By Zulfiqar Memon
NAWABSHAH: The Shaheed Benazirabad district government on Thursday changed a marathon of ‘males and females’ into an ‘only male event’ schedule to be held in President Asif Zardari’s hometown on Aug 14, after receiving warnings from a religious party.
Earlier, a campaign was launched inviting maximum number of people including men, women and children to participate in the marathon through banners and posters displayed at every nook and corner of the city.
However, the situation took a 380-degree turn when a political party with a religious leaning objected over it and warned of putting it out of action through sit-ins. There was reportedly large-scale circulation of ‘sms’ inviting religious zealots to intervene in stopping the marathon.
The publicity material was immediately replaced with the ‘only male marathon’ motto on the plea that it was a typographical error. The District Coordination Officer Shaheed Benazirabad, Khurshid Naeem Malik also took the same stance while talking to Dawn.
Even District Officer Sports, Ali Nawaz Khaldi regretted over the typing mistake and said that there wasn’t any male and female marathon programme by the district government on August 14. The race would be for male participants only and the distance had been reduced from 25km to 8km only, he said.
The Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (F) had threatened to prevent the joint marathon.
Moulana Nazimuddin Burdi, member, JUI-F Sindh Shura and Moulana Abdul Karim Brohi, District President, JUI-F addressing a press conference at the press club on Thursday said that Pakistan was created in the name of Islam then why did the district government of Shaheed Benazirabad announce a marathon race of men and women.
They said that it was unethical and against the teachings of Islam.
They termed the district government’s decision as a ‘shameful act’ and reminded the government that the JUI-F were their coalition partners in the federal government and questioned as to how the district government decided a programme without taking into confidence their allies.
They said that had the plan taken place, the JUI-F activists would have blocked the marathon track by squatting on every inch of it. They said that they did not want to take law into their hands but wanted to prevent the event.They said that the District Nazim expressed his ignorance about such a programme and the DCO flatly refused to discuss anything.
However, the JUI-F conveyed the message to decision makers with a warning that the repercussions of such a plan would entirely be the responsibility of the district governmen.