Wednesday August 17, 2022

Government may revive departmental sports

By Our Correspondent
April 19, 2022

LAHORE: Prime Minister Mian Shehbaz Sharif has promised that issues of sportspersons who have lost their jobs due to the closure of departmental sports divisions would be addressed.

Sources close to the Sharif family revealed that this assurance came when Sindh Local Government Minister Nasir Hussain Shah requested Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to restore departmental cricket.

Nasir said that thousands of players and officials lost their jobs due to closure of cricket and other sports in departments. With appeals from different quarters floating in, the government is likely to consider reviving departmental sports in the country, sources said.

The sources stated that the government is considering reinstating all departmental sports teams, which were shut down by the former government.

He further stated that plans are being made to direct the departments to revive their sports teams. Former Test cricketer Iqbal Qasim, who was considered a big supporter of departmental cricket in the country, quit the chairmanship of the cricket committee in September 2020, citing the non-serious attitude of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) towards the issue.

Though Pakistan captain Babar Azam has remained mute on departmental cricket revival, his cousin Kamran Akmal, former captain Salman Butt and offspinner Saeed Ajmal have spoken in support of the departmental sports revival.

Former captain Misbah-ul-Haq and all rounder Mohammad Hafeez faced backlash from the Pakistan Cricket Board after they raised the issue with former Prime Minister Imran Khan in a meeting in Islamabad.

After the closure of departmental sports several cricketers, players, coaches, groundsmen and umpires and referees had to odd jobs to earn for their families.

Port Qasim Authority was the latest department to close its sports section. It did so just a day before Imran Khan was voted out. WAPDA, one of the biggest employers of sportspeople in the country, has asked its employees in the sports department to report for office duty.