ISLAMABAD - Inter Provincial Coordination (IPC) Minister Dr Fehmida Mirza has said that best suitable persons will be appointed as Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) Director General.

Talking to The Nation, Dr Fehmida said that PSB DG will not be appointed in a hurry. “I am looking for a professional and strong administrator and as soon as we get that suitable person, we will immediately appoint that person as permanent DG. I know there are a number of grey areas, where we need to work on. I am working on every single thing and it will take some time, but let me assure all that I won’t compromise on principles, as long as I am minister, I will ensure merit and athletes will get every facility.”

She said she had invited provincial sports ministers for a meeting. “After 18th amendment, the sports ministry was dissolved and funds and control was given to the provinces. I don’t want to interfere in provincial matters rather I will take them all onboard. After their recommendations, I will call all senior sports journalists and take their suggestions too for the betterment of sports.

“I want to spend money on updating/maintenance of the existing facilities before constructing mega sports complex or play grounds. We have enough grounds in every city and village but we need to dig deep and bring fresh talent out. I will also hold meetings with POA and task force to finalise new sports policy and take all stakeholders onboard before finalising things.”

Dr Fehmida said that all the participating athletes carry national flag during international participation and they don’t represent particular province. “The PSB is simply facilitating them by providing tickets and other stuff. We need to be more involved and make things smooth. Being a minister, I have to answer in parliament and other forums.

“The PCB, PHF and other autonomous bodies are not answerable to me. We will sit and discus in detail ways and means to streamline the things. It hurts when I watch hockey going through financial crunch. The green shirts performance in the Asian Champions Trophy is quite satisfactory as they were declared joint champions. We need to do more for hockey and other federations as well, who are sure to win international medals. I know PHF president had arranged funds through his own sources. It was about the prestige of the country and as national game of the country, we have to take drastic steps to help hockey.”

Dr Fehmida reiterated the government’s commitment to improve sports standards in Pakistan and sought suggestions from the journalists to formulate a comprehensive sports policy for the country. “The federal government is very keen to assist and facilitate the provincial governments and other stakeholders for the promotion of sports in Pakistan. Sports structure needs to be strengthened from grassroots level. The provincial government should encourage local government to take steps for the improvement of sports in their respective areas.

“Structure of all sports needs to be strengthened at union council level followed by district, regional and national level. It was agreed that the existing sports facilities must be improved and utilised to the optimal level. We also need to encourage sportsmen.

She also agreed that participation of private sector should be encouraged to get fresh talent. “I will appoint a small executive committee of PSB to streamline the things. I know corruption and mismanagement is order of the day. , but I will take solid measures and assure the things to move in right direction. We have to utilise available options rather than going for negativity. We have to be positive and take drastic steps and ways and means to improve sports standard,” Dr Fehmida concluded.