In a rare phenomena in the male-dominated and violence-hit province, thousands of women spectators converged on the sports stadium in Peshawar on Friday to witness the opening ceremony of the all-women games.
About 12 women teams are participating in six different events of the traditional games. They are: Mirgati (play with a bouncy ball and pebbles), Chindro (puzzle box), Koko (rounder), Chukla Chapati, Pito Gol Garam and Rasi Tup (skipping). The prize distribution ceremony will be held on Sunday with the conclusion of the games.
“It is a historical day for the people of Peshawar,” commented the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Minister for Information, Mian Iftikhar Hussain, while speaking as chief guest at the inaugural ceremony.
He said that K-P was rich in traditional sports which unfortunately had been abandoned due to many reasons. However, the provincial government has made a comprehensive plan to revive the games. He also informed the gathering that Chief Minister Ameer Haider Khan Hoti was pleased the city was holding traditional games along with other districts for both males and females.
Hussain commented on the modern trend of computer and video games which limited the youth from getting involved in healthy and outdoor sports. He said one of the reasons behind the initiative was to provide healthy entertainment to the women. The event is also in line with the government’s intention to provide equal opportunity to women in sports.
In this regard, he lauded the efforts of Syed Aqil Shah, Shagufta Malik and their team for organising an event in which dozens of women teams are enthusiastically taking part. He said that as the youth had suffered a lot at the hands of militancy and insurgency; it needed to be involved in similar recreational activities.
The minister appreciated Secretary Sports, Azam Khan for organising the programme under which the traditional games are being held in all districts, including Peshawar.
The provincial minister for sports informed the gathering that position holders of all districts would be invited to the closing ceremony. The ceremony will have a food street and stalls displaying traditional costumes, handicrafts by Swati women, Chitral and Dera Ismail Khan.
Shah thanked the Chief Minister for supporting the event. He said traditional games have already been held in Haripur District, Lachi, Kohat, Dera Ismail Khan, Mansehra, Bannu, Lakki Marwat, Nowshera, Pabbi, Chasadda, and Mardan. The games included: Kabaddi, Gulli Danda, Larroo or Pat Patoney, Kowat Kannarry, Kissa Kali Kali, Angay, Gangar, Cheendro or Peeto, Eishtapa, Teeki, Karkhai, Maya or Joora and Katchna Gotey. Earlier, the girls took part in Megati, Rasi Tup (skipping), Chindro (puzzle box) and Kokla Chapati.
Chairperson of the Provincial Assembly Standing Committee on Sports Shagufta Malik, Director-General Khan Zeb Khan, Pakistan Olympic Association secretary Syed Azhar Ali Shah and Secretary K-P Olympic Association, Zulfiqar Butt were also present on the occasion.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 7th, 2011.