In order to keep the youth engaged in healthy activities and away from criminal ones, the government plans to construct a sports complex for tribesmen in Khyber Agency.
According to an official at the FATA Sports Directorate, the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) Sports Stadium will be constructed over 500 kanals of land in Shah Kas, Jamrud tehsil.
The official added the decision was approved on May 25 by Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Governor Shaukatullah Khan and a letter regarding this was sent to the political agent’s office, requesting him to designate the land for this purpose. The expense will be covered under the Annual Development Programme (ADP), of which one percent of funds will initially be allocated.
Fata Sports Director Faisal Jamil said the stadium will have a cricket ground, football ground, multi-purpose hall with volleyball, basketball, squash, tennis and badminton courts, hockey ground, swimming pool, gym, table tennis and martial arts facilities along with a hostel for boys, mosque, cafeteria and media centre. Jamil added there will also be a shooting and fencing range.
He claimed all national and local sports authorities were on board and the K-P governor was keen on providing tribal youth the opportunity to excel in sports.
Jamil, however, admitted they lack training facilities. He lauded the role of the FATA Olympic Association which, he said, had achieved much in a limited timeframe.
Khyber Agency Cricket Association President Taimur Afridi also welcomed the announcement of the sports complex and thanked the governor for his efforts. Afridi said the sports complex was a much-awaited project, but no one worked towards materialising the goal in the past.
He said earlier the FATA Secretariat constructed a stadium in Khyber Agency in 2007 at an estimated cost of Rs10 million wherein various sports grounds have been built with time.
The stadium now has cricket, football, volleyball and long race facilities, said Afridi, adding the agency is becoming known for producing top players in various games across the tribal belt.
Afridi maintained the K-P governor was aware of the problems faced by the people of Fata since he himself was from the region. He claimed the grounds were not only a source of employment for the locals, but also kept people in good health.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 14th, 2013.