Thursday, August 11, 2022
The astroturf at Lahore's National Hockey Stadium has been removed to make space for a public gathering on August 13 named 'Haqeeqi Azadi jalsa' and announced by PTI Chairperson Imran Khan.
Labourers could be seen pulling off the astroturf — considered one of the very few well-maintained turfs for hockey players in the country — amid other preparations for the rally.
PTI received strong and massive reproval as the move added to the party's measures that rendered thousands of sportspersons jobless during its tenure in the Centre with the closure of departmental sports. The removal of turf would further harm the already deprived national game and Pakistani hockey players.
Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF)’s acting secretary Haider Hussain said that the ground is under the control of Punjab Sports Board (PSB), Geo Super reported.
He said that the PHF has nothing to do with the ground which comes under the control of PSB and the Federation has to seek permission to hold sports activities there.
The PTI planned to hold its jalsa at Parade Ground Islamabad on August 13 but fearing chaos in the federal capital, it was shifted to Lahore. Instead of holding it at Minar-i-Pakistan or some other venue of the provincial metropolis, the party chose a sports venue, the National Hockey Stadium, where the turf was being removed under directions from the Chief Minister Pervez Elahi-led government.
Meanwhile, Punjab Sports Minister Taimur Masood said that the astroturf removed from Lahore's stadium will be installed at the hockey stadium of Sargodha and a tender for the new turf for the National Hockey Stadium will be given soon.