December 6, 2022

Alamgir Shaikh elected SABSA chief; vows to increase regional activities


Pakistan News & Features Services

The newly elected President of the South Asian Billiards Sports Association (SABSA), Alamgir Anwar Shaikh from Pakistan, has vowed to generate more activities at the regional level besides taking care of continental and global events during his tenure as its new helmsman. 

Alamgir Shaikh, who is currently the Chairman of the Pakistan Billiards & Snooker Association (PBSA), was elected as the President of the SABSA for the next term of four years during its Annual General Meeting (AGM) held in Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka on November 30. 

A notification from the PBSA confirmed the unanimous election as the SABSA President in the AGM which was convened on the sidelines of the recently concluded 2nd SAARC Snooker Championship 2022. 

Syed Mahboob, a veteran administrator from Bangladesh, having served as the Secretary General of the Asian Confederation of Billiards Sports (ACBS) for a number of years, has been elected as Chairman of the SABSA while Muhammad Abdullah, also from Bangladesh, Sunil Bajaj from India and Ziham Hussain of Sri Lanka were elected as its Vice President, Secretary General and Treasurer respectively. 

It may be recalled that Ali Asghar Valika, a former President and the current Patron-in-Chief of the PBSA, was the Founder President of the SABSA which was established to promote billiards sports in the SAARC member countries.

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November 12, 2022

Remembering Hanif Mohammad’s epic knock of 337


By Syed Khalid Mahmood

(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Pakistan’s cricket team, after being according Test status, had registered victories over India, England, New Zealand and Australia during their maiden series and they did so against the West Indies too. But there was one drawn Test match sandwiched between these marvelous conquests which earned them more accolades. 

The Bridgetown Test of the 1957-58 series has remained itched in memory even after over half a century where the diminutive Hanif Mohammad led Pakistan’s rearguard action to earn an honourable draw from the jaws of a certain defeat. 

He batted for no less than 16 hours and 10 minutes which still remains the longest Test as well as first-class innings and it’s a kind of record which is unlikely to be broken in future. 

There have been quite a few triple centuries in Test cricket scored before and after him but his knock of 337 is still remembered and revered with awe because the innings was constructed under extreme pressure and all odds were stacked against him. 

Electing to bat, after Gerry Alexander called correctly, hosts West Indies rattled a huge score of 579 for nine before declaring the innings. In reply, the inexperienced Pakistan outfit, playing for the first time on the Caribbean soil, was routed for 106 in its first innings and follow-on was enforced with a gigantic deficit of 473.

With so much time remaining in the six-day Test, a massive victory for the West Indies looked the only real possibility when Pakistan began their second innings. But what happened on the next four days was beyond the wildest dreams of even the most patriotic Pakistani supporters. 

Quite miraculously, despite battling it out against a rampaging bowling attack, all the top-order batsmen from Pakistan applied themselves beyond expectations with Hanif playing the innings of his lifetime. 

Nobody had anticipated Pakistan to save the match under the circumstances but Hanif’s resolute defence combined with incredible patience proved every expert horribly wrong. His magnificent knock of 337, spread over a staggering 970 minutes, allowed Pakistan to post a Himalyan total of 657 for eight when skipper Abdul Hafeez Kardar made the token declaration in the last session of the final day.

All eyes were on Hanif, who was batting on 334, when play commenced after tea. He was 31 runs short of going past Len Hutton’s world record score of 364 and there was every possibility of him reaching the landmark as the tired West Indian bowlers came out for the final session. 

But Hanif, being a human, finally succumbed soon after resumption. He was the sixth batsman to be dismissed at the total of 626, having taken his team to safety. Just for the record, he was caught behind by Alexander off Denis Atkinson and his marathon innings contained 24 boundaries. 

 It would be interesting to add here that Hanif’s innings was reported to have lasted 16 hours and 39 minutes. The earlier records showed it as an innings of 999 minutes and it was quite a few years later when fresh research revealed a stoppage of play of 29 minutes due to rain and subsequently the duration of innings was adjusted to 970 minutes.

