Peshawar - Kaghan Development Authority (KDA) in the Mansehra district organised a unique race for elderly widowers and offered two winners Rs 800,000 to marry elderly widows.

Speaking to journalists, Dr Aimal Zaman, the chairman of the Kaghan Development Authority, stated: “We adopted this way to add spice back to the lives of the elderly widowers and widows.”

The Elderly Veterans Marathon, a 1.5-kilometre event, is the first of its kind and up to 30 elderly widowers from the Kaghan Valley participated in it.

The first three spots went to Mohammad Nadeem, Abdullah Khan, and Jan Mohammad, respectively. Only 30 out of 70 widowers, who matched the requirements for this special opportunity, were selected for the event.

Zaman also claimed that 35% of the elderly people in the Kaghan valley, which was affected by a severe earthquake in 2005, lived alone.

The first-ever race held for elderly widowers in Mansehra gives Rs0.8m cash prize to top two winners, provided they would marry elderly widows too

“Research that I conducted found that 30% to 35% of men and the same percentage of women were living alone, and it occurred to me to do something to bring them back to a normal life,” he said.

According to the KDA chairman, the winner and runner-up would receive Rs 400,000 each if they married local elderly widows.

“We wouldn’t give them this money immediately until the Nikah is performed by a local religious scholar,” he said. He added that Rs200,000 each would be presented to the [elderly] brides as their dowries, Rs 150,000 for a milking cow to earn a living, and the remaining Rs 50,000 each for wedding arrangements,” Zaman elaborated.

He said that he and his team would closely watch the arrangements to make sure that there was no ambiguity in the process, which was planned to encourage elderly widows and widowers to rescue them of misery.