ISLAMABAD           -          Pakistani-origin British boxer Amir Khan has responded to the SoS call given by former Pakistan No 1 squash player Riffat Khan and announced to bear all the expenses of her knee operation and also promised to send extra amount to buy squash gears.

Talking to The Nation from UK on Friday, Amir, who is a former unified light-welterweight world champion, said: “It hurt me to know that Riffat is suffering badly. Although it is the responsibility of Pakistani government, federation, IPC Minister and PSB, but being an athlete, I can’t see a top class player had to sacrifice her career just because of few bucks.

“I promise to not only bear all expenses of Riffat’s knee operation, but will also send her extra amount to forget about daily expenditures and just concentrate fully on her recovery process and then restart her playing career with great passion,” he added.

Amir said: “I am thankful to The Nation for bringing into my notice the sorry tale of a bright athlete. I promise to not only help one of the Pakistan’s top squash player Riffat Khan but will also continue to help other deserving athletes. Whenever this correspondent will inform me about any deserving athlete, I will come forward to help him or her. I have already spent lot of money on Pakistani boxers, hired top professional coaches for my Amir Khan Boxing Academy in Islamabad, where number of Pakistani youngsters are not only getting free training, but also making their futures bright.

“Usman Wazir is a highly talented boxer from Gilgit-Baltistan, who has great passion to excel and earn laurels for the country at international level. I will continue to lend a helping hand to such boxers and arrange their bouts at any given international platform,” he asserted.

Amir said he don’t have any lust of power nor want any personal glory. “Pakistan is blessed with so many places like Pakistan Sports Complex, but it really hurts to see all such infrastructures are being badly neglected. I time and again requested Pakistani government to allocate a land to me so that I could construct more boxing academies in different cities of Pakistan, but so far, no one is ready to pay heed towards this important issue.

“It is in fact helping Pakistan and their youth, if I get more land in other cities. I can produce world champions for Pakistan, who will win international medals for the country and will also earn the best livelihood for their families. I can’t believe that a sportsman Prime Minister like Imran Khan is ruling Pakistan and athletes are badly suffering. I also expect IPC Minister Dr Fahmida Mirza to step forward and help the future of Pakistan,” he added.

The international boxer said: “If I was not informed about Riffat by The Nation, I fear she might have lost all her dreams and only for few hundred thousand rupees, her glittering career might have ended on a very sorry note. It is disgusting, as I was also informed that Riffat’s entire family is involved in sports and had won number of international medals besides winning national titles. If Riffat gets such a rash treatment, then one can easily understand what others could have to bear.”

Meanwhile, Dr Shireen Mazari, Minister for Human Rights, who called this scribe to seek all the details of Riffat, soon called back and informed that Syed Ali Haider Zaidi, Federal Minister for Maritime Affairs, will bear all the expenditures of Riffat’s operation at Shifa International Hospital. Soon Riffat was contacted by Ali Zaidi’s office and she was told to get forms for operation’s date.

Talking to The Nation, Riffat was full of praise for the gesture shown by The Nation and take her voice to the government high-ups and also was thankful to Amir Khan for his kind gesture. “I was so depressed that I had made up my mind quit squash. But thanks to Amir Khan and Dr Shireen Mazari and Syed Ali Zaidi for their timely help and support and special thanks to The Nation, which played key role in saving my career. I will come back strongly and will recapture my number one spot back soon,” Riffat concluded.