ISLAMABAD -Speaker National Assembly Sardar Ayaz Sadiq declared the National Games open amid colourful and impressive grand opening ceremony held at Pakistan Sports Complex Jinnah Stadium on Friday.

Former Pakistan skipper Javed Miandad carried the torch in front of Faisal Mosque along with number of Olympians, dignitaries and a huge crowd. The torch was carried through different roads and was handed over to Olympian and PHF chief Qasim Zia at the gate of Jinnah Stadium who handed over the torch to the chief guest Sardar Ayaz Sadiq.

Speaking at the occasion, Miandad thanked the organisers for honouring him and said the Games would give a clear message of peace, harmony and love from the people and athletes of Pakistan to the international community. “It is very important to give as much priority to other sports as given to cricket and there is an urgent need of given due recognition to all the sporting stars of the country. Government and well to dos must step forward and appreciate the favourite sons and daughters of the soil.”

All the departments and provinces except Wapda had reached the capital city. The competitive action will start from today (Saturday) at different venues. There was strict security witnessed in and around the Pakistan Sports Complex and number of well known artists also performed their skills and enthrall the pack-to-capacity crowd, which was witnessed after a very long time as last time such scenes were witnessed during the 1989 SAF Games in the capital.

The organisers and athletes looked very optimistic about the successful conduct of the Games and hopeful of winning laurels for their respective departments and provinces.

There was hardly satisfactory arrangements witnessed on the part of the organisers and complete mismanagement was witnessed. Nobody from the POA interim committee was available to handle the mess, as journalists and commoners were finding it really difficult to get the basic information as the media centre set up completely lacked professionals and all was left on the volunteers to cover the major lapses on the part of the organisers.

It will be difficult for the journalists to cover the event in professional way as several venues were selected and although they have promised to provide transportation yet nothing was done in reality.

Despite taking huge grant in the name of organising the Games in smooth and transparent manner, hardly any comprehensive maintenance/renovation work was witnessed. The PSB has claimed of spending Rs 30 million on renovation/maintenance, but the ground reality is completely different. How could it be possible that such a hefty amount was spent on whitewashing few buildings and that too by highly unprofessional persons and such was the mismanagement and wastage of funds that the PSB media centre was presenting a very shameful look as the roof of the centre, covered with artificial wallpapers, seemed broken from several places. Despite this scribe pointed it out to the relevant persons many times, nothing was done on part of the PSB.

Media centre has taken centre stage because local and foreign journalists will roam around the premises in the next couple of days and it will be shameful when they will see roof which was repaired by spending hardly few hundred thousands rupees. Where are the tall claims of the organisers and the PSB who promised to keep a close check on transparency of funds?

The entire drama is staged just to waste huge amount of national exchequer, as conducting of the Games in the month of June is not a right move because such hot and humid weather will create too many unwanted hurdles in the way of athletes and supporting staff.

The government should form an inquiry committee to seek comprehensive details of funds’ utilization as hefty amount of Rs 30 million can’t be spent on such minor maintenance and renovation.

Instead of wasting precious money on needless music shows and irrelevant things, the organisers should have given incentives to players and officials and this gesture would be highly lauded by them. But the organisers have other ideas as they want to give a glamorous touch to the event which is of no use to players and officials.

Holding such event is just wastage of time as well as a money game to let down Lt Gen (retd) Arif Hasan. The POA interim committee will get nothing from these so-called games but to invite trouble for the country at international level as the IOC has made it very clear that they accept only Gen Arif Hasan-backed POA. The IOC ban is looming on Pakistan and no one else but these so-called well wishers of the sports will be held responsible for the entire consequences.