SPORTS play a vital role in a society’s development. They not only are a great source of entertainment and contribute to citizens’ mental and physical wellbeing, but also have an impact on culture and help boost the economy both directly and indirectly.

In Quetta, there was a time when we used to have several playgrounds, but this is no longer the case. There is no room left for us, the ordinary citizens, to play sports either for leisure or to develop a career.

The Ayub National Stadium, earlier known as the Balochistan Cricket Association Ground, was a multi-purpose stadium in Quetta which was used for football and cricket matches. It was here that the first One Day International (ODI) cricket match between Pakistan and India was played during the landmark 1978 tour. The only other international game at the ground was played in 1984. The ground was also used to host friendly football matches, despite its location next to the Ayub Football Stadium, as it was superior to any other such facility available.

But what about the common folks? Where should they go, or send their children to? While people have built private turf grounds for football and futsal and are doing good business, public grounds remain closed in the name of development.

Last year, the sports minister had announced that a national-level turf ground would be developed for football players, but it is unavailable for the commoners and somehow keeps undergoing renovation all the time.

In the absence of playgrounds, the youth cannot participate in healthy activities. In fact, the lack of grounds is taking a heavy toll on the city’s young who are indulging in various unpleasant and harmful activities, especially drug addiction.

There is no room for optimism, and the new generation’s future looks bleak if things continue to stand as they are. The authorities concerned should take corrective measures immediately before things go out of control.

Kamran Ali
Quetta

Published in Dawn, May 24th, 2022

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