Deprived of quality international sports for the best part of the last decade, Pakistan sport fans have some good news coming their way as the Pakistan Tennis Federation have succeeded in convincing the International Tennis Federation and team Iran that security is conducive to hold their Davis Cup tie in Islamabad next February.
Pakistan last hosted a Davis Cup tie against New Zealand in 2004 and since then have been forced to play their home games in their opponent’s backyard or on neutral venues. With the security situation improving in the country, sporting action is gradually returning. Islamabad hosted three small-scale squash events recently which attracted players from different countries. Ever since the harrowing attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore seven-and-a-half years ago, Pakistan has become a pariah for sporting action, however some events have been held in major cities like Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad.
Pakistan hosted amateur Snooker team and tournaments in Karachi in the recent past and now Tennis is also in the fray. The need of the hour is to make the visitors comfortable besides ensuring provision of security. Pakistan sporting bodies need to formulate a cohesive plan and ensure that they make collective effort to convince their international counterparts about the improving security situation. By being on the same page these bodies can ensure the return of top-flight sporting action including multi-nation events and world championships which used to be a regular occurrence in the 1980s and 1990s. Federal and provincial governments have an important role to play and need to have the sporting bodies onboard as the nation puts to bed the nightmares of recent years. Pakistan sport fans must also support the initiative to bring back top-class sporting competition, it is a collective effort indeed and all of us need to play our part.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 2nd, 2016.
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