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Sunday October 24, 2021

‘Government-funded BISL not helping Balochistan squash players’

September 26, 2021

KARACHI: Balochistan International Squash League (BISL) is not going to help international squash return to the province despite its claim to highlight the peaceful image of Pakistan in general and Balochistan in particular.

“I fully agree that there is no promotion of squash like this and neither World governing body will allow international squash in Quetta due to this league,” said an official of Pakistan Squash Federation (PSF) while communicating with an official of Balochistan Squash Association.

The first edition of BISL was held in November 2018 in Quetta in which players from Britain, Mexico, Malaysia and Hong Kong participated.

In November 2019, former world squash champion Karim Abdel Gawad from Egypt along with other prominent foreign players participated in the second edition of the BISL.

The Balochistan government was the sponsor of this league and issued Rs10 million in this regard, which attracted criticism from both BSA and local squash fraternity.

BSA chairman said that over Rs11 million was spent on the league at a time when the province was facing acute shortage of drinking water.

He added that thousands of dollars were paid to foreign players for participation even though it was not a PSA sanctioned event.

A coach from Sindh said that this league was completely a useless activity and the only person who benefited from this was the promoter of the event.

The coach added that the board of BISL should have considered how it would help the game of squash in the province and the players of the country.

“This sort of decision is very bad as they are just wasting huge amounts of money with zero outcome. The money should have been spent on the development of players and squash in Balochistan,” said the coach.

In November 2020, four international squash players participated in the third edition of BISL and the government of Balochistan intended to issue Rs20 million for the championship.

Chief Justice Balochistan High Court (BHC) issued a stay order on a constitution petition filed by Chairman BSA against the provincial government for issuing funds for the league.

In 2021, the fourth edition of BISL was converted into Southern Punjab International Squash Tournament that was held in February in Multan.

Interestingly, the BISL organisers snubbed local players by not providing them opportunities to play this event.

The event was played at a 4-wall glass court at DHA Multan in which 20 international squash players, including a former world champion, participated.

The organisers instead of giving local players chances to play against these top players chose to give byes to foreign players.

“Four players in this event were given byes though the organisers could have easily given those four places to local players,” said an international referee associated with PSF.

“Millions of rupees are being given to foreign players to come and play in Pakistan which is irrational,” said the referee.