists and an advantage for the locals.”

He mentioned that the hotel and guest house associations of GB will provide quality services for guests to attend the festival. He further ensured that we would provide all types of facilities for tourists, such as easy access to destinations, better roads, clean hotels and guest rooms, and trained human resources.

He pointed out that the unregulated influx of tourists caused nuisance of traffic jams and disruption of the civic system. In this regard, we have proposed proper management and development of new tourist destinations to shift the quantum of visitors. He also called for raising awareness among the general public to be kind towards the environment while exploring tourist places during the seven-day festival.

He termed security and a peaceful environment significant factors in promoting tourist activities in the country.__Daily Times