ISLAMABAD    -     Pakistan Squash Federation (PSF) has made all the arrangements to host $20,000 Pakistan International Squash Tournament 2019 for men’s and $12,000 for ladies from December 15 to 19 here at Mushaf Squash Complex.

The PSF is trying its best to facilitate the players and officials and keen to provide maximum events to players and especially the referees, but they are not ready to take advantage from the federation’s initiative. Tahir Khanzada has been referees’ director since long, but he never pays heed towards grooming referees and always demands incentives in bulks.

Same old and outdated referees are always given top priority, when it comes to officiate national and international events in Pakistan. It has been witnessed world over that mega tournaments like World Open, Tournament of Champions, world team squash championship and other major tournaments are conducted by handful of referees, but in Pakistan, Khanzada demands more than dozen referees to conduct even local tournaments.

Hong Kong-based Muhammad Fayyaz is the most favourite referee of Khanzada, who is a must part of every local and international event of Pakistan. On the other hand, Fayyaz is a highly biased and controversial referee and lot of complaints have been registered against him, but Khanzada never bothered to pay heed towards this important issue, because Fayyaz enjoys unlimited backing of Tahir.

Despite the fact, same outdated referees have been conducting the tournaments for years, they never bothered to learn a single word of English and it is also very embarrassing that when an international player wants referees to explain why call was given against him or her, our referees don’t have any answers. Khanzada never bothered to pay heed towards conducting referees clinics and remains busy in sending his blue-eyed referees abroad for refereeing in major tournaments.

When this scribe called Tahir Khanzada to seek his point of view regarding this important issue of local referees, he replied: “I will try to conduct clinics for the referees and it is not me but World Squash Federation (WSF), which recommends names of international referees.”

In the past, other referees also arrived in Pakistan to conduct tournaments, but when this scribe informed Khanzada, he is the one, who recommends referees name to the PSF and on his demand, referees are assigned, he had no answer. He resides in Hyderabad and hardly has time to come to Islamabad with only exception of tournaments.

When this scribe visited Mushaf Squash Complex to meet PSF Secretary Group Captain Tahir Sultan to seek his point of view regarding Khanzada and his performance, he said: “We have to follow the directives of director referees, as he is the one who forwards list of referees to the federation. It is true that Khanzada, being director referees, should pay heed towards grooming referees and try to educate them.

We also raise same question that why so many referees are required to conduct events, when worldwide, a few referees conduct mega tournaments. But Khanzada always advocate referees and says it is grooming process, we have to involve maximum local referees to educate them through international tournaments,” he added.

Khanzada has not been improving the standard of Pakistan refereeing and referees and he must be replaced with qualified person like Faheem Gul Khan, who is a world class referee and had been director referees in the past as well. He had conducted clinics for referees and he is also a world class coach.

It is high time when the PSF President and newly-appointed senior vice president AVM Aamir Masood have to take drastic steps and make it very clear to not only players, officials and referees to work hard and earn laurels for the country or else, the PSF will stop financing them.