There have been a few positive developments since the new DG PSB took charge.
A few days ago I had a meeting with the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) newly-appointed Director General Col (retd) Asif Zaman, a former squash player. He is very interested in sports development. And since taking charge he has made some good decisions and has already fulfilled demands of some of the federations regarding their training. He also contacts key sportsmen and tries to know about their issues. He wants consistency in performances and wants federations to boost their efficiency. It is his great desire to facilitate the national athletes during the next two years so that Pakistan could click in a number of events in line in the international circuit which includes the Commonwealth Games, Asian Games, Islamic Games and South Asian Games which Pakistan will host in early 2023.Pakistan direly needs to work hard for preparing state of the art infrastructure for the SAG. Hosting such Games will help us boost our sports facilities and we will purchase equipment which would be utilised for years to come and would give a real boost to our sports development. We have twice hosted SAG in the past but this time the event will be unique in the sense that it is being planned in four major cities of Punjab: Faisalabad, Gujranwala, Sialkot and Lahore. There are a number of disciplines whose major talent comes from these cities. And Sialkot is a big sports goods-manufacturing city.
It would be a positive step if POA and PSB worked with close coordination for achieving the milestone of hosting the SAG in the most befitting way.If PSB and POA worked in their respective domains then sports could be put on the right track. We have been missing this thing for years. I hope Col Asif will try his best to create a better environment with the support of the IPC minister Dr Fehmida Mirza who can do a lot if she wants to put the sports on the right track.
These days the PSB is getting input from national federations about the proposed sports policy and Col Asif has offered all sports fraternity to come and sit so that they could resolve the various issues. This is commendable.
The PSB should also study the international laws before finalising the policy.
The PSB should act as a facilitator and avoid regulating everything without taking into consideration the international sports laws.
I have gone through the model constitution of the PSB and I would say a simple thing and that thing is that DG’s powers should be boosted. If we are to effectively handle sports we will have to give more powers, both financial and administrative, to the DG PSB. The issue is that we need some issues to be resolved immediately and we need a powerful DG for that.
If we create further top posts in the Board’s structure it will really create a big issue. The PSB has very few officers competent enough to play a constructive role in sports development.
I remember Mr Khial Zad Gul, who had been given additional charge as DG PSB a few years ago, was not happy with the internal politics of the Board. He was a good man but issues were created for him and he faced a lot of hurdles.
I also advise Col Asif to remain vigilant as some people in the PSB hierarchy are very cunning and can put him in deep trouble. He should take every step quite carefully and create such a team which could deliver effectively.
Col Asif should also create windows for public-private partnership deals with those federations which are willing to join hands with the Board. It would not only minimise monetary pressure on the PSB but it could rather increase the Board’s finances.
The national federations need to coordinate with the Board as without state patronage they cannot deliver. We have seen during the last few years that the majority of the federations’ performance remained poot due to state funding issues. Without transgressing international laws both the PSB and federations should work side by side as it is the only way to promote sports.
Although it would not be possible to financially back all federations affiliated with the Board the state must professionally back those disciplines consistently who have the ability to earn medals in major international events.