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Pakistan to Make Esports an Officially Recognized Sport

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Amazing news for competitive gamers in Pakistan was announced today. Fawad Chaudhry, Federal Minister for Science and Technology of Pakistan, has announced that discussions between Pakistan Sports Board and Pakistan Science Federation are underway to make esports officially a recognized sport in Pakistan.

"A memorandum has been signed between Pakistan Sports Board and Pakistan Science Foundation after which E-Sports will get regular sports status," Chaudhry said on Twitter. "If you are interested in video games, get ready and new opportunities are waiting for you."

This comes just a week after the announcement that Pakistan would hold its first-ever national esports tournament sometime in March of 2020. While it is a government-run event, Chaudhry confirmed the tournament would also have private sponsors. In the past, Chaudhry has also shown interest in the gaming world discussing the possibility of video game design certifications in the country.

This sudden change in government policy may come as a shock after the Pakistan Telecom­munication Authority banned PUBG within the country in July of 2020, siting concerns about its addictive nature and adverse health effects on children's physical and psychological health.

PUBG is certainly popular in Pakistan with the largest tournament for the game bringing in 12000 4-man teams participated in it for a prize pool of over 35 lakhs PKR, the equivalent of about $21,840 in the US. Courts did eventually overturn the ban but the PTA refused to comply with the order until they had a direct meeting with the studio behind the game to be sure their concerns about PUBG were addressed.
There are many talented Pakistani esports competitors that will be able to compete at the event like EVO 2019 winner Arslan Ash. Portal Esports, a competitive esports organization in the country, might also field several teams. It will be exciting to see what the future of esports in Pakistan looks like with the government stepping in to foster its growth.