Pakistan Tennis Federation to host tournament in war-torn Waziristan

The Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTF) is planning to hold an event in the war-torn mountainous region featuring top national players of the country.    

Waziristan has become a war zone since the start of war against terrorism and is worst affected by drone attacks as part of the fight against Taliban resurgence.  However, the PTF -- well aware of the danger in the area -- has started preparations for holding an event in the region.

“It is difficult but not impossible,” PTF secretary Mumtaz Yusuf told The Express Tribune Tuesday. “We will have to bring sports in this region for which we have already formulated an initial plan for holding the competition.”

Yusuf said the federation will invite top ranked national players for the competition.      “All national players including senior players who will be available will take part in the event,” he said adding that the federation has already taken permission from the military which has the control in Waziristan.

“The military has given us the go-ahead and have assured its support for holding the event. A successful holding of the event will send a positive signal to the world.”   

He said the event will be possible this year after July due to hectic schedule of the federation which will hold a training camp under newly-appointed Indian coach Beerbul Wadera besides preparing for this July's Davis Cup tie.

The PTF, in the meantime, has also decided to hold a ladies exhibition match along with the planned Peace Match between Pakistan's tennis ace Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi and his doubles partner Rohan Bopanna of India.

The PTF has sought permission and security clearance from the government after Aisam-ul Haq called for holding the Peace Match on the India-Pakistan border to foster bilateral reconciliation efforts.  

“We are awaiting the NOC and security clearance for the match,” Yusuf said while revealing that the federation will also invite Indian tennis star Sania Mirza for the spectacle.    

“We will invite Mirza and will request Shoaib Malik to convince her to attend the event.” Yusuf also announced the schedule for the arrival of Indian coach Wadera who will arrive May 5 for a short stint with national players.

“The coach will work with players from all group ages,” said Yusuf. The secretary said the federation may extend Wadera's stay in a bid to get extensive training for players. “We will try to extend his stay by 15 days as a month would not be enough to work with our players who are in a large number.”  

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