Sports for Peace Building – The Most Powerful Weapon That We Possess

Friday, 28th June, 2019 – Karachi – Global Neighborhood for Media Innovation (GNMI), under the umbrella of its iconic initiative Media Baithak organized a dialogue and performance session on the topic of “Sports for Peace Building: The most powerful weapon that we possess”. The objective of this dialogue and performance was to mobilize sport authorities, government and media to incorporate sports for development and peace in their policies, utilizing the power of sport experts and talent available in Pakistan, and the important role media can play to achieve this objective.
When it comes to priorities, sport and play were never seen as an integral part of development. Here in Pakistan, cricket has become a brand and product, it has its own sponsors while other sports are still seeking assistance from the state which is by law state’s responsibility.” Rashid Quereshi, Director Physical Education, University of Karachi emphasized the importance of sports and physical activities and the crucial linkages between sports, peace and sustainability. 

The Dialogue participants also urged governments, civil society and development agencies to firmly place sports in all policies and programmes.

“Sports prevails in the environment around it, if any area in the city has sports facilities and infrastructure, productive sport becomes second nature of the residents of the vicinity, like we had huge grounds in Nazimabad and this area gave international sports persons to the nation, when the ground were converted into commercial plazas the trend of production of sports persons shifted to Federal B Area, this unfortunate exercise continued shifting from area to area; Malir Landi, SITE area and now it’s in the vicinity of liyari and Hawks bay and we are seeing good football players production from this locality.” Zafar Iqbal, Former International Cricketer added.

To a question about what was being done to include women in sports, Rabia Shahzad, International Weight lifter and Batool Fatima, International Cricketer replied that in some of the cases girls themselves are not interested in sports and in most of them, parents don’t allow. But now society is reviewing the attitude towards girls participate in sports.

“It is said what is current it is currency , and now social media is a current trend, yes, this is unfortunate that main stream media does not highlight the sports achievements at grass root level and several un sung sports heroes remain unnoticed which kills the motivation of sports person. But now, sports player, by using blogging and vlogging can promote themselves.” Hamza Haider, Administrator GG Cycling Club, highlighted the importance of social media for sport activities. 

All the participants agreed on that Sport has the power to convey essential human values, such as respect, discipline, sacrifice, solidarity, courage, and ethics. These values seem more critical today than ever—particularly in the resolution of significant peace issues, sport can be an engine for positive change and development. It unifies those of all faiths, cultures, and languages. And they are the mandatory tools of peace building process.

Panelists who made the dialogue a thought-provoking session were Rashid Quereshi , Director Physical Education Department, University of Karachi ; Rabia Shahzad, International Weight-Lifting Champion; Zabe Khan, Director Leisure League Football Club; Batool Fatima, Former International Cricketer; Zafar Iqbal, Former International Cricketer; Sagheer Abbas, Sports Analyst; Hamza Haider, Administrator GG Cycling Club; and Arbab Fahim, Royal Ramble Wrestling Champion. The dialogue sessions were moderated by senior sports anchors Naseem Rajput and Shoaib Jutt. 

An important part of the sports dialogue, a photo exhibition displaying the works of veteran photojournalist Mr. Tahir Jamal was organised at Media Baithak art gallery as a tribute for his hard work. He captured some of the most iconic moments of local sport. Participant enthusiastically showed interest in the exhibition.

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