Indian delegation invites IPC minister to South Asian Games

ISLAMABAD: An Indian delegation Wednesday met with Minister for Inter Provincial Coordination (IPC) Mian Riaz Hussain Pirzada at Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) and invited him at the opening ceremony of 12th South Asian Games scheduled at Guwahati and Shillong, India, from February 5 to 16.

The delegation was led by Member Parliament from Guwahati Shiribhubaneswar Kalipa, while other members include Indian Olympic Association’s (IOA) Secretary Rajeev Mehta, Joint Secretary Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports Government of India Onkara Kedia, Secretary to Government of India Ministry of Skills Development, Entrepreneurship, Youth Affairs and Sports AK Patro and a few other members of the Indian embassy in Islamabad.

From Pakistani side, Secretary IPC and Director General Sports Board Akhtar Nawaz Ganjera were also present in the meeting.

Speaking on the occasion, IPC Minister Mian Riaz Hussain Pirzada said the Indian delegation had come to welcome Pakistani players and their invitation was full of love and sincerity. He said South Asian Games was an international event so security for players definitely would be fool proof, adding, the participation of Pakistani palyers in SAG was subject to the written approval by the government.

Replying to a question, Pirzada said players were the ambassadors of love and they should not be attached with politics.  Sports between the nations help increasing affection in them as well, he added.

The minister said terrorism had affected sports in Pakistan but now after operation Zarb e azb, the situation had improved considerably.

He said Islamabad Sports complex was the best of the lot in Pakistan and the government was planning to revamp it.  The SAG will be held in Guwati and Shilang, which will continue for 12 days. Around 4300 players and officials will participate in the event, in which a total 23 disciplines will be held.

The Indian MP Shiribhubaneswar Kalipa said it was basically a goodwill visit planned to invite Pakistani players especially to the honorable minister. He said he was glad that Pakistani players would participate in South Asian Games, adding, all the facilities including security would be provided to Pakistani players.

As far as security of Pakistani players was concerned, Indian government was looking after the issue, he mentioned.  He said sports was all together separate from politics and both should not be mixed. He said he was really impressed with the natural beauty of Islamabad and hospitality of Pakistanis.Later, the Indian delegation was also awarded gifts from Pakistani side.


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