G-B govt cancels ‘Women’s Sports Gala’ to hold Meena Bazar instead




The provincial government of Gilgit-Baltistan recently changed its decision to host the upcoming ‘Women’s Sports Gala 2022’ to hold a ‘Women’s Meena Bazaar’ instead, on the directives of the chief minister of Gilgit Baltistan (G-B).

Arrangements had been finalized for the first-ever Gilgit-Baltistan Women Sports gala 2022 which was set to begin on Oct 5. Less than a week ago, the Chief Secretary’s Office had announced that “daughters” all over the region were preparing with great “excitement” for the upcoming sports event, as per The Express Tribune.

However, in a tweet posted on Oct 4th, the G-B government cancelled its plans, announced that “the program will be conducted in accordance with Islamic values and local customs”.

Claims surfaced on social media that the change in the program’s agenda was in fact a consequence of protests that were held in Gilgit where some religious clergy dubbed the event as “unIslamic”.

 The change also did not go well with local activists and progressive collectives that have expressed concern over the development in the region.

National Women Front G-B, a progressive women’s collective from the region deemed the government’s decision a matter of “shame” and one that had been driven by fear. Local women were “wrong in trusting the state”, netizens wrote.

A member of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan in G-B lamented the state of women’s rights.

Noorena Shams, a Pakistani sportsperson also condemned the move saying that “All you [the government] have done is that you let the narrow-minded win and your daughters lose.”