LAHORE - After a decade long gap, the Horse and Cattle Show is going to resume with its four-days-long festivities at Fortress Stadium from Thursday (today). The government has ordered the security agencies to ensure foolproof arrangements in order to hold the festival under peaceful and secure atmosphere.

On the first day, President Mamnoon Husain is likely to honour the opening ceremony of the festival as chief guest besides the Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, provincial ministers, officers of Army and civil bureaucracy.

Keeping in view the present security situation in the country, Punjab police has deputed as many as 10000 personnel for security of the surrounding areas of the Fortress Stadium where all the programmes of the festival would be conducted.

Sources in City District Government Lahore (CDGL) have disclosed that as precautionary measures almost all the shopping malls, shops, restaurants and other markets around the Fortress Stadium would remain closed for these four days.

Concerning the security risk, only state-owned media would cover the whole show and handouts would be issued accordingly. Private media is completely banned at the site. Moreover, the government has cancelled all the previously-issued cards for the media men.

However, for the public convenience and facilitating the citizens, CDGL has started free-of-cost shuttle bus service which would provide pick and drop facilities to the visitors in the morning from 7:00am to 9:00am for the morning show. In the evening, the service would start from 5:00pm to 7:00pm.

The sources added said that the shuttle bus service would bring people to the venue. “The bus service will pick people from 11 designated points in the city and bring them to Fortress Stadium,” they said, adding that parking arrangements had also been made at 11 points near the Stadium.

The points include Azadi Chowk, Qurtaba Chowk, Kalma Chowk, Qainchi, City Bus terminal at Sikandaria Colony, Thokar Niaz Beg, Scheme Mor, Jallo Mor, Shalimar Chowk and Nawaz Sharif Interchange on Bedian Road.

National Horse and Cattle Show, one of the biggest cultural events of the country, was discontinued since 2004 owing to security concerns. Now, it will feature tattoo shows, tent-pegging, horse dancing, dog races, polo, equestrian jumping, exhibition of industrial and agricultural products, besides, competition of milk-producing among cattle breeders. The first show held in 1964 at the Fortress Stadium.

As per the programme, various departments and organisations would showcase their skills various other activities. A human flag, motorbike stunts, and performances by several folk music bands and dance groups will also be held during the show.

The show would offer cattle breeders and enthusiasts a platform for healthy competition, recreation and celebrations at the onset of spring season. The show had become one of the most popular events over the last 40 years featuring the best breeds in the country and encouraging farmers to compete with each other and win prizes for the best animals.

Sources further added that the provincial government had constituted a number of committees for making the arrangements. Various organisations, they said, were enlisted for organising various events at the show. The additional chief secretary and the local government and community development secretary had been assigned duties to supervise the events, exhibitions and festivities during the show, the sources disclosed.