ISLAMABAD - Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reform Professor Ahsan Iqbal has said that some 100 new stadiums would be built in the country to develop infrastructure for the promotion of sports activities.

The stadiums would be constructed with the help of provincial governments on 50:50 basis, the minister said while talking to sports journalists of Rawalpindi-Islamabad at National Sports City, Narowal. Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) Deputy Director General Mansoor Ahmed, Executive Engineer Ayaz Akbar and Media Director M Azam Dar were also present on the occasion.

Ahsan, who is also interior minister, said President Mamnoon Hussain would visit Narowal by the end of current month to inaugurate the National Sports City Narowal while an exhibition match would also be played on the occasion.

The minister said the National Sports City Narowal project was initiated in 2009, however, no funds were allocated for it during the Peoples Party government. He said after the 18th Constitutional Amendment, the ministry of sports was devolved to provinces, however, after coming into power in 2013, PML-N government restarted the project. So far, Rs 2 billion had been spent as the project would be completed by the end of current year by spending Rs 1 billion more.

Ahsan said that the Sports City would have facilities to play cricket, football, hockey, tennis, squash while it would also include an athletic track, a swimming pool, a gym and a gymnasium. He said three hostels and an administrative block had already been constructed in the city.

The minister said that after Islamabad, Peshawar, Karachi, Lahore and Quetta, the National Sports City would be next to provide such a range of sports services. The plantation drive was being started in the city, he added.

Ahsan said that the Punjab government had allocated 44 acres land for the project, however, on the recommendations of Pakistan Olympic Association (POA), 12 more acres were included in the project to provide international-standard facilities to sportsmen.

He said as many as 14 competitions of different games would be held in the stadium with the help of skilled coaches, while the city would feature world class service. He said the Sports City would be run by an autonomous company, which would be generating funds for it in addition to bringing sponsors. There would also be a four-star hotel and sports clinics in the premises of the city. He said PTI chief Imran Khan was a ‘big sportsman’ but he had done nothing for promotion of sports in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.