Sports Diplomacy in Pakistan


In this modern age as the world is becoming a global village through trade, travel and media, new dimensions of diplomacy are emerging such as educational, cultural and most importantly sports diplomacy - sports diplomacy, unlike other forms of diplomacy. There is no barrier because sport is an international phenomenon that transcends linguistic, national and cultural boundaries – true sportsmanship, like the objectives of traditional diplomacy, promotes friendship, respect and tolerance, among other universal values. Therefore, using sports as a means of diplomacy is valuable to create opportunities for peaceful coexistence between nations.

The term sports diplomacy was introduced in the 1950s when great changes took place in the world after the Second World War and when efforts were being made to improve relations between nations - during this time, football matches were held between the United States and Russia to improve relations between the two countries. In the same way, tennis matches were organized between England and Germany which could improve the relations between the two countries - thus the term sports diplomacy was coined which made the world realize that sports should now be used as a means to improve relations between nations.

The evolution and promotion of sports in Pakistan started formally after the establishment of Pakistan. Before that, various sports were played under the management of the British government. In the early period, sports like cricket, hockey, football, tennis, kabaddi and badminton were formally started, but later cricket became the most popular sport in Pakistan, and due to its growth and development, other sports have also gained popularity. Currently, various sports are held including cricket, hockey, football, tennis, badminton, basketball, volleyball Golf, Swimming and Kabaddi etc. - Cricket is the most popular sport of Pakistan which is less popular than other sports. Pakistan Olympic Association, Pakistan Cricket Board, Pakistan Football Federation, Pakistan Sports Federation, Pakistan Basketball Federation, Pakistan Hockey Federation, Pakistan Boxing Federation, Pakistan Central Committee for Sports Development, Pakistan Sports Trust, Pakistan Sports Video Games Authority, Asian Games Authority, Association of National Olympic Committees, Association of Pakistani Hockey, Association of Pakistani Sports Development etc. In addition to this many other sports are also regulated in Pakistan and new policies are formulated for different sports.

Sports Development Policies in Pakistan

v  Policy for development of legal framework regarding sports.

v  Policy for Sports Development Facilities.

v  Policy for organization, training, development and promotion of sports.

v  Policy for Sports Fund.

v  Policy of formation of different federations for the development of different sports.

v  Policy for Promotion and Availability of Sports Education.

v  Policy for the role of media in sports promotion.

v  Policy for the formation of various sports bodies (like the Federal Sports Board, and Pakistan Cricket Board).

Sports diplomacy of Pakistan has a rich history of diplomacy, where sports have been used as a tool to influence diplomatic, social and political relations – from cricket to hockey, Pakistan has a strong sports culture and its players have played a key role in promoting the country's image globally. Cricket is by far the most popular sport in Pakistan and Pakistan has a long and proud history in the sport. The national cricket team in 1992 won several major tournaments, including the World Cup, and produced some of the best players in the world (such as Imran Khan, Wasim Akram, and Shahid Afridi), Pakistan also has a long list of notable players in cricket.

Cricket has played a key role in Pakistan's sports diplomacy efforts—Pakistan hosted several international tournaments, including the 1987 and 1996 Cricket World Cups, which helped promote the country's soft image but also brought higher incomes and tourism was also boosted. Similarly, Pakistan's national sport of hockey has played a key role in efforts for sports diplomacy. In hockey, Pakistan has won the Olympic gold medal three times and the World Cup four times in addition to the 1984 Champions Trophy. It has also hosted many international tournaments including the 1990 World Cup.

Furthermore! sports activities at the international level have also been important for Pakistan. Pakistan Cricket Team has played an important role in reviving international sports in the country and improving Pakistan's cooperation at the international level. Sports have always attracted people and it has played an important role in bringing them together and this is a fact, especially in the case of Pakistan. Pakistan's national teams strengthen ties with Pakistanis living around the world and send a message of friendship to other countries through sports.

In recent years, Pakistan has also made significant progress in other sports such as squash and snooker. The country has produced many world-class players in these sports, and they have brought the country's name to the world stage. Pakistan has also hosted several international tournaments, including the 2017 World Squash Championship.

Sports diplomacy has played a key role in improving diplomatic relations between Pakistan and other countries – for example, cricket has been used as a tool to improve relations between Pakistan and India. Hockey has also been used to improve relations between Pakistan and its brotherly neighboring country Iran.

The writer is a media student at SZABIST, he can be reached at