KARACHI: Sports grounds play a significant role in building a healthy and stress-free society, especially in a metropolitan city like Karachi.
But the old, densely populated areas of Karachi such as Saddar, Keamari, Lyari, Garden and Mangopir have seen the number of grounds there decrease over the years.
These old areas of Karachi had been known as nursery of footballers and boxers in the past, but these activities have decreased owing to growing population, influx of people from different parts of the country into Karachi and encroachment of ground by land grabbers.
Mehar Sports Ground in Manghopir is one of the eye opening example in this respect, which has been encroached upon by the land grabbers.
Manghopir is known as an old historical place of Karachi city. It was once famous as a beautiful picnic spot for citizens due to its location and beautiful mountains, hot water springs and widespread date orchards. In the center of dates orchards, a piece of land had been allocated for a football ground around one hundred years ago in order to promote sports in this area.
This ground was famous as Mehar Sports Ground among the footballers.
This ground spread over a few acres produced some big names in Pakistan’s football history, including former captain late Muammad Umer Baloch, late Usted Muhammad Baloch, Master Amin Baloch, Babu Nawaz, Ghulam Abbas Baloch, Shaheed Khaliq Baloch and Shaheed Muhammad Anwar Baloch, who served the country in international events. This ground also gave departments such as KPT, PPWD, National Bank, PIA, KESC and Railway their best players.
Unfortunately, the ground has now been occupied illegally and houses are being built on it. Mahghopir has become a safe haven for criminals.
Sports lovers tried their best to stop the illegal activities, but their voice was suppressed by these people as they used their connections in the power corridors.
The local footballers protested, but the grabbers got fake cases registered against these youngsters in order to silence their voice.
Sports organisers, heads of registered football clubs and players have appealed to the authorities to withdraw the fake cases, get the ground evacuated and take strict action against the land grabbers.
This ground was visited, when tournaments were organised here, by former Chief Minister Balochistan Sardar Akhter Mengal, former chairman Senate Mian Muhammad Soomro, former City Nazim Karachi Naimatullah Khan and Syed Mustafa Kamal visited the ground as chief guest.
This ground used to provide a healthy environment to a huge number of youngsters living in Gram Chasma area, Sabeel Goth, Ghulam Muhammad Goth, Haji Umer Goth, Makrani Para, Sirmastani Mullaha, Haji Humza Goth, Haji Allah Bachaiyo Goth, Afridi Goth, Haji Malik Chandio Goth, Sultanabad, Khairabad, Hazratabad, Mashkay Para and Yaqoob Shah Basti.
The people living in these areas are Mengal, Rind, Sumlani, Sir Manstani, Qalandrani, Sirbazi, Marri, Khaskeli, Afridi, Mohmand, Mandhokhel, Muhammad Husni, Brohi, Chandio and Mirani.