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October 12, 2022

Pakistan’s marathon man Mohammad Yousuf achieves massive target


Pakistan News & Features Services

Mohammad Yousuf, hailing from Muzffarabad, Azad Kashmir, and based in Karachi, has hit a massive target by having completed 150 half marathon within two years. 

Also known as the Marathon Man of Pakistan, it goes to his credit for having accomplished the feat of 150 half Marathon within a couple of years. According to details, nobody from Pakistan in the past had ever done 150 half marathons therefore 

Yousuf’s accomplishment merits greater recognition. He has become the first Pakistani athlete to do it. He was reported to have done 31 consecutive half-marathons in as many days of December 2021. It is interesting to note that Yousuf was declared a heart patient before he started running. 

His strong will power and the passion for athleticism have paid dividends as his heart problem seems to have receded due to his continuous running. He has become healthy and hearty without any surgery and now he is an acclaimed marathon runner of the country. 

Yousuf has also planned to visit Turkey to represent Pakistan in the Istanbul Marathon 2022 which is scheduled to be held there on November 6. 

“I am feeling so proud to be able to represent the country at the international level and I wish to leave a legacy in the field of marathon running,” the enthusiastic athlete confided in a brief chat.

Not afraid to work hard, the athletically-built Yousuf has set high standards and he's trying his best to fulfill his cherished dreams.

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September 8, 2022

Double-edged JK bridges gap between PBSA, KC


By Syed Khalid Mahmood

(Pakistan News & Features Services)

It took long time coming but finally there’s a thaw in relationship between the Pakistan Billiards & Snooker Association (PBSA) and the Karachi who worked together for decades before parting ways. 

Not surprisingly Jawed H Karim, the Honorary Secretary of the Karachi Club for the current year, who is also the President of the PBSA, has seemingly played the key role in breaking the ice which obviously augurs well for the future of Pakistan snooker. 

Recuperating after a successful surgery recently, Jawed Karim, also affectionately called as JK by his friends and colleagues, has set the ball rolling once more. Under his leadership, the Karachi Club has once again ventured into doing bigger things. 

The club has already acquired as many as four snooker tables of the famed Riley Aristrocrat brand for which a fitter will be flying in from England later this month. The Riley tables are being fitted and installed with all accessories at our historic Latif Amir Bakhsh Snooker Hall and they will be ready for use next month. 

The next edition of the prestigious Haji Abdul Karim Dhehdi Inter-Club Snooker Championship, offering record high prize money, as well as the Karachi Club League Championship will now be contested on the new tables in November-December this year. 

The Karachi Club, it may be recalled, had become the headquarters of Pakistan snooker when its charismatic President, Ali Asghar Valika, set off to revive cue sports in the country after taking over the leadership of the PBSA in 1988. The club gained prominence at the global level as it hosted flurry of national and international snooker events regularly for the next couple of decades. 

Then the tragic episode of allegations and politicking took place which caused rift between the leadership of the two bodies and the club, having become synonymous with snooker, suddenly shut its doors to the PBSA. 

Jawed Karim, elected unopposed as the PBSA President in late 2020 and also voted to the key position of Secretary of the Karachi Club for the year 2022, has stepped the move to restore the relationship in the larger interest of the sport. 

Pakistan snooker will benefit a great deal with this reunion as the PBSA will have the luxury of availing the club’s unmatched facilities for holding national and international events as was the case during the days of Asghar Valika. 

The PBSA did survive the interim period by holding their events at alternate venues because they didn’t have the option of going to the club which historically had been the home to Pakistan snooker. 

Let’s see if the PBSA and the Karachi Club will revive the annual Latif Masters Championship which used to be the most prestigious national ranking competition of the year. With so little time left they may not be able to do it during the current year. Now the question is whether the new set-up at the club in the coming year will be eager to continue supporting snooker.

