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Kabaddi bonhomie: Pakistan team arriving today
SP Sharma/ TNS

Dignitaries’ visits

Sukhbir recently visited Pakistan Punjab and witnessed kabaddi action between two sides
Pak Punjab CM Shahbaz Sharif to visit Ludhiana on December 15 to witness final
Afghanistan Sports Minister Mohammad Zahir Aghbar witnessed inauguration in Bathinda on Saturday

Bathinda, December 2
The frequent engagement between the Indian and Pakistan kabaddi teams is expected not only to improve bilateral relations between the two countries, which have witnessed hostility in the past, but also foster friendly ties with other Asian countries.

The encounters between the two sides have increased ever since Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal took the initiative of organising the World Cup Kabaddi Championship three years ago. The 16-member Pakistan team is set to reach Punjab today close on the heels of the recent visit by the Indian side to Pakistan. The team could not cross over to India on second consecutive day today over a visa tangle.

While Sukhbir recently visited the Pakistan Punjab for five days and witnessed competition between India and Pakistan, his host and Chief Minister of Pakistan Punjab Shahbaz Sharif showed equal warmth by appreciating Sukhbir’s efforts and confirming his visit to Ludhiana on December 15 to witness the final.

He will also interact with trade and commerce organisations during his visit. Sharif reportedly said the ‘Joint Business Committee’ constituted by both Punjabs would boost trade and commerce through the Wagah border.

Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has from time to time urged the Centre to reopen the trade routes to Pakistan through Hussainiwala in Ferozepur and Sadqi in Fazilka. The direct interaction between the leaders of the two sides is also expected to put a check on smuggling of drugs from Pakistan.

Speaking at the Asia Kabaddi Cup at Lahore, Sukhbir expressed hope that drug addiction could be checked if the youth’s energy could be channelled towards sports.

Chaudhary Shujaat Hussain, a former Prime Minister of Pakistan and president of the Pakistan Kabaddi Association, had witnessed the World Cup Kabaddi final at Ludhiana last year. He had also stressed the need to end hostility between the two countries.

Sukhbir says the kabaddi tournaments only reiterate the resolve of the peoples of both countries to restore the glory of traditional games and make collective efforts towards this direction. He has stressed the need to boost sports between India and Pakistan.

Sukhbir stresses that Asian countries should chalk out a collective strategy to hone the talent of its budding players in traditional games. This will prepare them for competition at the international level, he says.

In a step towards this direction, a kabaddi team from Afghanistan has arrived to participate in the tournament. Afghanistan Sports Minister Mohammad Zahir Aghbar was in Bathinda yesterday to witness the inaugural ceremony.

Public Relations Minister Bikramjeet Singh Majithia described the engagement between the teams of India and Pakistan as a confidence building measure.

Sports and cultural exchange was the best means to foster cordial relations among the neighbouring countries. He stressed that kabaddi had brought Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan on one platform in Punjab.





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