Islamabad-Former 8-time world squash champion Jansher Khan has said that revival of international squash here will certainly help Pakistan squash and its players to excel at higher level.

In an interview with The Nation, Jansher said: “The successful conduct of three $25,000 PSA events in Pakistan is a clear proof that the country is completely safe for all kinds of sporting activities and now the PSA and World Squash Federation (WSF) must allow Pakistan to host high-prize money events, which will ensure not only top PSA players’ participation but also open floodgates of international squash revival in Pakistan and also provide life-time opportunity to local players to play and learn from world’s best squash players.”

Jansher said the way three back-to-back PSA events were conducted namely COAS, CNS and CAS and the way mega international players entered their names in those events was quite heartening. “Now the fourth and last $25,000 event is right down the corner. I hope this will also be conducted in successful and trend-setting manner. Pakistan Squash Federation (PSF) should plead their case with the PSA and the WSF and demand $50,000 or above events for Pakistan.

“If PSF succeeds in getting $50,000 or above squash events, it will ensure top 10 players’ participation, as they can’t ignore events like Pakistan Open because of two reasons, firstly money and secondly PSA points on offer. The $25,000 events can’t attract top-ranked players, mainly, PSA points on offer are not much to attract them,” he added.

The former squash champion said signs were quite positive for Pakistani players, as the way two Pakistani players Farhan Mehboob and Farhan Zaman simply outclassed their superior ranked opponents in the recently-concluded CAS International Squash Championship, was amazing and both played the final, which was not witnessed since long. “The spectators expect Pakistanis to perform well in front of home crowd. It was not Mehbob won and Zaman lost, but it was ultimately Pakistan squash that prevailed at the end.”

“Despite such success, there is still a lot more work to do and the PSF has to find out fresh talent and groom them well for the mega events, so that we may have champions instead of seasonal winners. For how long the PSF will depend on the likes of Mehboob and Zaman?, he asserted.

Talking about Nasir Iqbal case, Jansher said: “Nasir was sidelined with a blame of using banned substance and his case is taking too much time to decide. He was Pakistan’s future, so his case should have been fought with keen interest and care. He was at world number 35 in February, when the dope tests were conducted during the 12th South Asian Games in India and after almost a year gone by, he is still nowhere. Why he is given such rough and harsh treatment for an undone crime? The federation must come out with clear-cut plan and demand international body to give clean chit to the youngster, as he had already suffered both mentally and physically and off course, his PSA rankings are going down with each passing day.”

Jansher also gave credit of international squash revival in Pakistan to PSF president Chief of Air Staff (CAS) Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman, who is very keen to promote squash and want Pakistan squash regain its lost glory. “Our players have talent to excel at the top, despite having less opportunities to play in the PSA events. The PSF chief has been trying his best to facilitate the talented players and provide them with each and every facility they need to excel at higher level, now the players have to work hard and respond well in shape of winning laurels for Pakistan at international level.”

Jansher also congratulated new Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa and new Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee chairman Gen Zubair Mahmood Hayat and hoped they would carry forward the good work and peace will completely return to the country, which will ensure international sports revival in Pakistan.