The Higher Education Commission (HEC) has invited talented sportsperson among youth across the country under Prime Minister’s Youth Programme (PMYP) and planned to get trials of interested male and female players of volleyball, badminton, table tennis and squash in 25 districts. According to the information available with Daily Times, the HEC set up the trial camps in Dera Murad Jamali (Sibi, Turbat), Khuzdar, Uthal-Hub, Quetta, Loralai, Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Mirpur, Gilgit, Muzaffarabad, Skardu, Bannu, Swat, Peshawar, Hazara, Mardan, Sialkot, Faisalabad, Lahore, Multan, Hyderabad, Karachi, Sukkur, Larkana and Shaheed Benazirabad. The PMYP was initially launched by the previous government of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) as the then prime minister Imran Khan had specially focused to empower youth as according to him this was the most precious asset of Pakistan. The journey started with the establishment of Youth Affairs Wing at PM House under supervision of the prime minister and classified the project into seven parts included as youth business loan scheme, skills development programme, talent hunt youth sports, green youth movement, digital youth development centers, national innovation award and national youth council. The aforementioned trials for seeking young talent have been started under talent hunt youth sports programme and the provided league intends to provide opportunities to the selected players after winning national leagues in their respective games. “The opportunities include provision of coaching and development facility under the patronage of Pakistan Sports Board and award of scholarships for pursuing higher education,” stated Javed Ali Memon, In-charge Sports and Co-Curricular Division, at the HEC. According to Memon, the selected players will be attached with sports academies (High Performance and Resource Center) to continuously develop their skills, competence and physical fitness that are required to be a professional player. According to the planned strategy of talent hunt youth sports programme, it was a long-term objective to develop HEC’s team and to develop a pool of talented young players to produce professional players composed of men and women that would compete and represent the country at national and international forums. Moreover, under this project the initiation of talent hunt sports movement in the country to develop sports culture was also aimed. The players between the ages of 15-25 years are asked to apply online. An official of the HEC while wishing anonymity said that the universities and higher education institutions in respective districts are also engaged to fulfill this task amicably. He regretted that the authorities concerned in each government in the past didn’t engage youth in extra-curricular activities as much as they should be or in par with international standards. He cited a recent UNDP survey report which stated that out of the 7,000 odd youth surveyed, when asked about access to recreational facilities and events, 78.6 percent said they had no access to parks, 94.5 percent had no access to a library, 97.2 percent had not been to a live music event, 93.9 percent had not been to a sports event, 93 percent did not have access to any sports facilities, 97 percent had not been to a cinema and 71.7 percent reported that they did not have access to or attend any of the above activities or events. However, he said, the talent hunt programme was a major initiative that could restore these neglected activities.