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June 30, 2022

Khalid Mahmood’s hard-hitting speech highlights National Sports Conference


Pakistan News & Features Services

While almost every other speaker condemned the previous government, headed by Imran Khan, a former cricket captain, and blamed the outgoing premier for bringing about the downfall of sports in Pakistan, the noted journalist and author, Syed Khalid Mahmood, did not mince words in declaring that the so-called administrators and organizers, holding office for decades by hook or by crook, were chiefly responsible for the steep decline in country’s sporting standards. 

The occasion was the National Sports Conference, organized by Sports Journalists Association of Sindh (SJAS), at the Scouts Headquarters in Karachi on June 29. 

“Why criticize any Prime Minister or Head of the State for the debacle in sports when the entire system has flopped due to the mafia which has controlled sports for 75 years now? Prime Ministers come and go but the vast majority of these office-bearers of federations and their affiliated units occupy the chair for lifetime which is indeed a pity,” Khalid Mahmood felt. 

The speech, in which he critical of the role of the long serving officials of the Pakistan Olympic Association (POA), was hailed as the one which brought to light the real facts instead of just talking about the departments and their role over the years. He talked more about the leadership aspect in sports and expressed the hope that better sense will prevail in future as far as running the sports bodies was concerned. 

The Chairman of the Pakistan Billiards & Snooker Association (PBSA), Alamgir Anwar Shaikh, hockey Olympian Islahluddin, former Test left-arm spinner Iqbal Qasim and ex-President, Karachi City Cricket Association (KCCA), Prof Ejaz Ahmed Farooqui, were among the speakers besides senior journalists Rashid Aziz, Mirza Iqbal Baig and Waheed Khan. The proceedings were conducted by Asghar Azeem of the SJAS while the Secretary, Shahid Saati, proposed the vote of thanks. Shields were presented to the speakers at the end of the session of speeches.

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June 2, 2022

Railways annual sports gala kickoff at Lahore on June 4


By Abdul Qadir Qureshi

(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Shoaib Adil, General Manager of Railways’ Welfare and Special Initiatives and President Pakistan Railways Sports Board, has described sports as world’s most powerful moral and social power whose utility and importance has always been in every era since the ancient eras. 

He made these observations on the eve of Railways annual sports gala which start from June 4 at the Railways Sports Complex located in Lahore’s Garhi Shahu. He pointed out that while food, work and comfort were the necessities of life, sports were like a pillar which guaranteed the strength and stability of life.

“In every part of the world, people of all ages, gender and all status of life have been participating in sports whether collectively or individually,” he stressed. 

Shoaib Adil observed that in today’s era, while mobile phone or the smartphone was the source of wide relations and acquisition of knowledge, it had affected the human health as well and it’s imperative to divert the energies towards healthy activities overcoming the unnecessary utilization of cellular phones. 

The sports, he viewed, while serve as mean of providing peace, comfort and delight on one hand, these refresh the human mind on the other.

“In the field of sports, people make their practical lives successful and in view of this they have introduced 12 new sports academies in its Sports Complex where any person of any gender or age can take admission and make their living happy and healthy,” he said.

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April 23, 2022

40 teams contesting Ramazan Futsal Festival


By Iqbal Jamil

(Pakistan News & Features Services)

As many as 40 outfits, having both men and women, would be seen in action in the three-day Futsal competition which commences at the Cedar College, DHA Phase-VIII, in Karachi on April 23. 

According to the details shared by the organizers there would be participation from various schools, colleges and universities with the age group of 15 years and above allowed to take part in the event. 

The prize money of the Futsal competition, being organized by Guideistan, will be Rs 120,000 and it will be distributed among winners and runners up. 

The officials of Guideistan, Tariq Baloch, Hassaan Sohail and Faiz Bukhari, expressed their desire to promote healthy activities among the youth so that they could become good citizens and contribute to the betterment of the country. They hoped sporting spirit to be displayed during the three-day festival.

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March 17, 2022

DHA’s EDE praised for bringing college teachers to cricket field


Pakistan News & Features Services

The Executive Director Education (EDE) of the Defence Housing Authority (DHA), Brig Muhammad Arshad Khan, was lavishly praised by chief guest, Syed Khalid Mahmood, an eminent journalist and author, during the presentation ceremony of a cricket match played between EDE XI and DHACSS United held at Rahat Ground, DHA, on March 15.

