KARACHI: After the doors have been opened for foreign hockey and cricket team’s visit to Pakistan after nine long years recently, good fortunes have come squash’s way too as the Professional Squash Association (PSA) has also given a go ahead to the Pakistan Squash Federation (PSF) to play hosts to unlimited number of tournaments at Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad after meeting certain conditions, it emerged on Sunday.

The embargo was imposed in the name of ‘security concerns’ following attack on the visiting Sri Lankan cricket team at Lahore on March 3, 2009. Tennis took the lead after hosting Iran in the Asia Oceania Davis Cup group II first round tie at Pakistan Sports Boartd, Islamabad, from Feb 3 to 5, last year. Pakistan won the rubber 3-2.

Pakistan got a walkover against Hong Kong China in the group II that was slated in April last year.

Continuing their winning streak, Pakistan taught Thailand a lesson imposing to 3-2 victory in the third round played at the grass court of the PSB Sports Complex, Islamabad from Sept 15 to 17 to earn promotion in group I.

Pakistan whitewashed South Korea 4-0 in the first round of group I at the PSB Sports Complex grass court in February this year.

Pakistan is now slated to take Uzbekistan in the second round of group I at the same venue which begins on April six.

Next came hockey when Pakistan played hosts to the visiting World XI for two matches at Karachi and Lahore and foreign celebrities of the game for induction in the Hall of Fame.

The PSA’s go ahead came in the aftermath of a report submitted to them by representative of an international security firm M/s Sports Risk, after undergoing inspections of venues in the three cities.

The PSA has laid down a criteria which says that adequate security arrangements should be made and prior approval should be obtained from the PSA while hosting an international event.

Our Islamabad correspondent adds: A PSA official told Dawn on Sunday the body has allowed Pakistan to host three PSA tournaments, exclusively for Pakistani players with prize money US $10,000 for men and US $ 5000 for women tournaments.

However, the official said the PSA allowed international tournaments in Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi with prize money ranging from US$ 20000 to US$ 70,000.

After, efficient conduct of CAS International Women and Pakistan Open Mens’ Squash Championship in December last year at Islamabad, Pakistan Squash Federation (PSF) had been pursuing with the world squash body for allocation of more events for Islamabad, Karachi and Lahore as well.

In the same context PSA conducted a comprehensive security survey of Karachi and Lahore on 12 and 15 March respectively.

The PSF has asked provincial squash associations and the affiliated members of the federation to generate sponsorships for organising maximum amount of tournaments.

Published in Dawn, April 2nd, 2018

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