Saturday October 16, 2021

Waseem, facing visa issues, seeks meeting with PM

August 25, 2021

KARACHI: Since having played his last bout at Lahore on December 19, 2020, Pakistan’s professional boxer Mohammad Waseem has been facing issues in moving to his training destination Glasgow. After the UK put Pakistan on the red list, his chance to go to Glasgow has been further reduced. The Quetta-born fighter has applied for the US visa but from there no reply has yet been received even one month after he submitted his visa application.

MTK Global, his company, has now chosen Dubai for Waseem to train in. A UAE visa has already been secured for the fighter, the two-time WBC world flyweight silver champion and former WBC No1. But reaching Dubai is another issue for Waseem due to rigorous travel restrictions. He now will have to get an Uzbekistan visa, go there first, spend a 15-day quarantine before flying out for Dubai from there.

“Yes, it’s too hectic,” Waseem told ‘The News’ from Islamabad on Tuesday. “I applied for an Uzbekistan visa today. I will spend a 15-day quarantine there before moving to Dubai. It’s tough and unnatural for the athletes like us,” Waseem said.

“Look, no one in Pakistan is helping. It’s a huge issue for me. I am trying to meet the Prime Minister Imran Khan,” Waseem said.

“MTK is also very upset. It spends a lot on me and wants me to resume training at a place where I could also play my world title shot,” Waseem said.

“Look, in Uzbekistan I cannot train as it is uncertain due to Covid. If it puts travel restrictions then it may create an issue for me. Dubai will be good for me. I want to move there and MTK is doing all this for me. I have been granted a UAE business visa. In Dubai MTK has its best gym, and I may get good training,” Waseem said.

He wanted to get a diplomatic passport but the government did not help him. What he needs is a special passport which could facilitate him in securing visas of any country where he wants to go for training. “This is a crucial phase of my career. I am very close to winning the world title. But if I face such issues how can I focus on my game? I want the government to help me out,” said Waseem, who also won bronze in the 2014 Incheon Asian Games.

Waseem a few days ago told this correspondent in an interview that after winning his professional world title he would try to give time to amateur boxing and represent Pakistan in the 2024 Paris Olympics. But for that he will also need to travel abroad for training and the big question is who will help him out.

“Yes then what will happen, again there will be the same issues,” the fighter said.

Besides meeting with the premier, Waseem also wants to meet the Director General of the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) Col (retd) Asif Zaman and discuss with him his issues.