ATTOCK-Tent pegging champion and chief of Kot Fateh Khan of Attock district Malik Ata Muhammad Khan passed away on Thursday at the age of 79.

The legendary figure Malik Ata (born on 25th October, 1941) was known for his equestrian hobbies. He was the first elected President of the Equestrian and Tent Pegging Federation of Pakistan. He was well-known in Pakistan for his attempts to promote tent pegging and bull races. He was one of the founders of the International Tent Pegging Federation which is recognised by the FEI. He was the Vice-President of International Tent Pegging Federation. Malik Ata had taken part in tent pegging and other equestrian championships in Europe, South Africa, Australia, the United States and India. In 1982, Ata participated in the Ninth Asian Games held in Delhi, winning the silver medal for Pakistan. Ata with Pakistan team took part in 1982 Hyde Park games in London. Atta led Pakistan tent pegging team at the annual Royal Adelaide Show 2010 held in Adelaide, South Australia. He also led the Pakistan team in the Penta Grand World Equestrian Tent Pegging Championship in 2010, 2012 and 2013. Malik Ata with Pakistan team participated in world equestrian games in France 2014. Ata was invited by the FEI to give a demonstration of tent pegging at the 2014 FEI World Equestrian Games held in Normandy, France. On the opening day he was honoured to lead all the countries of the world while holding Pakistani flag.

Malik Ata Muhammad Khan when entrusted with responsibilities of chieftainship of Gheba tribe, put his political career at the stake. In an environment, where people are prepared to make all possible sacrifices to realize this distinguished position.

Malik Ata Muhammad gave up his successful political career in its golden period, whereas many people spend whole of their lives to achieve that goal. Born in the family of Malik Yar Muhammad Khan, Malik Ata Muhammad Khan was the eldest maternal grandson of Sardar Sir Nawaz Muhammad Khan. He got his early education from the Aitcheson College Lahore, did his FSC from the FC College, Lahore and thereafter proceeded to England for LLB.

Besides education, he was very fond of horse-riding and body building since his childhood. He not only materialized his fondness on his own but he also had the honor of representing his dear country for these sports at several places. In the year 1982, he participated in the Ninth Asian Games held in Delhi, city of India as Captain of the Pakistan spear-throwing team and succeeded in winning his session. Moreover, he undertook a tour of Europe and South Africa to take part in several other tournaments.

His title as the best horse-rider is symbolic of recognition of status of Pakistan in European countries. Beside this he was honored as the best horse rider in the National Horse and Cattle Show held in Lahore for several years, In the year 1988, he contested election on the Islami Jamauri Ittihad ( IJI) platform.

Thereafter, in 1990, he again contested for an MPA seat from the Pakistan Muslim League platform, and remained successful this time with the full support of the people. In the next national election he was elected MNA. After his father’s death in 1996, the entire responsibilities of the family and management of the estate rested on his shoulders because of his increased preoccupation with politics, he was not in a position to focus on the matters relating to the management of the estate, family issues and other matters.

Therefore, he said good bye to the politics “When the horse is running 65 to 70 miles per hour and you have to pick a small, one-inch peg from the ground it is very spectacular, either with the sword or with the lance””— Malik Ata once recalled the events of Delhi 1982 at Barkah Equestrian Ground. Prince Ata also appeared in a BBC series “Michael Palin’s Himalaya Production” in which Palin met Ata after visiting his hometown. In an interview with the British journalist, prince Ata quoted his famous saying, “I am one of the last dinosaurs and it will all finish with me.” He was also the subject of a short documentary produced by BBC “One Man and His Horse” in 1983.