After a 4-year hiatus, Swat has opened its doors to girls’ sports.
The Provincial Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Settlement Authority (PaRRSA) on Thursday launched a three-day sports festival for girls, titled “Sports for Peace”, in which sportswomen from Kohat, Bannu, Mardan, Hazara, Malakand and Swat are participating.
Talking to The Express Tribune, Razia, a female teacher from Swat said that the sports festival will be a healthy diversion for the girls. “It will encourage them and relieve them of the psychological issues they developed over the years of turmoil,” she said. “Several diseases can be tackled by sports,” she added.
District Female Officer Education, Dilshad, said that after witnessing “the harsh times of militancy”, parents were reluctant to allow their daughters to take part in sports, but with a sense of normalcy settling in, they have become more lenient. “The girls’ performances in the PT show and other demonstrations are proof that we have peace in Swat,” she added.
Naila Javed, a volleyball player from Bannu, said she was enjoying playing sports in the beautiful Swat valley. Summiya, a student of Government Girls Higher Secondary School No.1 of Saidu Sharif lamented, “We have so much talent but the problem is we don’t get permission from our parents.” She was of the view that such activities should be organised regularly.
Maryam Khan, the provincial program manager of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), which funded the project, said that the enthusiastic participation in the competitions by girls from Swat proves that they have more capabilities of progressing than girls of other areas. “It seemed that females could not participate in such activities but all those myths have been shattered today,” she added. She said that women make up 52 per cent of the population of Pakistan and have the ability the shape its fate.
“There is no scarcity of talent in our daughters and if polished they can lead our nation towards development,” said Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Deputy General Sports Khan Zeb. He said his department is trying to revive sports from grass-root level, adding that funds have been given to district coordination officers to conduct competitions of different sports in their respective union councils. He added that the government has also undertaken infrastructure schemes of Rs15 million to improve sports facilities in various parts of the province.
Published In The Express Tribune, June 22nd, 2012.
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