KARACHI: Legendary Pakistani squash player Jahangir Khan says the country must do more to improve its image and stop the rest of the world thinking of Pakistanis as “terrorists”.

Pakistan, which celebrates its Independence Day on Wednesday, held the world titles in cricket, squash and hockey in 1994.

But lack of facilities, militancy and infighting among sports federations have caused a serious slump, with the country on the verge of a ban from the Olympics for flouting administrative rules.

The country has been a virtual no-go zone for top foreign sports teams since gunmen attacked the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore in 2009.

Khan, 50, said the government must do more to revitalise Pakistan's once proud sporting identity.

“Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif must look into the situation in sports, which is fast getting out of control,” Khan told AFP.

“Sports are the only identity Pakistanis have at the world level but now we are tagged as terrorists, because our sports and sportsmen have been pushed back.”

“On top of that, the mismanagement in our sports, with two factions in the Olympic association, have brought a bad name for the country.”

Khan won a record 10 British Open titles and six world titles, dominating squash in the 1980s and 90s along with his compatriot Jansher Khan, who won eight world and six British crowns.

Since their departure, however, Pakistan has failed to produce any top-level squash players.

“Our squash has gone three levels down, hockey is nowhere and our cricket image is stained by players caught in match-fixing,” said Khan.

Four-time hockey world champions, Pakistan slumped to last in the World Cup held in India three years ago and a poor seventh in last year's London Olympics.

“Pakistan is rich in sporting talent but the only thing needed is to have sincere and honest administrators who should be held accountable by the government,” said Khan.

“Pakistan should be recognised as a sporting nation and not as a terrorist country.”

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Comments (3)

August 15, 2013 11:17 am

Pakistan sport will never recover due to the incompte and impotent Government and army policy...It will go bad to worse definitely...

August 15, 2013 4:07 pm

We would be tagged as terrorists even if we continued excelling at sports. Lets not fool ourselves that being tagged terrorists is for reasons other than allowing terrorists to operate from within our borders, be those activities directed at our own people or others.

We NEED to stop tolerating sub par performance from our security forces, they have to be the best, they have to be effective in curbing terrorism. We dont call them heroes, so that we can give them our tax money and have our economy and lives destroyed. Get your act together boys.

As far as sports is concerned, meh, a nationwide discount on steroids should solve the problem.

August 15, 2013 7:58 pm

More important question: How to 'Save Pakistan'?.

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