ISLAMABAD - Samina Baig was honoured by Inter Provincial Coordination (IPC) Ministry on Friday for keeping the country’s flag high and becoming the first ever female mountaineer to climb the world’s largest peak Mount Everest.

IPC Minister Syed Riaz Hussain Pirzada handed over a cheque of Rs 2.5 million announced by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for Samina as a token of appreciation. Talking to The Nation, Samina said: “It is a great honour for me and will encourage other females to take keen interest in mountaineering. I am grateful to Prime Minister for acknowledging my efforts.”

Samina, 21, said: “Now my next task is to climb seven continents of the world and we are already working on that plan. I am hopeful we will be able to fulfill our dream sooner rather than later.”

Sharing his views, the IPC Minister said: “Samina is the daughter of the nation and she brought great honour for the country. She has presented the soft image of the country and showed the world that we are a sports loving nation. Although it is a very meager award as compare to her achievement yet it will encourage not only her but also others to earn more laurels for the country.”

To a query regarding fake federations and their participation in international events without NOCs from the government or PSB, Pirzada replied: “We have taken strong notice of this issue and sent directives to all the airports that no team or individual who want to represent country will be allowed to depart without NOC from the government or PSB. It is like putting all such players or federations name on ECL, as we have also written letter to Ministry of Foreign Affairs and sought their help in implementing these directives.”

“We have also written to the federations to send complete audit report of their accounts regarding funds they receive from international bodies, as there is no record available with the PSB or IPC in this regard,” he said and added: “We have also sent letters to DC’s to verify the clubs and associations in each district. We are focusing on organising inter-school championships, which are very beneficial to hunt future stars for the country. We have also requested the concerned ministry to make sure when ever a new housing society of 500 houses is launched, it will be mandatory for them to have a playground in every sector. We have also established a vigilant committee under the command of joint secretary Tariq Zaman to check corruption and the funds and their utilization should be made transparent.”

“We will also encourage public/private partnership to explore talent. The PSB will provide funds to private clubs and if they bring up a suitable plan, they will get affiliation and start getting annual grants from the PSB,” the minister stated.

Sharing his views, DG PSB Syed Amir Hamza Gilani once again retreated his commitment that no such federation would be given funds which failed to abide by government sports policies, establish parallel bodies or try to blackmail the PSB. “Our doors are always open for all such federations who are working in accordance with 2005 Sports Policy and holding events on regular basis. We will not only raise their annual grants but also provide them with special grants to hold national events or to hold or appear in international events,” Gilani concluded.