ISLAMABAD  -   Inter Provincial Coordination (IPC) Minister Dr Fehmida Mirza has said that winning medals in the upcoming South Asian Games is their main target.

“We have set our sights on Tokyo Olympics 2020 and preparations in this regard will start from today. Every province must pay special attention towards promotion of sports. We will do our utmost to ensure our athletes do well in the Olympics,” said Dr Fehmida while chairing the first Federal Sports Coordination Committee meeting here at Pakistan Sports Complex committee room on Thursday.

Besides the IPC minister, committee members, Sports Minister Balochistan Abdul Khaliq Hazara, Sindh Secretary Sports Haroon Ahmed Khan, Punjab Sports Minister Rai Taimoor Khan Bhatti and KP Sports Board Director General Juniad Khan attended the two-hour long meeting. She said the committee meetings will be held on regular basis. “We are also formulating policy to conduct Paralympics and gender national games and all will be done in consultations with provincial sports ministers.”

Dr Fehmida informed the participants that Prime Minister Imran Khan has been giving top priority to sports. “We will take every possible step to promote sports at grassroots level across the country. We have to focus on youth especially of far-flung areas of the country.”

She said the main aim of constituting the committee to keep all stakeholders together. “After the 18th amendment, the sports ministry was dissolved and handed over to the provinces. Being federal minister, we didn’t want to interfere in provincial affairs that’s why I decided to form a committee involving all the provincial sports ministers and responsible. There is an urgent need to involve youth in healthy sporting activities and we will soon launch a country-wide talent hunt programme.”

The minister said they will soon conduct national-level sports events and planning is underway in this regard. “Soon inter-provincial sports events will be conducted and we will formulate a sports policy, which will be acceptable to all the stakeholders. The sports policy will take into consideration the national priorities.”

The participants emphasised on the need of holding national games as early as possible as last national games were held in 2013 and for the last 6 years. “The Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) has been delaying the national games for last 6 years and failed to conduct them and it was agreed in principle that if law and order situation in Balochistan improves, the national games will be conducted there as per schedule.”

She said: “We keep on taking updates on PM Task Force activities. The PM has yet to approve the Task Force recommendations while guidelines on Task Force have yet to be submitted. As soon as we receive the guidelines, we will fully implement them. We will give advertisement for the appointment of permanent PSB Director General. We will formulate a selection committee to finalise the PSB DG slot, so that merit must prevail in appointment. Commenting on the PSB employees’ pending pensions, she said: “I have written a letter in this regard and it is only a matter of days before this issue will be resolved.”

Balochsitan Sports Minister Abdul Khaliq Hazara said: “After 2004 national games were never held in Balochistan due to law and order situation in the province, we will take every step o improve the image of the province.”

Taimoor Hayat Bhatti said: “We will try to ensure the better standard of sports in the country.” He pointed out that national hockey team is mainly constituted on Punjab-based players. “We will conduct hockey and kabaddi leagues like PSL,” he concluded.