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IPC minister, Ahsan Iqbal trade barbs over sports projects

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Inter Provincial Coordination Dr. Fehmida Mirza and PML-N leader Ahsan Iqbal on Monday accused each other for launching sports projects in their own constituencies.

PML-N MNA and former planning minister Ahsan Iqbal, while speaking on the floor of the house, revealed that the Narowal Sports Complex Project had been nearing completion but had been stopped due to issues with funding.

He said that the Astro Turf, which was imported, was not laid down which resulted in the end of its warranty.

Similarly, he said that the athletics track was not laid down as federal government stopped funding for this project.

He added that there were no issues with funding for the two sports projects launched by the IPC minister in Badin.

The PML-N leader said that had the Narowal Sports Complex been completed, Pakistan’s javelin thrower Arshad Nadeem would’ve been provided with a chance to train there and it could’ve resulted in a gold medal at this year’s Tokyo Olympics.

In response, to PML-N lawmaker, the IPC minister defended the project in her constituency, adding that Narowal project was started against the recommendations of Council of Common Interest (CCI).

She said that two small sports projects has been launched in Badin after completing all procedures and added that it was due to a NAB case that funding was not released for the Narowal Sports Complex.

The IPC Minster informed that new sports policy had been finalised and has been sent for legal vetting.

The IPC minister said that sport is a devolved subject after 18th amendment, but provinces had not paid due attention for promotion of sports.

However, she said that efforts are now being made at district level, adding that there is need to promote sports in schools.

She also alleged that the Pakistan Olympic Associ­ation promoted fake sports federations, adding that those federations vote to keep the POA officials in power and in return are accepted by the country’s Olympic body.

She added that those moves mean that the genuine federations get suspended by the POA.

In August, Dr Fehmida and Special Assistant to Prime Minister Shahbaz Gill demanded longstanding POA president retired Lt Gen Arif Hasan to step down following Pakistan’s failure to win a medal at the Tokyo Olympics.

The POA hit back, saying it wasn’t its job to promote sports in the country.

A news release issued by the ministry of IPC on Monday reiterated that demand.

“The National Assembly Standing Committee on IPC has recommended that the services of President POA Lt General (retired) Arif Hassan and his entire team, may be withdrawn immediately because of his poor performance and controversial election and recommended to make changes for the betterment or sports at the earliest,” it stated.

It further claimed that committee also recommended that all Sports Federations must he held accountable for all types of foreign and local funding.

The Committee also recommended that two acres of land in every village should be earmarked for the sports purpose in all districts of the country.

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