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by Sohail Ali

LAHORE, Dec 23 (APP): Special Assistant to Chief Minister Punjab on Information Firdous Ashiq Awan said on Wednesday the sports department was a part of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s vision and Punjab Minister for Sports & Youth Affairs Rai Taimoor Khan Bhatti was doing good job through his positive measures for the development of sports in the province.

She said this while addressing a press conference at the lawns of National Hockey Stadium here on Wednesday.

Director General Sports Punjab Adnan Arshad Aulakh, Director Admin Javed Chohan and other top officials were also present on the occasion.

Dr Firdous said that Punjab Minister for Sports fulfilled his responsibility and introduced Pakistan’s first ever sports policy under the leadership of Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar. “Definitely it’s unprecedented in national sports history. Sports policy has never been launched in past eras and its all credit goes to Punjab Minister for Sports and his team for this historic measure”, she said.

Elaborating, the SACM said the Punjab Sports Minister gave a comprehensive road-map in the sports policy about the promotion of sports across the province. “The main focus has been given to holding of top sports events and activities, talent hunt, sports development measures and welfare of sports persons in the sports policy,” she added.

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She further said Rai Taimoor Khan Bhatti took several valuable measures for the promotion of sports culture in the province including revival of Punjab Games and Sports Calendar.

Criticising Shahbaz Sharif, the SACM said the sports department was totally ignored during the previous era.

“Material of Orange Train and Metro Bus projects was dumped in most of the sports grounds and playfields of Lahore and youth of the city was deprived of their playing rights at these venues”, she added.

Highlighting the key features of Punjab government for the promotion of sports, Punjab Minister for Sports and Youth Affairs Rai Taimoor Khan Bhatti said there was a complete deadlock in the field of sports during the past eras.

“There was no sports strategy or planning in Shahbaz Sharif’s tenure. Everybody knows that they are still facing wrath of NAB due to their corruption in Punjab Youth Festival,” he informed.

He informed that Punjab’s first-ever sports policy has been submitted in Punjab cabinet and Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar would launch this policy in near future.

“Under the sports policy, competitive sports events will be conducted at village, tehsil, district, divisional and provincial level. Besides this, the focus has also been put on talent hunt, coaching and training, career counseling of young athletes, health insurance, welfare of sports community etc in our compact sports policy”, he asserted.

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“This policy is designed purely for players and sports community. Monthly stipend will also be given to deserving athletes. We also revived and organized Punjab Games after the gap of eight years. Over 3000 athletes took part in tehsil, district, divisional and provincial level sports competitions during these games. Punjab Games have been made part of our Annual Sports Calendar”, he continued.

Responding to a question, Rai Taimoor Khan Bhatti said: “We are constructing sports complexes in 61 tehsils of Punjab with all necessary facilities instead of irrelevant luxuries. We got 160 sports from previous era out of which 115 are on verge of completion”.

Replying another query, he said that all sports events and activities would begin after Covid-19 pandemic. “Rs 400 million have also been allocated for the completion of under-construction squash complex in Nishtar Park Sports Complex”, he said.

Later, Special Assistant to Chief Minister Punjab on Information Firdous Ashiq Awan while answering a volley of question, said the opposition leaders can’t pose any threat to our democratic and legitimate government through their negative and illogical propaganda.