India-Pakistan Kabaddi matches will strengthen cultural ties

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Amritsar, Nov.10 : With efforts to revive and strengthen cultural relations between India and Pakistan being taken to create a congenial atmosphere among people on both sides of the divide, sports is also holding a lot of promise.

The second match of the Kabaddi series was played at Gopalpur Stadium in Majitha city on Sunday (Nov.8).

The cheers for Indo-Pak Kabaddi players by sports loving villagers of Majitha literally pushed partition into oblivion here.

"The fervor of sports lovers spoke volumes about the success of ongoing confidence building measures. The Indo-Pak Kabaddi match will go a long way in strengthening the ties between the two countries," said Bikram Singh Majithia, the Information and Public Relations Minister of Punjab, while addressing the mammoth gathering of sports lovers who converged in Amritsar from far off places to cheer the India and Pakistan Kabaddi teams.

Both the teams were here for the second match the five-Test match series to be played at different venues of the state from November 5 to 14, to commemorate the Tercentenary Celebrations of Guruta Gaddi Diwas or Guruship of Sri Guru Granth Saheb.

The Indian Kabaddi team won the match with 53- 38 points. The second match's results have made the score even after both the teams winning one match. Pakistani team playing at Nanded had won the last match. Both the teams have been rewarded rupees 100,000 each as prize money. hile bilateral talks are on between India and Pakistan governments, the Punjab led by Parkash Singh Badal, has facilitated the movement of trucks across the international border to encourage trade.

Moreover, cultural exchange programmes with performances of artists from across the border are also being held as a regular feature.

Punjab with the support of Punjab Kabaddi Association has organized this ongoing series of international Kabaddi matches. The series is another step in that direction of creating a friendly environment.

"Sports are a vital part of our life and Kabaddi amongst all games is the native rural sport of Punjab in India as well as Pakistan. Interacting with the Pakistani team, giving them an opportunity to be amongst the ruralites of Punjab and cheering them on our homeland is one of the best opportunities to strengthen mutual relations," Majithia said.

"We need to work on multi-pronged strategy to further the Confidence Building Measures ( CBMs) between the two nations," he added.

The minister for Information and Public Relations, Majithia also appealed to the Central Government to be sensitive towards the feelings of countrymen and make a process of procurement of visa easier so that mutual interaction amongst masses becomes easier.

"The Govt. Of India should also convince the Pakistan Govt. to open up a visa centre at Amritsar so that Punjabis are given due opportunity to pay obeisance at their centres of pilgrimage that are now in Pakistan," he added.

He also appealed to both the governments for unconditional release of prisoners of wars (PoWs) of 1965 and 1971. Speaking on the occassion, Sikander Singh Malooka, the President of Bathinda District, Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) and President Punjab Kabaddi Association, informed that the final match of the series would be played at the Sports Stadium in Bathinda on November 14.

Member of Parliament and President Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) Sukhbir Singh Badal will be the chief guest and would distribute cash prize of rupees 400,000 to the winners of the series and 300,000 to the runner-up team. By Ravinder Singh Robin

ANI

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