islamabad -  Prime Minister Task Force on Sports Ijaz Gull denied his involvement in suspension of Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) Director General Akhtar Ganjera saying he enjoys cordial relations with IPC minister Mian Riaz Hussain Pirzada.

Ijaz expressed these views in a hurriedly called press conference here at PSB media centre on Wednesday. He said he had nothing to do with developments in the PSB or resignation of IPC minister Mian Riaz. “I was Punjab CM Advisor on Sports for last 7 years and had worked for the uplift of hidden and neglected sports like tug of war, traditional wrestling, kabaddi. On the orders of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, I took over the post of head of PM Task Force on Sports and I am committed to uplift sports as well as athletes.

“I am conducting kababdi and tug of war events in the PSB on May 12 and we have deposited amount in the federation accounts, who will look after the athletes and arrange prizes while Rs 4.5 million budget was allocated to conduct traditional wrestling, tug of war, kabaddi in 5 major cities of Punjab. It is mainly played in rural parts of the province, as after Islamabad, we will arrange matches in Faisalabad, Multan, Lahore, Gujranwala and Lodhran,” he added.

Ijaz said he would pick 8 traditional wrestlers, who topped their respective cities and arrange a Sher-e-Punjab Dangle, the winner from 8 would be declared the Sher-e-Punjab and would get reasonable cash prize. “I have already established office inside the PSB premises and I invite all to come up with suggestions to improve standards of sports. We need sports journalists’ help to revive sports culture, as youth and especially school-going kids have no activity at all and they remain busy in playing mobile games or use computer, which is not a healthy activity at all. We want to involve youth in outdoor activities, as Ramazan is near, after Ramazan we will conduct Inter-Provincial Games.”

When asked about Quaid-e-Azam Games and their future, Ijaz said: “I have written a letter to the PM. As soon as the funds will be released, the Games will be conducted.

When he was pointed out towards the mistreatment of DDG Technical M Shahid with senior sports journalist Abdul Mohi Shah, Ijaz said he was not aware of the incident and he would look into the issue and promised to provide justice. “The PSB employees are bound to provide maximum information to the journalists,” he added.

When this scribe informed Ijaz about PSB sorry-state-of-affairs, Ijaz ordered DDG Administration Mansoor Ahmed to immediately appoint a full-time media director or give Shazia Ijaz full-time duty to provide media timely information.

The tickets of 33 athletes were returned by the PSB and athletes had to bear their expenses. About this, Ijaz said he was not informed about that and he would seek report and ensure justice would be provided. “I will ensure sponsorship for the neglected sports as well. Besides cricket, sponsors are ready to invest on other games. The tug of war and kabaddi events will start at 4pm tomorrow (Friday) and will be concluded by 6pm, Ijaz concluded.