KARACHI: Some of Pakistan’s top sportsmen were awarded gold medals on Saturday night by the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) for bringing laurels for the country.
Leading cricketers and hockey players were a part of a long list of sportsmen who were honoured at a reception hosted by the PIA Sports Department here at the DHA Golf Club.
PIA Chairman Tariq Kirmani gave away the medals and awards to several dozen sportsmen who excelled for Pakistan in games like cricket, hockey, squash and football.
“Our sportsmen have brought glory for Pakistan over the years and we are proud of their achievements,” Kirmani said at the occasion. “We have a galaxy of stars present here today who have been Pakistan’s flag-bearers for so many years,” added Kirmani who is also the president of the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF).
PIA’s sports chief Col (retd) Mudassar Asghar said the awards ceremony was planned because the national carrier wanted to acknowledge the services rendered by its sportsmen in various games.
Some of the prominent sports stars given awards at the ceremony included former Test cricketers Hanif Muhammad, Wasim Bari, Zaheer Abbas, Mushtaq Muhammad, Salim Altaf and Salahuddin Ahmed (Sallu). Also among the recipients were current national team players Shoaib Malik and Faisal Iqbal.
Prominent hockey players included Pakistan’s 1994 World Cup hero Shahbaz Ahmed, Manzoor Senior, Manzoor Junior, Abdul Rasheed Junior, Saleem Sherwani and Kamran Ashraf.
Squash legend Qamar Zaman was also given an award but former world champions Jahangir Khan and Jansher Khan — two of PIA’s most accomplished former employees — stayed away from the gala event.
Former national football coach Tariq Lutfi led a list of former and current football players who were given awards by the PIA chief.