ISLAMABAD     -    Former Pakistan No 1 female squash player Riffat Khan has sent SoS call to Prime Minister Imran Khan to save her career and announce a meager amount of Rs 350,000 for her knee operation.

Talking to The Nation, Riffat, who is also world number 106, said: “I am tired, broken and disappointed with the behavior of Pakistan Sports Board and sports authorities with me. As a top Pakistan squash player, I had played instrumental role in helping the country in winning lot of titles, represented it in countless international team and individual events and titles in many.

“During the PSA $5,000 tournament semifinals against Saima Shoukat, suddenly my right leg’s crucial knee ligament was badly damaged. I was rushed to Pakistan Sports Complex medical centre and then to Polyclinic Hospital. I felt lot of pain and spent around Rs 200,000 from my own pocket. For the last two months or so, I am trying my best to get few bucks, so that I may undergo my knee operation,” he added.

She said that IPC Secretary Akbar Hussain Durrani promised her to provide help but for the last one month or so, she is visiting Pakistan Sports Complex daily, but no one is ready to even listen to her sorry tale. “For last one week, Acting DG Amna Imran promised me to spare few moments. She kept me waiting for five hours outside her office, but never bothered to give me five minutes.

“She is a lady, but she doesn’t understand my problem and pain. The PSB is meant to facilitate athletes, as the officers enjoy countless benefits in the name of athletes, but they are not ready to help us out. I joined Wapda few months back and I even tried to get help from my employers, but the Wapda Sports Board secretary, despite promising me to help, is not even picking up my calls nor does he bother to call back.

“I also tried to meet IPC Minister Dr Fahmida Mirza as I spent hours outside her office both at Ministry and PSB, but I failed to get few moments from the minister. I have already wasted too much precious time and any further delay in my operation will certainly end my career. I also met with Pakistan Squash Federation (PSF) Secretary Group Captain Tahir Sultan, but the federation also doesn’t recognise my services for the country.

“No one is ready to lend a helping hand to me. I am trying my best to get the required amount, as it is about the future of Pakistan squash. There is already acute shortage of female players in the country in all sports and squash is no exception. If I am getting such rash and unjustified treatment, then who is going to represent the country and who will allow their daughters and sisters to play for Pakistan?” she added.

Riffat said: “I also went to PM secretariat and tried to meet PM Imran Khan, as he is also a sportsman and a world cup winner and he must understand the sentiments of an athlete. But people sitting there never allowed me to meet the PM. They told me to submit an application and they will arrange meeting with the PM within 21 days. I begged them to take my case seriously as I can’t afford delays, but they never pay heed to my requests.

“I want to play squash, as it is in my blood. My entire family is involved in sports and we have won countless international medals for Pakistan. We deserve better treatment than what we are getting in return of our matchless services for the country. I hope the PM, IPC Minister, Acting PSB DG and PSF President will listen to my genuine complaints and provide me timely justice,” Riffat concluded.