Gilgit Baltistan Girls Football League: One of It's Kind


The first of its kind football league, founded by two sisters from Hunza Valley, Karishma and Sumaira Inayat. On the 15th of August, 2019, the league was officially launched. A women's league, especially in a place like Hunza, demonstrates Pakistan's passion for football, but what will amaze everyone is the surface they play on, which is mud and stones near to the Gilgit river. The view is certainly breathtaking, but it is also perilous, as players risk injury.

Karishma, a brave and smart young girl who, with her sister Sumaira, represented Pakistan at the Jubilee games in Dubai in 2016, came up with the idea for the GBGFL, with the purpose of making football a way for girls from rural areas to find their way to a better future.

Organizing a competition on such a large scale in a place like Gilgit, according to the Inayat sisters, was difficult. With the support of their brother, they travelled from town to village to gather the necessary network of teams to begin the league. They discovered that the girls are quite enthusiastic about it and had their families' complete support. However, due to a lack of training facilities, the Inayat sisters trained the girls using all of their expertise obtained from the games they played, allowing them to compete in such a tournament. As a result, the GBGFL's first season began with eight clubs.

According to Karishma Inayat, "these tournaments help the girls in their educational careers. As the tournament is registered and the players get certificate of participation, it helps in getting admission in universities on the basis of sports scholarships."

Sumaira discusses the goals of the GBGFL and the challenges it faces: "The plan is to grow the League into a regional or national event, but we're doing rather well at the local level." It's an adventure to play on a flat surface with no grass, but there's no other option."

As of now, the 3rd season of GBGFL is underway, In Gojal's Passu valley, where teams from Shimshal, Chipurson, Passu, Khyber, Shishkat, Moorkhun, Ghulkin, and Gircha will compete. Previous GBGFL seasons were covered by national news outlets including as Dawn, Express Tribune, and Geo News.

"Our largest issue has been financing GBGFL," Karishma says of the hurdles they encounter. All of the players receive training equipment and travel assistance from us. We cover all of the expenditures on behalf of the players because their families cannot afford them." It was a difficult effort to raise funding for an all-girls football league in the far-flung northern regions, but the Inayat sisters have succeeded so far. “We reached out to local companies to inform them about the GBGFL and its positive impact on the society, and we are grateful that they trusted us with our project and gave us their full support. Sponsored by MG Apparel, PEL,, and with a special event organized by a clothing brand named ‘HER Pakistan’ organized about menstrual health for the girls participating in the league.

The profiles of the Inayat sisters are quite stunning. Karishma is a UGRAD (global undergraduate exchange programme) that grants scholarships to a group of bright students from around the world to study in US colleges for a semester. Sumaira, on the other hand, has finished a C-licensing coaching course with the Pakistan Football Federation. Their strong resumes have earned the sponsors' trust, and with their support, they hope to develop a nationwide event that will encourage women all over the country to participate in sports and healthful activities.

Among the GBGFL's football superstars are Karina Zia, Ambreena Baig, Mumi, Nadia, and Nabila. These are the players to watch in the third edition of the GBGFL, which takes place in the lovely Passu Valley.

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