KARACHI, Feb 21: The Sindh Assembly was on Thursday told that the issue of Sindh’s under-representation in the national cricket team would be taken up with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).
Provincial Law Minister Ayaz Soomro, who was answering questions asked by lawmakers during the question hour that pertained to the sports department, agreed with Pakistan Muslim League-Functional (PMLF) legislator Nusrat Sehar Abbasi that Sindh was under-represented in the national team and assured the house that the matter would be taken up with the PCB.
Answering legislators’ questions and supplementary questions on behalf of Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah, who holds the sports portfolio and was present in the house, Mr Soomro informed the house that there were only three players from Sindh currently in the national cricket team.
The minister also agreed with Ms Abbasi that there was abundance of cricket talent available in Sindh but only three players — Shahid Afridi, Asad Shafiq and Sarfaraz — had been able to get through.
In reply to another question asked by the same lawmaker, the minister said that PCB chief Zaka Ashraf hailed from Sindh and owned agricultural lands in Hyderabad.
Jam Tamachi of the Pakistan People’s Party suggested that the slot of the PCB chief should held by all provinces turn by turn. Mr Soomro replied that the proposal would be discussed with the PCB authorities.
Responding to a question regarding stipends, the minister said that a sum of Rs3,500 was being paid to 28 players. He agreed with PML-F legislator Marvi Rashdi’s view that the amount was too small, and said that the stipend would be increased when Sindh’s financial health improved, or maybe earlier.
Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s Heer Soho had asked questions regarding rehabilitation of playgrounds and medical assistance to sportspersons. The minister said that funds for the purposes had already been provided by the provincial government.
Jam Tamachi observed that many playgrounds in the province had turned into ponds of rainwater or sewage. Mr Soomro said that it might be the case of a few places. However, he added, if the places were specifically mentioned, he would be able to provide information about them to the house.
He advised the legislators to be particular in identifying the affected playgrounds so that the matter could be looked into.
Saleem Khokhar of the PPP asked a question about the status of the football ground being established in the Essa Nagri locality of Karachi. The minister said that an amount of Rs22 million had been approved for the Manoo Goth football ground scheme being executed in the Union Council No 4 of Gulshan Town.
Around Rs9.4 million had been spent on the ongoing scheme, he added.
Khalid Ahmed, Pir Mazharul Haq, Bilquees Mukhtar, Nuzhat Pathan and some other lawmakers also asked supplementary questions during the question hour that lasted half an hour.