SIALKOT

The youth of export-oriented Sialkot city are deprived of playgrounds for decades though establishing playgrounds at union council level was announced by Musharraf regime but the project could not be implemented by the subsequent governments.

Before the creation of Pakistan, the local grounds of Govt Technical College Paris Road Sialkot, Hawai Ground, Kai Kai Blaoch Ground, Ghazipur Ground, Pahariwali Ground, Imam Sahib Ground, Ground Sheikh Maula Bukhash and Bara Pathar Ground were available for the local cricket players and the grounds of the Govt Murray College Sialkot, Chitti Ground and Police Line Ground were available for the local hockey players in Sialkot.

Sialkot is enriched with the natural talent of games as it has produced world renowned cricket and hockey players including Asian Bradman Zaheer Abbas, the president of International Cricket Council (ICC), Shaoib Malik, Ejaz Ahmed, Zahid Fazal, Abdul Rehman, Olympian Shehnaz Sheikh and Nasir Ali.

Now, most of the grounds have been finished by the local landlords, rented out or sold out after establishing shops and other commercial and residential buildings (in shape of housing colonies). At present, there is one cricket stadium namely Jinnah Stadium Sialkot and a hockey stadium namely Nawaz Sharif Hockey Stadium Sialkot, but the players have to wait for the availability of these grounds.

Several players said that the Sialkot city lacked the playgrounds due to which the cricket and hockey games are ending at Muhallah level due to which talented players are being indulged in unhealthy activities.They said the players have to play cricket on the deserted platforms and railway tracks near the Sialkot Junction Railway Station here.

In Pervez Musharraf regime, the government had planned to establish at least one ground in every union council to promote games related healthy activities and released funds to all the union councils, but the later governments had shelved the project.

Social, educational, religious and political circles have urged the government to take serious notice of the situation, and establish grounds in Sialkot to promote the natural talent of cricket and hockey and other games, in active collaboration with the Sialkot Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI).