ISLAMABAD     -    Former Pakistan No 1 women squash player Riffat Khan has a successful right-leg crucial knee ligament operation here at Shifa International Hospital, which was conducted by renowned surgeon Dr Sajjad Hassan Orakzai.

Riffat had badly damaged her crucial knee ligament and was running from post to pillar to get meager Rs 350,000 to get her operated, but after getting frustrated, she contacted The Nation few days back, where she had announced to quit the game, if she couldn’t receive any financial support from government or PSF. British boxer of Pakistani origin Amir Khan responded Riffat’s SoS call by promising to bear all her expenditures and also helped her financially so that she may fully focus on recovering process.

In the meantime, Dr Shireen Mazari, Minister for Human Rights, also called this scribe and took details of Riffat. Dr Mazari promised to help Riffat in the best possible manner. She lived to her promise and very next day, Dr Mazari again called this scribe and informed that Syed Ali Haider Zaidi, Federal Minister for Maritime Affairs, will bear all the expenses of Riffat’s operation. The entire matter was resolved in next three days, as Riffat was admitted on November 11 at Shifa International Hospital and she got operated on 13th and was released from hospital on 14th.

Talking to The Nation, Riffat said: “I am thankful to The Nation, as the organisation came like an angle for me. I was broken, disheartened and shattered by the insulting behaviour of Pakistan Squash Federation, my department Wapda, IPC Minister Dr Fehmida Mirza, IPC Secretary Akbar Hussain Durrani and I was simply very upset with Acting PSB Director General Amna Imran, who should have realised my pain and agony, rather than keeping me waiting outside her office for hours.

“When I met with sports reporter of The Nation, he promised me to help me within 24 hours. He proved his words and within 24 hours, I started getting calls from Amir Khan and Ali Zaidi. I had no words to express my gratitude to all those, who stands by me during time of pain. I am really grateful to Ali Zaidi, Dr Shireen Mazari, boxer Amir Khan and especially The Nation for their timely support. I started light training on Thursday, as doctor advised me to walk for next two weeks after that stitches will be removed and after 6 months, I can bend fully and can resume my squash,” she added.

Riffat said, “If federations and parent departments can’t help the players, who will help them. Such attitude and treatment could only spoil careers of the players. We, the players, are responsible for giving the country name and fame while the federations enjoy countless benefits in the name of athletes. But if we get injured, nobody is ready to even say a few words of wisdom. It is my humble request to PM Imran Khan to seek explanation from the IPC Minister, IPC Secretary and DG PSB, why I was given such rash and unjustified treatment. I hope PSF President Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan will also take notice of how I was treated and will ensure others won’t get same treatment.”

She said she is only 25 and still has time to play and win laurels for the country. “I will work harder and try to serve my country in a better way. I will climb back to top of national rankings and then my only aim will be winning international titles for my country and playing instrumental role in helping Pakistan win first all Asian level titles and then world level title,” Riffat concluded.