ISLAMABAD - Pakistan handicapped cricket team had raised the country's flag high on Indian soil in the month of October last year, as the brave sons of the country beat the mighty physically challenged cricket team of India in both ODIs and one off T20 international and returned home with great pride.

First Indian handicapped team managed to beat green shirts in Pakistan just because it was the very first time that green shirts had played with the hard ball and the second thing which needed to be mentioned here was majority of players picked by Pakistan Cricket Association for Physically Handicapped (PCAPH) were carrying major disability unlike of their Indian counterparts. But in a very short span of time, Pakistan team prepared well and beat the mighty Indians not once but twice.

But later the handicapped players had not played a competitive series against any opposition at all just because of a major split in the PCAPH, which is now divided into three parts. Abbas Hashmi formed the PCAPH in 2006 which never got prominence till June 2012, when some businessmen from Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) joined the association just because of the noble cause and took the body to new heights. The handicapped players, who had hardly played locally, suddenly got back-to-back international events, first against arch-rivals India, then against neighbours Afghanistan and then again against India first in India and then in Pakistan.

This progress of the players and body was hard to absolve for some people who wanted to gain personal interests which resulted in differences between the officials and at the end, the businessmen group parted ways with the PCAPH, which spelt disaster not only for the so-called well-wishers, but also for the players. Then despite making tall claims, the Hashmi-led PCAPH just managed to hold one so-called national championship and that too way back in April.

The departure of businessmen group, which comprised Nasir Mehmood Chaudhry, Saeed Ahmed Bhatti, Ashfaq Chatha, Akhunzada Faheem, Naveed Malik, Nisar Mirza and Shaikh Abdul Waheed, was very hard to absolve for the handicapped players. They provided a new ray of hope to the players by spending millions of rupees from their own pockets to promote that cause. But all the good work done by them was spoiled by selfish persons who shattered the handicapped players’ dreams and left them in dark as no one is now bothered about them and their welfare.

After a lapse of almost one year, the handicapped players are still waiting for their prize money from the Indian side, who had promised to transfer the winning bonus along with man of the matches and man of the series amount Indian rupees 160,000 within a week because their sponsors had let them down, but even after lapse of whole year, the Indian side didn’t bother to fulfill their promise.

Sharing his views, ex-media and development director PCAPH Nasir Ch said: “We have joined hands for a noble cause, but it was quite unfortunate that lust of power and money came to our way and destroyed our sincere efforts for the promotion of handicapped cricket. Four months back, I had requested the PCAPH to resolve their differences and join hands for the betterment of the game, but no one paid any heed to my request.”

To a query regarding clearance of the players’ dues which India promised to pay, Nasir replied: “I am ready to take up this issue and if Abbas Hashmi needs any assistance in this regard, I am more than ready to play my role in getting due rights of the deserving players.”

Ex-vice chairman of PCAPH Raja Imran, who is now the chairman of his own faction, said: “Our body is recognised by Afghanistan and newly-formed Indian handicapped associations. We will very soon hold a large scale mega event and international teams will be very much part of that event.”

“We have already organised a deaf series in Islamabad and they are now very much part of our plans. I am trying to provide reasonable livelihood to the handicapped players and they will be provided with respectable way of earning bread and butter for their families,” he added.

Sharing his views, ex-director logistics Akhunzada Faheem said: “Relevant persons, who care about handicapped persons, must take over the helm of affairs of the PCAPH as it is the only way to bring the game back to the right direction. Business community can take good care of these blessed persons as they have the resources and sufficient funds, which is required to run the affairs of any association in a better way. In the past, we had collectively worked for the betterment of handicapped players and we are more than willing to work on this noble cause once again if some honest and right persons step forward to uplift the standard of handicapped cricket. We will not let them down and help them in the best possible way.”

It is pertinent to mention here that it is bonafide right of these special persons to be provided a platform where they may get a sense of respect and instead of depending on others, they must earn livelihood for their beloved ones by giving on field performances. The time is ripe when all the stake holders should shun their differences for the noble cause and join hands, as the handicapped players had shown their potential and they are once again ready to repeat better performances if they are provided with better opportunity.”