By: Abdul Hadi
In the caretaker government of 2007-08 the then federal minister of culture and sports Sikandar Hayat Khan Joezai ordered the approval of Zhob sports complex along with Qilla Saifullah, Pishin and Qilla Abdullah sports complexes.
Zhob sports complex known as “Saleh Muhammad Khan Sports Complex” has got controversial. The further construction of sports complex has been stopped after the initiation of inquiry of alleged misappropriation of funds.
Federal government had to deal sports when the Zhob complex was approved back in 2007-08 but provinces undertook the sports department after the implementation of 18th amendment in 2010. As per the local sources “1 crore and 70 lakhs were withdrawn by a local contractor in early years of the complex approval but only boundary walls were constructed of that heavy budget”.
The prominent social and political figure of the district Zhob and son of Saleh Muhammad Khan (the sports complex has titled on his name) Anwar Mandokhail told, “governmental authorities haven’t shown their interest in this matter especially after the implementation of 18th amendment when the provinces undertook sports department”. Ex-MPA Jaffar Mandokhail didn’t paid his attention to sports complex neither the newly elected MPA added by Anwar.
Three grounds are designed to be established in the sports complex, each ground of Football, Cricket and Hockey and halls for indoor games. As per the designed sketch of Saleh Muhammad Khan Sports Complex Zhob, all of three grounds should have pavilions and hostels.
District Sports Officer Ameer Muhammad said, the sketch and structure of the grounds have caused controversy and allegedly the assigned work hasn’t completed yet. The required attention isn’t paid to district sport boards as it should have the district sport officer further added.
Former President District Sports Zhob Raza Khan told, we struggled for years for bringing the sports complex to the district and hardly the land for the complex was provided by the administration at that time. Budget have withdrawn by the contractors and they have done nothing apart from constructions of boundary walls. We raised this issue to provincial government in 2013/14 even before the inquiry was initiated but, we weren’t listened by anyone as sports is always neglected by the provincial authorities.
The accused contractor was accessed for many times but he didn’t respond.
Matches are regularly played in cricket ground of sports complex as local cricketers have established a pavilion and pitch themselves. But halls for indoor games, Football ground, Hockey ground and hostels haven’t built yet.
According to the census of 2017, the total population of District Zhob is 310544. As per the available information, only one government recognized Football ground named “Irfan Kasi Football Stadium Zhob” is available at the moment. Usually governmental and non-governmental functions are conducted not the indoor games at the solely existing multi purposes hall of the district.
Member of Pakistan National Junior Hockey Team Sher Muhammad Kakar expressed his sadness over the paus of construction of sports complex. We have a fertile land of talent, but our people are lacking opportunities to explore their talent. He revealed that establishment of too many grounds and indoor halls seem impossible in such a small sports complex. I personally talked to relative authorities to provide an alternate place for the formation of hockey ground in District Zhob, Kakar added.
As per the Zhob Cricket Association, cricket ground is still deprived of grass, tube well and other basic facilities.
Director General Sports Balochistan recognized that there is no ground of international standard in Balochistan. Sports Complex in each district of the province will be established Baloch added.
Saleh Muhammad Khan Sport Complex is in the outskirts of the city. The current space was allotted by that time Deputy Commissioner Asghar Khan Harifal.
When the district sports officer was asked about the restoration of construction work of sports complex, he answered “inquiry is taking long as same construction work took long period”.
Published in The Balochistan Point on March 3, 2020