BAHAWALPUR: The recently-installed statue of hockey star Samiullah Khan has been defiled by thieves who have stolen the ball and the hockey stick attached to it.

The Cantonment Board (CB), Bahawalpur had installed the fiber statue at city’s posh area of Model Town A to pay tribute to the national hero a few days ago. The statue was adorned with the country’s identification at the international hockey fixtures of green and white shirt along with white shorts. The legend held a hockey stick in a playing posture with a ball in green field.

Dawn learnt that the statue had been deprived of the ball a few days ago while its hockey stick was mysteriously taken away on Saturday night.

Cantonment Board, Bahawalpur Executive Officer Rana Ramiz Shafqat who took the initiative to install Samiullah’s statue as an acknowledgement of his services to hockey and Pakistan, expressed his concern over the theft of the ball and the hockey stick. He said it’s a matter of shame that the statue of a national hero had been defiled. It was tribute to Samiullah Khan who had promised to inaugurate it at a ceremony in August, he said.

Dismayed but undeterred, he said he would restore the stolen parts of the statue of the flying horse. He said no sooner had he got the news of the missing fixtures than he visited the site. He said he had already been dismayed after disappearance of the hockey stick.

Shafqat said he had issued orders to the Karachi sculptor to re-fabricate the ball and hockey which would be affixed to the statue to restore it. He said the statue would be protected by affixing an iron structure around it and security cameras would also be installed. He said the Cantonment Board would move a theft complaint with the police station on Monday (today).

He said he would also request police to ensure night patrolling to trace the culprits. He said the statue was built at a cost of Rs500,000 and the board would now pay for another hockey and ball.

As the news of the theft went viral on social media, the civil society and social circles condemned the incident and demanded arrest of the thieves.

Published in Dawn, July 19th, 2021

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