Lahore: Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif has said that participation of players from more than 24 countries of the world in Punjab International Sports Festival 2012 is proof of this fact that we are promoters of peace and conducive atmosphere for sports exists here. He said that presence of teams from India, UK, Sri Lanka, Iran and other countries for taking part in international competitions in the provincial metropolis is a clear proof for those people who consider that games cannot be held in Pakistan. The Chief Minister invited them to see well attended sports festival personally. The Chief Minister announced that cricket and hockey matches between Indian and Pakistani Punjab will be held after every two years and first tournament in this connection will be held in Lahore.
He was addressing the inaugural ceremony of Punjab International Sports Festival at National Hockey Stadium, here today. Deputy Chief Minister of Indian Punjab Sukhbir Singh Badal, members of Indian delegation, Iranian Consul General in Lahore, Mohammad Bani Asadi, provincial ministers, parliamentarians, renowned players and a large number of people attended the ceremony. Deputy Speaker Punjab Assembly Rana Mashood Ahmad Khan threw light on international event.
Addressing the ceremony, Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif welcomed arrival of teams from all over the world including India and expressed the hope that the people will witness recreational and sports competitions through international sports festival. He said that three wars between Pakistan and India during the last 65 years resulted in poverty, unemployment and destruction. He said that now we have to start new journey of friendship and both the countries will have to fight on trade, sports, technology, imports and exports and economic fronts. The Chief Minister said that we have to march forward jointly for the progress and prosperity of their masses. He said that if Europe can set up European Union and joint market after fighting with each other for centuries then we can also march forward by resolving water, Kashmir and all other issues like good neighbors. While accepting the invitation extended by Deputy Chief Minister of Indian Punjab, Shahbaz Sharif warmly welcomed Indian delegation. He said that joint business council has been set up for enhancing trade cooperation between both the countries which will take steps in this regard. He said that we have to give proof of constructive approach and good neighbors through sports and trade and made it clear to the world that we have the capability of resolving all problems by sitting together.
Addressing the function, Deputy Chief Minister of Indian Punjab, Sukhbir Singh Badal said that people of Punjab are fortunate to have a hardworking and capable Chief Minister like Shahbaz Sharif who has arranged this sports festival through his vision. He said that they will never forget the love and affection they received in Lahore. He said that only those nations progress which provide opportunities to the young generation for showing their talent. He said that Shahbaz Sharif deserves congratulations who not only gathered players from Punjab but all over the world in Lahore. He also extended invitation to the Chief Minister Punjab Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif for participation in kabaddi cup as a chief guest to be held in Indian Punjab. Earlier, Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif formally inaugurated Punjab International Sports Festival 2012.