Balochistan hosts sport festival to stem violence

Published: March 23, 2016
Dancers perform at the opening ceremony of Balochistan Sports Festival at Ayub Stadium, Quetta. PHOTO: INP

Dancers perform at the opening ceremony of Balochistan Sports Festival at Ayub Stadium, Quetta. PHOTO: INP

QUETTA: Chief Minister Nawab Sanaullah Zehri inaugurated the Balochistan Sport Festival on Tuesday where he said his administration would promote sport to prevent the youth from using drugs or landing into the hands of terrorists.

“The government will provide opportunities to the youth so that they can demonstrate their talent and play their crucial role in the country’s development,” he said at the inaugural ceremony which was also attended by Governor Muhammad Khan Achakzai, Commander Southern Command Lt Gen Amir Riaz and members of the provincial cabinet.

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“Today, our country is facing internal and external challenges. Some misled people are trying to create a law and order situation for their personal gains,” Zehri said while referring to the Baloch separatists who have been fighting a low-key insurgency in the province since 2004.

He praised the ongoing military operation, codenamed Zarb-e-Azb’ under which intelligence-based operations are being conducted against ‘sleeper cells’ of terrorists across the country. Growing successes of this operation have rekindled hopes for a peaceful and prosperous Pakistan, he said.

“Farrari (militant) groups are giving up violence to join the national mainstream,” he added. “As peace returns, development gathers pace in Balochistan,” he added.

The chief minister called upon the youth to play their role in making Balochistan an abode of peace. “I want the youth to pledge today that they will supplement the government efforts to decimate terrorism, extremism, and linguistic and ethnic hatred in order to frustrate the enemy’s designs.”

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Zehri felicitated the people of Balochistan on Pakistan Day under which sporting events are being organised across the province. “I hope the courageous and energetic players will make this festival a huge success, and send across a message to the international community that they are a sport-loving people.”

The chief minister also praised organisers of the festival, and announced Rs50 million grant for the development of Ayub Stadium. He held out an assurance that his administration would support promotion of sports in the province. This sport festival will be made an annual feature,” he added.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 23rd,  2016.

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