GILGIT: With only a day to go to Gilgit-Balistan’s first women’s sports gala, some groups are still trying to get the event cancelled on the pretext that it is against the religious and cultural values.
Dozens of people protested on Tuesday outside the Lalak Jan Stadium in Gilgit, the venue of the gala that starts Wednesday. Cricket, basketball, tennis, badminton, squash, table tennis and hockey tournaments are part of the event.
The protesters also forced traders to shut their shops.
GB Chief Secretary Mohyddin Ahmad Wani is the driving force behind the gala, and is said to be in commmunication with the protesters - including religious party leaders.
He has said that all activities would be held in line with the area’s values.
The opposition parties in GB have since announced their support for the event on the same condition.
Before that, the GB Food Minister Shams Lone had told area reporters that such an event was unacceptable and that he would leave no stone unturned in ensuring that it did not take place.
It led to a swift denunciation on social media of the minister and those advocating against holding the event or calling for its cancellation.
Squash star Noreena Shams made a rather pertinent observation.
National footballer Karishma Ali urged people not to entertain the ‘goons’ trying to stop girls from playing sports.
“They can cry all they want!”
“This ground is fit to host prayers, men’s boxing events, cultural dances and everything else but cannot host a women’s event,” wrote national cricket team star Diana Baig.