CHITRAL: Chief Minister Ameer Haider Khan Hoti has said Chitral had rich potential for tourism but what it lacks was the basic infrastructure.

Haider Khan Hoti was speaking on the last day of famous Shandur festival. The three-day Shandur festival ended here Wednesday at the world’s highest polo ground and the Chitral team won the polo tournament for the third consecutive year, defeating archrival Gilgit in a thrilling encounter.

The festival, which has become a national event, attracted hundreds of national as well as foreign tourists. The splendid polo ground was full of colorful banners with people cheering up their teams.

Ameer Haider Khan Hoti while speaking on the occasion assured the Chitralis that work would soon be started to develop the infrastructure of the area. He said he would talk to the federal government and approve a mega project for the under-developed district. He informed the gathering that more than 20 million would be allocated for the district hospital Chitral in the Annual Development Program.

The chief minister further said regarding development of roads, health and education facilities the provincial government has an umbrella package, which would soon be initiated. Regarding the present law and order situation, Ameer Haider said there are certain elements who were giving an impression that law and order situation in the province was deteriorated.

He said, “No one among us is terrorist, we are peaceful people and want nothing else but peace.” He said the government’s priority was to tackle the issues through dialogue and negotiations, as it was not in favour of using force. The chief minister said all the issues would be solved through Jirga and political process.

Federal Minister for States and Frontier Region Najamudin Khan while speaking on the occasion announced construction of two stadiums, one in Chitral and other at Gilgit, for which, he said, the federal government would provide Rs 100 million. Provincial Minister for Sports and Culture Syed Aqil Shah in his speech highlighted the plans of provincial government for making the district a tourist paradise. He said that steps would be taken to promote water sports and to construct other facilities including cable car, chairlifts and facilities for river-rafting.

Earlier, Provincial Minister for Population Welfare Saleem Khan in his welcome address highlighted the problems being faced by the people of Chitral. Senior Minister Bashir Ahmad Bilour, members of provincial assembly and Nazims of various districts and union councils were also present on the occasion.