The Punjab government is currently getting a lot of criticism for removing National Hockey Stadium’s AstroTurf to cater Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) public demonstration.
On the other hand, journalist with The Nation, Azba Abdullah took to her Twitter handle, claiming that she spoke with the Punjab Sports Board herself and they stated that AstroTurf was first laid in 2010, and got expired in 2016, “General Qamaq Javed Bajwa suggested the officials to replace the AstroTurf with a new one and that’s why it is being removed,” dismissing the initial reports.
Speaking with Dawn, Former Olympian hockey player Manzoorul Hasan Senior criticized the Punjab government, stating that he was really upset with the removal of AstroTurf and demolishing the stadium for a political rally. He disputed Malik Taimoor Masood’s assertion that the turf was being replaced and would soon be laid in Sargodha and that the Buzdar administration had to change it because it was rather old.
Manzoor told Dawn that the turf was unfit for a game is a false claim, “The Chief of Army Staff Inter-Club Tournament was held there last month, and the participants had a great time. The only issue was that it had not been set out precisely ten years prior. However, its surface was flawless,” he noted.
Why it matters:
It is reputed to be the largest hockey stadium in Asia and has played host to important competitions including the World Cup. Manzoor says the government had not placed a single turf in the previous four years, and the removal of the last one just made the matters worse.
What did the Punjab Sports Minister say:
The Punjab sports minister, Malik Taimoor, told the media on Aug 11 that the previous administration (headed by Usman Buzdar) had previously decided to remove the turf, thus it was not being replaced as a result of the public gathering.