Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) information secretary for Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B), Rana Nazeem, has criticised his government’s decision to boycott the Shandur polo tournament, claiming that the move had brought financial loss to the area.
“We should encourage such events for the promotion of sports, culture and tourism,” Nazeem told The Express Tribune on Tuesday.
His comments came hardly a day after the Gilgit-Baltistan polo team returned home from Shandur to show solidarity with the PPP government’s ‘principled stand’ over the issue that won applause from several quarters.
Earlier, Gilgit-Baltistan had formally decided to pull out of the tournament after talks between Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa’s and its officials hit an impasse over Shandur’s boundaries. Gilgit-Baltistan claims that Shandur is part of its territory while Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa asserts its claim over the territory, leaving the status of the area controversial.
“We have lost an opportunity to project our area, our historic polo culture and many other positives due to this unjustified boycott,” said Nazeem. Since the 1980s, the event has been featuring Chitral’s and Gilgit’s polo teams.
Nazeem said that talks are the best way to resolves issues and said that the PPP believes in inter-provincial harmony. He said the G-B government should have earlier taken up the issue with the prime minister instead of pulling out at the last minute.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 7th, 2010.
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