ISLAMABAD   -   Inter Provincial Coordination (IPC) Minister Dr Fahmida Mirza inaugurated the Quaid-e-Azam Special Persons & Paralympic Games 2019 here at Jinnah Stadium of Pakistan Sports Complex on Wednesday.

The two-day competitions will conclude today (Thursday), as more than 150 special athletes are participating in different events. Speaking on the occasion, Dr Fahmida praised Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) Director General Arif Ibrahim for providing excellent facilities to special athletes and promised to provide free of cost memberships to them. She started membership campaign with Haseeb, who had won a gold medal in the Asia-Pacific Games 2013.

The IPC Minister also promised that the PSB will continue to host more events in future. She urged parents to send their special kids to enjoy life through sports, as they need our attention and they can become highly useful citizens, if they are provided with opportunities to showcase their talent. “Special kids face depression and don’t want to come out of their homes, but parents and teachers can play pivotal role in nourishing these kids,” she added.

Dr Fahmida also urged international community to play its role in stopping Indian government from barbaric and highly inhuman treatment with people of Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) and reiterated Pakistan government’s desire to help people of IOK. She termed Modi as Hitler and held him responsible for the genocide of highly peaceful citizens of IOK.

She further said that Indian forces are using ‘pallet guns’ on young Kashmiris as many have lost complete eye-sights while several lost their limbs. Women are the worst affected from inhuman behavior of Indian forces. “Allah knows, how many young kids of the IOK will be disabled. Pakistan will continue to support the Kashmir cause.”

She said Prime Minister Imran Khan wants maximum participation of special athletes in national and international events. “We will ensure compliance in true letter and spirit and provide the best possible support to them.” She lauded Special Olympics Pakistan Chairperson Ronak Lakhani for her tireless efforts and work for special athletes.

Meanwhile, mismanagement was at peak as the incompetent PSB officials not only kept the special kids on waiting from 10am to 5pm but also barred right persons from conducting the event professionally. The PSB management was fully aware of the pathetic condition of Rodham Hall, but there was no one to look after the special kids and officials in hot weather and humidity.

The minister arrived at 5:30pm, while the special athletes were queued for more than an hour to wait for the minister’s arrival. No proper sitting arrangements were made for parents of the participating athletes, while the PSB officials were seating on all the available chairs. There was a complete chaos during the ceremony, as non-professionals were handling the function instead of special education and Special Olympics trained persons.

Special education expert Shamila has honour of conducting a number of such big events at Pakistan Sports Complex with great command on conveying right message to the special kids and the guests, but despite her presence and main role in organising the games, her services were not utilized by the irrelevant persons in the PSB.

Many sports journalists were present on the occasion to cover the event on the special request of the IPC Minister, but when she finally arrived, she didn’t even bother to check whether they were provided seats or not. The journalists had to wait for hours to cover the event, but neither the minister nor any other PSB official tried to resolve their genuine problems.

The IPC Minister should ensure proper facilities being provided to at least special athletes, rather than photo sessions and making tall claims. She should personally visit all the venues and ensure to provide the best facilities to the special athletes. But she is fully relying on a few PSB officials, who present all-is-well picture to her.

The situation of Jinnah Stadium was highly pathetic because of the Ring of Pakistan event, which inflicted huge damages on ‘tatan track’ there as heavy machinery was used to establish make-shift ring while the trucks and heavy vehicles were allowed to destroy millions of rupees facilities there, but no one bothered to seek explanation from the ROP organisers.

It is hoped that after first day’s worst arrangements, Dr Fahmida will look into the sorry-state-of-affairs of incompetent PSB officials and things will improve drastically on last day while the trained persons will be hired to conduct the events.