Run Lahore Run Marathon tomorrow: Marathon will help promote Pakistanís image: Musharraf
* Attends inaugural dinner for Lahore Marathon runners
LAHORE: The Lahore International Marathon will help improve Pakistanís soft image and send a message to the entire world that Pakistanis were against all types of extremism and fundamentalism, said General Pervez Musharraf on Friday.
He was addressing the inaugural dinner hosted by Punjab Chief Minister Pervaiz Elahi in the honour of runners participating in Lahore Marathon being held on Sunday (tomorrow).
The president said that he was privileged to attend the gathering and that Pakistanis should project Pakistan as a moderate Islamic country that believes in the promotion of arts, culture and sports so that a softer image of Pakistan could be projected. The president congratulated the Punjab chief minister on arranging the marathon. Welcoming the participants, he hoped that such healthy events would be promoted.
The president said that Pakistan had a good sports record. He said that the government was re-organising the Pakistan Olympics Association and that it had planned a sports policy to encourage sporting competitions at schools, tehsils, districts and provinces. General Musharraf said that the government was also constructing infrastructure quickly to promote sports and urged private businessmen to encourage sports and sportsmen.
He said that the government was keen on constructing monuments like Bab-e-Pakistan. He said the Lok Virsa Museum, opened three years ago in Islamabad, had become the best museum in Pakistan that could be compared with any other museum in the world. He said that another monument was being constructed at the Zero Point in Islamabad. The president also referred to the setting up of the National Performing Arts Academy in Karachi.
The president also highlighted the governmentís steps to promote tourism. He said that a water sports project in collaboration with a Malaysian company was being started at Mangla Lake. He said that northern areas were being opened up for tourists and a coastal highway was being constructed for access to Pakistani coasts.
In his welcome address, the Punjab chief minister thanked the president and all the participants and sponsors of the marathon race for attending the dinner.
Ghous Akbar, the Chief Ministerís Task Force chairman, briefed the participants about the event and highlighted the concept of public-private partnership to encourage sports, arts and culture. He said that the task force had generated $1 million for the event.