ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) governing board on Wednesday decided to vacate the Liaquat Gymnasium of the Pakistan Sports Complex where Rangers personnel have been staying for over a month.

Recently, the National Assembly Standing Committee on Inter-provincial Coordination (IPC) directed the PSB to get the gymnasium vacated emphasising sports facilities are meant for sports only.

It is relevant to mention that around 2,000 Rangers personnel have been staying at the Liaquat Gymnasium since May 24 when they were called in by the federal government for security purpose during the long march of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf.

The governing board meeting, which was held in Islamabad with Federal Minister for IPC Ehsan-ur-Rehman Mazari in the chair, took up the matter of Rangers’ stay at the gymnasium and directed the PSB to get the premises vacated.

“It was decided that the Ministry of IPC will take up the case with the Ministry of Interior regarding vacating the Liaquat Gymnasium from Pakistan Rangers Troops within a week’s time,” read the minutes of the PSB governing board meeting.

PWF AFFILIATION SUSPENDED

Meanwhile, the board discussed various other matters on its agenda.

In a notable decision, it suspended the affiliation of the Pakistan Weightlifting Federation (PWF) for being involved in a number of malpractices and the doping controversy featuring the country’s weightlifters.

In April this year, six Pakistan weightlifters were suspended by the International Weightlifting Federation (IWP), two for using banned substance and four for refusing to give their blood sample to international anti-doping body.

While approving the affiliation of the Pakistan Amateur Circle Kabaddi Federation, the governing board decided to give two months to the federation for preparing the requisite documents for the affiliation.

The board also decided to grant provisional PSB affiliation to the Pakistan Long Range Riffle Association for a period of one year.

According to the minutes, the board also decided that the 14th South Asian Games will be held in November 2023. However, input from the national sports federations regarding venues for different SAG disciplines may be sought.

As per the government policy, the PSB will sponsor the Pakistani athletes having excellent performance record and medal chances, added the minutes.

However, the Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) may like to sponsor more players for this year’s Commonwealth Games (Birmingham) and the Islamic Solidarity Games (Konya).

“If any of them gets a medal for the nation, the government/PSB will not only reimburse the participating expenditure but lucrative cash incentive will also be given [to medial-winning athletes],” read the minutes.

The board also approved the enhancement of rates of boarding and pocket allowance for the camp trainees and fixation of rates of special/extra diet to potential athletes. The board also ratified the adoption of minimum gross monthly salary of Rs25,000 for PSB employees.

Earlier, during the start of the meeting, while denying the reports regarding the discontinuation of pension and other benefits to the PSB, the IPC minister said that allied benefits will continue to be paid to PSB employees and no one would be ousted from service.

The board members said that terms and conditions for the existing employees cannot be changed during service as has already been decided by the courts in a number of cases.

Published in Dawn, July 7th, 2022

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