ISLAMABAD   -   Pakistan Tenpin Bowling Federation (PTBF) secretary Ijaz Ur Rehman has lashed out at current government, terming its policies as anti-sports.

In an interview with The Nation, Ijaz, who is a professional bowler and has represented the country in countless international events, besides winning national championships for record times, said: “It was hoped that Prime Minister Imran Khan, who won cricket world cup for Pakistan, would understand how much sports play crucial role in building the character of the youth and sports fraternity.

“We had pinned great hopes in PTI government, but in last 8 months or so, Pakistani sports have witnessed the worst ever period, as there are no funds for last one year. How on earth the federations can fulfill their national obligation without funds and without government interest,” he added.

He said: “I have been running form pillar to post for last 5 years and requested former IPC Minister Mian Riaz Hussian Pirzada and former DG PSB Akhtar Ganjera to sign a joint venture with the PTBF. All matter was discussed and approved by the PSB executive committee as well, but despite the lapse of more than 5 years, nothing on ground was done.

“If the PSB had paid heed towards my suggestions and three PCI-I, I had tabled with the PSB, today the things would have been completely different and the PSB would have generated sufficient amount of funds instead of relying on government funds, which they could distribute among 39 affiliated federations,” he added.  The PTBF Secretary said: “I can challenge that the PTBF is the only federation in Pakistan, which organised different events round the year, conducted training programmes and also held women and kids tournaments. It is not only done in Islamabad but also in other major cities of the country and without a single penny’s support from the PSB and government.

“Yap Rogers, the Singaporean tenpin bowling organiser, will arrive on May 25 on the invitation of PTBF to discuss holding international bowling event in Pakistan. I once again request IPC Minister Dr Fahmida Mirza to spare sometime and invite genuine federations, who are working to win medals and international laurels for the country.

“Without her personal interest, the things would further aggravate and already sheer depression has put athletes in the houses. If such situation further continues, I am afraid that Pakistani athletes will never be able to win international medals and no one else but current government will be held responsible,” he added.  Ijaz said: “We have planned to start talent hunt programme from June 20 in which not only male but female bowlers will be provided with free coaching on highly concessional rates so that they may come and learn how to play bowling. They will be provided opportunities to represent the country in international mega events. The talent hunt programme will be held at Leisure City Bowling Club, Jinnah Park in collaboration with PTBF.

“I once again offer the IPC Minister that the federation is ready to host international bowling event in Pakistan. We need at least 24-lane bowling alley for that purpose and it is by no means out-of-the-moon task. If the Minister wants international bowlers applying their trade in front of locals, then she has to take active steps. It is my promise and challenge that more than 200 top bowlers (male and females) of at least 100 countries will arrive Pakistan for the mega event,” he added.

The PTBF Secretary said that they are also holding Azadi Cup, which is a trade mark event in PTBF annual calendar from August 9 to August 14. “It will a tribute for forefathers, who lay down their lives to get an independent state for the Muslims.

“If we manage to construct 24-lane alley at the PSB premises, which was long overdue, trust me it will not only help international sports revival in Pakistan, but also help tourism industry as well, as hundreds of thousands of tourists will travel to Pakistan to witness tenpin bowling event and also visit different places of our beloved country,” he added.

“It is my request to PM Imran Khan to order release of funds for the federations and also establish training camps. I have lot of ideas and suggestions. The PM should invite the federations to get inside details. If capital is made sports city, it will help portray very positive image of the country across the globe,” Ijaz concluded.