Byline: Mohammad Yaqoob
LAHORE -- Terming it a major flaw in the 18th Constitutional Amendment, Federal Minister for Inter-provincial Coordination (IPC) Dr Fehmida Mirza reckons the federal government's role in sports affairs remains unclear after the Amendment and says the provinces having necessary resources and working under a special sports ministry have the major role to play in this regard.
'I am not running any [federal] sports ministry in Islamabad. Basically, I have a role to just coordinate with the provinces and to guide them to make their policies [on sports] in a uniformed manner,' Dr Fehmida told Dawn in an exclusive talk the other day.
'I have no mechanism at the grassroots level, where we all have to revive sports first. I have asked the provincial ministers to declare sports as mandatory at the school level, besides providing small playgrounds in every nook and corner of the provinces, instead of building huge sports complexes costing billions of rupees,' she said.
Dr Fehmida said now the major role in producing players is left with the provinces and national sports federations.
'We have the Pakistan Sports Board, under which comes the Islamabad Sports Complex, and that is also not in perfect working condition due to the negligence of the past governments,' she lamented.
'It is also a reason that we have now decided to review the National Sports Policy 2005 to get a clearer picture of the role of federal government in sports, in line with the 18th Constitutional Amendment,' she said.
'Unfortunately, media is also criticising the federal government for sports decline, whereas the major responsibilities in this regard are to be taken up by the provincial sports ministries, where resources have been made available after the passage of the 18th Constitutional Amendment [in 2010],' she underscored.
On whether the federal government's role in sports carries significance for any player who yearns to represent Pakistan at international level, the IPC minister responded in affirmative but emphasised that preparing athletes for international contests from grassroots is the task of the provinces which she said have the resources.
Meanwhile answering a question on when sports activities, which are currently suspended due to coronavirus pandemic, would resume in Pakistan, Dr Fehmida said safe and secure environment is needed before sports can be resumed.
'We have a plan to resume sports activities in the open area of the Islamabad...