Violence in Karachi forces shifting of sporting events
Lahore: The recent upsurge in violence in Karachi has forced the shifting of a number of international and national sports events to other cities after participating players raised concerns over the current security situation.
The last one week has seen a dramatic upsurge in the violence in the country`s financial hub in the wake of the deadly bombings in Abbas town in Gulshan-e-Iqbal in which around 50 people were killed and at least 135 injured.
The city was paralysed for most of the day on Tuesday after violence in many parts and even on Thursday it remained tense as eight people, including two personal of the para-military rangers, were killed in firing incidents.
A four-member Indian snooker squad that was to reach Karachi on Wednesday for a bilateral series also called off its visit because of the violence and the Pakistan Billiards and Snooker Association has now postponed the event indefinitely.
"Even the Asian Snooker Championship which is scheduled in April could be affected if the situation does not improve," a PBSA official confided.
A Sri Lankan throw ball team that was to take part in a Test series in Karachi from next week has also cancelled its visit due to the law and order situation. New dates for the matches will be announced later.
The organisation of the national throw ball championship that is to be held in Karachi from March 22 is also in doubt now.
Some senior squash players have also written to the Pakistan Squash Federation to move an international ranking tournament that is due to began from March 11 to some other city as they claim the current situation in Karachi is not secure.
The PSF has so far insisted the event will be held on schedule but the participation of some foreign players is also now in doubt.
Even the national judo body has shifted its national championship out of Karachi for security reasons.
The worst cut has come from the Pakistan Cricket Board which has revised the schedule of its ongoing national one-day championship to move six matches of the latest round that were to be held in Karachi to other cities including some to interior Sindh.
Although the PCB has given no reason for shifting these matches but sources confirm some of the teams involved in the were reluctant to go and stay in Karachi at this time.
"It is sad the way sporting activities have been hit by the law and order situation in Karachi but I believe the perceptions about the city are a bit exaggerated and events can be held securely because Karachi is cosmopolitan city," PBSA President, Alamgir Sheikh said.