By Syed Khalid Mahmood
The Sindh government has activated the Pakistan Sports Foundation Relief Fund (PSFRF) for the specific purpose of providing financial assistance to the athletes facing financial hardships due to physical disabilities or protracted ailment.
Shoaib Ahmed Siddiqui, Secretary Sports, Government of Sindh, has revealed that besides helping the deserving athletes in need, the Regional Committee of the PSFRF was also taking care of the legal heirs of the deceased ones.
“The seven-member Regional Committee of the PSFRF was formed in November 2008 with a revolving grant of Rs 500,000 at our disposal with the objective of helping the deserving sports-persons of repute and to legal heirs of those stalwarts who have died. We have been providing financial assistance in the form of monthly scholarships as well as lump sum grant-in-aid,” he disclosed.
Shoaib Siddiqui himself is a member of the Regional Committee of the PSFRF that also includes former Test cricketer and present chief selector, Iqbal Qasim, besides, Mir Haider Ali Talpur, Shah Riazuddin and Rahat Ali Shah.
“The families of former Pakistan hockey captain, Munawwar-uz-Zaman and former Test cricketer, Taslim Arif, were provided financial grant of Rs 50,000 each. Similarly a payment of Rs 50,000 was made to the family of cricket coach Khushi Mohammad,” Shoaib Siddiqui disclosed.
“Footballers Mahboob Khan and Turab Ali were paid Rs 20,000 each to take care of their illness. Boxer Mahboob Khan and hockey player Khwaja Wasimuddin were also extended financial support to the tune of Rs 20,000 each while judo player Sajjad Hussain Baloch was paid Rs 15,000,” he added.
“The athletes and coaches having been extended monthly assistance of Rs 3,500 each include Lal Mohammad Baloch, Nazar Mohammad, Mohammad Ali Shah, Mohammad Wasim, Mahboob Khan, Noor-ul-Haq, Zaki Anwar, Shabbir Hussain, Abdul Rauf Qureshi, Abdul Rasheed, Shaikh Hasan Mohammad, Abeera Ali Shaikh, Abdul Ghafoor and Ismail Rosho,” Shoaib Siddiqui said.
It’s indeed quite heartening to note that the government has started taking care of the unpriveleged athletes who certainly deserve the monetary support after having spent their life in the sporting arena.
Numerous sporting greats have had to struggle to make their ends meet because only a few of them had the luxury of jobs and that too during the peak of their career. The majority of them couldn’t save for the rainy day and life has remained tough for them generally.
Sports has become an industry worldwide but the same cannot be said about Pakistan with cricket being the sole exception. Under the circumstances the state does have the responsibility of looking after the athletes.
The amount being disbursed by the Pakistan Sports Foundation Relief Fund (PSFRF) at the moment certainly looks peanuts but it’s a mighty big move in the right direction. As they say it’s never too late to do something good.
The government should allocate more funds to this scheme in order to assist greeater number of athletes. This will go a long way in encouraging more youngsters to take to sports.