ASIA/PAKISTAN - Sport is an instrument of aggregation and interfaith harmony among young people

Wednesday, 24 July 2019 youth   sports activities   dialogue   local churches  


Karachi (Agenzia Fides) - The young Christians of Karachi play hockey, basketball and even soccer in a land that for over ten years had been illegally stolen from them. They have fun and, through sport, they form friendships with young people of other religions. After a legal battle, thanks to the decision of the Supreme Court, the land returned to the availability of pastoral works of the Catholic community of Karachi, in particular to the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA).
"The ground is now again used as a Hockey ground. And soon a basket ball court will also be created", says Advocate Saleem Michael, a Catholic and member of “Justice Helpline”, an NGO formed by people of various faiths including Christians, Muslims and Hindus.
Advocate Michael welcomed the decision of the Supreme Court and said: "It is another success, after a long time, almost after 13 years we are able to stop this business of marriage ceremonies, business of decorators and food catering on the Church property".
Advocate Saleem Michael informed: "For decades this Church ground was used as a sport ground for Catholic youth and youth of other religions. Here quality hockey players that represented Pakistan at World Cups and Olympics were trained. This sports ground is not only a Christian property but is a National asset".
Dr. Sabir Michael, a minority rights activist speaking to Fides appreciated this initiative of the Government and said: "It is a good sign that Government has taken good initiative that ground is again turned into Sports ground, and people of all faith will come and play and learn how to live together". He adds: "Sports are always very important and inevitable for interfaith harmony, peace and self confidence among the people. When people play together, they learn discipline and to respect". Dr. Sabir Michael concludes: "This place has promoted the interfaith harmony in past and this chapter is started again and I hope it will in continuity". (AG) (Agenzia Fides, 24/7/2019)