“What a pleasant sight it is to watch the educationists flexing their muscles in a cricket field! So much used to covering and reporting competitive cricket for a number of years, it really feels like breathe of fresh air coming across such events where cricket is being played for fun and recreation rather than professionally,” the chief guest observed in his speech after presenting awards to outstanding performers of the game. 

“First and foremost I must compliment Brig Arshad Khan for having taken up this novel idea of engaging teachers and professors in cricket activities. This is a great initiative by all means which will have multiple benefits for all of you. This makes much more sense in his digital era when dependence on gadgets has curtailed outdoor movements of people of all ages,” Khalid Mahmood, noted.

"It's really fascinating to be playing a game or two once in a while despite our preoccupations on various fronts. As you would have discovered it allowed you rare moments of joy. It provided you the opportunity to interact in a sporting environment. Such events should be organized regularly," he suggested.

“I salute the wisdom of EDE for having chosen cricket as the sport for this purpose. Because hockey is indeed our national sport officially and football may be the most popular sport in some segments but cricket is the sport here and almost everyone loves it. I am not sure how many of you played cricket seriously in the past but I am confident that almost all of you must be enjoying these little opportunities of playing together in cricket field. Trust me these stints will help you in many ways,” he added. 

The organizer of the ceremony and the match, Prof Syed Zulfiqar Ali, Principal, DHACCS Degree College, was also recognized for having successfully implemented the visionary plan of EDE. He was responsible for putting the extra efforts to ensure the event to be conducted in a befitting manner.

Meanwhile EDE XI prevailed over DHACCS United in the festival 10-overs-a-side game which was enthusiastically contested and thoroughly enjoyed by the galaxy of Principals, Vice Principals, teachers and other staff members of various educational institutions, who watched the action. 

The 125-run opening partnership between Muhammad Sultan and Muhammad Arif for DHACSS United was trumped by the EDE XI’s duo of Major Atif Saeed and Major Ejaz Bashir whose flurry of sixes enabled their team to win the match comfortably. 

The EDE himself, Brig Arshad Khan, batted brilliantly while skipper Prof Zulfiqar Ali also chipped in with an unbeaten contribution. Major Atif Saeed was adjudged Man of the Match.

All the participants in the field tried to give their best and a few of them came up with rather impressive performance as they seemed to have played competitive cricket in the past.

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February 12, 2022

DHA college teachers flex muscles in cricket field


Pakistan News & Features Services

The college teachers of the Defence Housing Authority (DHA), Karachi, flexed their muscles in the cricket field and they produced a thriller of sorts as the DHACSS United edged out EDE XI by five wickets on the last ball of the T-10 match at the DHACC Creek campus on February 9.

DHACSS United’s Kamran Qazi, who scored hard-hitting 51, was declared Man of the Match as well as the best batsman while his teammate, Hafiz Rizwan, who claimed four wickets in an over, was adjudged the best bowler in the closely fought encounter which went to the wire. 

Batting first, after winning the toss, EDE XI, led by Syed Siraj Munir, posted an impressive total of 94 for seven in the allotted 10 overs. EDE XI fought back after Kamran Qazi’s half-century and it was anybody’s game when DHACSS United needed two runs for victory on the final. A boundary was struck on the last ball took the batting side home, which was being captained by Junaid Farrukh Siddiqui. 

Holding a match between the college teachers, above the age of 40, was the brainchild of the DHA’s Executive Director Education, Brig Muhammad Arshad Khan, as he desired to boost the fitness and health of the staff members. He also participated in the game. 

Dr Farhat Agha, Pricipal, DHACSS College for Women, was the chief guest in the presentation ceremony while the welcome address was delivered by Prof Syed Zulfiqar Ali, Principal, DHACSS Degree College. The head of the 16 DHACSS institutions were present on the occasion while the game was also witnessed by a large number of teachers.

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