Lahore - Chief Minister Punjab Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi has said that Major departments and companies should give jobs to athletes so that they can concentrate on winning laurels for the country setting aside financial worries.

He was speaking as chief guest at Pride of Punjab and Lifetime Achievement Awards Ceremony here at Nishtar Park Sports Complex Gymnasium Hall on Monday. Punjab Minister for Sports and Youth Affairs Malik Taimoor Masood, Advisor to Chief Minister for Information Omer Sarfraz Cheema, Chief Secretary Punjab, Kamran Ali Afzal, MPA Sania Kamran, Secretary Information Raja Mansoor, Vice Chairman Sports Board Punjab Rao Zahid Qayyum, Secretary Sports and Youth Affairs Punjab Ali Jan Khan, Director General Sports Punjab Muhammad Tariq Qureshi also attended the ceremony.

Olympian javelin thrower Arshad Nadeem, weightlifter Nooh Dastgir Butt, veteran wrestler Din Muhammad, snooker world champion Ahsan Ramzan, sports administrators Maj Gen (R) Muhammad Akram Sahi and Arshad Sattar, wrestlers Inam Butt, Zaman Anwar, Ali Asad and Sharif Tahir, Olympian Shabana Akhtar, badminton coach Zarina Waqar and athletics official Mohammad Ijaz, son of late athletics legend Abdul Khaliq, were also present on this occasion.

“There is a dire need to provide jobs and employment to our national athletes to help them become financially viable and strive to earn laurels for the country,” said the Chief Minister Punjab. Pervaiz Elahi urged the vice-chancellors of different varsities to lay special emphasis for the promotion of sports in educational institutions. “The joy of getting a gold medal in the field of sports is unmatched and commendable,” he said.

The CM said the sports sector that was neglected in the past but now it will be revived and make functional. “Gymnasiums and sports complexes will be built for wrestlers in four cities including Gujranwala, Lahore, and Multan,” he said and added: “Foreign and good coaches will be brought to polish the talent of our youth.”

Pervaiz Elahi said that a 25-storey complex will be built near the Gaddafi Stadium by spending a huge amount. “The Punjab government will give 30% and the UAE government will contribute 70% in the construction of the new complex,” said the CM. With the construction of a modern complex, it will be easier to hold cricket matches in Lahore instead of neutral venues abroad.

The CM Punjab said women will be coached and encouraged in sports other than cricket. He also announced to give a house to Pakistan’s first gold medalist athlete Din Muhammad. He went to seat of the veteran athlete and presented the gold medal to Din Muhammad. Pervaiz Elahi also announced to give a snooker table worth Rs 1 million to snooker champion Ahsan Ramzan.

Speaking on the occasion, Punjab Minister for Sports and Youth Affairs Malik Taimoor Masood said: “It is memorable day in Punjab’s sports history when we gathered here to honour our national sports heroes. CM Punjab Pervaiz Elahi is taking keen interest in the promotion of sports and that’s why he has announced to construct a modern stadium. I congratulate the parents, coaches and team management of medal winning athletes, who are our national heroes.”

On this occasion, Punjab Sports Minister Malik Taimoor presented a traditional turban and a special souvenir to CM Punjab Ch Pervaiz Elahi. In return, the CM Punjab also presented a traditional turban to the Punjab Minister for Sports.