Swat DC directs officials to identify ‘appropriate’ spot for women’s cricket match after outcry by locals
Swat Deputy Commissioner Dr Qasim Ali Khan has instructed officials to find a “suitable location” for a women’s cricket match a day after residents and clerics in the Charbagh district prevented girls from playing the sport.
Ayesha Ayaz, a 12-year-old budding athlete, had taken the initiative to arrange the match among girls hailing from Babuzai and Kabal tehsils.
However, before the commencement of the game, several prayer leaders and elders had arrived at the venue and prevented the girls from participating in it.
Saeed Iqbal, an eyewitness, had told Dawn.com that a group of elders and clerics forbade the girls from playing the sport and said that it was immodest for girls to play cricket in the open ground.
He had added that the imams later contacted the local councilor, Ihsanullah Kaki, who also requested the match organisers and female players to leave the area.
Swat Additional Deputy Commissioner Sohail Khan informed Dawn.com today that DC Qasim had directed the assistant commissioner of the Babuzai tehsil to identify an “alternative and appropriate” location for the women’s match.
“We will swiftly organise a formal cricket match for women players of Swat, and we will staunchly uphold this commitment against any disruptions,” Sohail affirmed.
On Sunday, Ihsanullah Kaki, the tehsil chairman of Charbagh, had said the girls were barred from playing due to security conditions.
“The security conditions within Charbagh tehsil are currently unstable due to the presence of individuals and suspected firearms, who are often spotted in various locations.
“These individuals also send messages to local residents, demanding money and issuing threats. Those residing near the cricket ground are hesitant to venture outside their homes at night as they fear the presence of militants,” he had told Dawn.com.
Kaki added that the locals had also discussed the security concerns with the police.
“If they had informed us in advance, we would have organised the match for the girls in a ground with boundary walls,” he had said.