“Show us a more picturesque sports venue than the Gwadar stadium” such lines in the admiration of Gwadar cricket stadium remained at a high point for the past couple of weeks on social media. Ranging from domestic media to international, all shared the praises against the beauty of the stadium.
Most importantly the hashtags of “Emerging Balochistan” took the scene in a different shade. Even though it’s beauty did not spare the attention and concern of the International Cricket Council (ICC); It too dubbed the venue as the “most beautiful stadium.” People from all walks of life came across with their positive gestures and signs of love on various social media platforms.
Undoubtedly promotion of sport is a healthy initiative, but only when the local people enjoy the rest of the fundamental requirements of life, such as water and fine living standard. If people desperately struggle to get water to quench their thirst, in such a scenario promotion of sports is rather a daydream.
How can interest in sports even generate in people when they have empty stomachs and thirsty throats? The contribution of media, print as well as social, to bring these people’s suffering forward remains non-existent on practical grounds.
The ugly truth of Gwadar
Gwadar is the southwestern port city of Balochistan. The city continues to drag the attention of scores of countries due to its ideal strategic location and warm sea. Moreover, the official unveiling of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in 2013 enhanced the importance of the city to its extreme positions.
The gigantic project between two neighbouring countries is widely being considered as a “destiny forging project” for both countries: China and Pakistan. Interestingly the Gwadar city is the heart of the project. However, a bird’s eye view of the city manifests some ugly truths which have never been displayed in the mainstream media; the despair and sad faces of poor people can be witnessed in the city for the search of water.
If the city is on the sail of becoming the financial hub of the country then how come its people sleep with unending sagas of water shortage? Similarly, for many poor residents, the project proves to be a disastrous blow. In fact, the small fishermen, who used the sea as their sources of bread and butter, are being deprived of these things. They believe the project is only a disaster to their existing opportunities.
Deprived of clean drinking water
Speaking with Shabeer, one of the fishermen, I found some rather disappointing and discouraging replies regarding the beauty of the cricket stadium. With each passing day, harsh restrictions are rising up for these fishermen which Shabeer finds a suffocating condition.
I, however, tried my best to distort the facts in order to present a positive picture, but in the end, I soberly felt that all my efforts were going up in smoke. His arguments and logic were based on the ground realities of the city and proved things in an entirely different way.
In the middle of our conversation, he got fiery and punched me with a question: “Don’t you know thirsty throats and empty stomachs don’t generate desire for anything apart from water and food?” asked Shabeer. He further went on saying that we need sports venues but before that, the government ought to fetch us clean drinking water.
Is the promotion of sports pointless?
As far as the sad and despaired faces of these poor locals are concerned, the sports venues do little for the promotion of cricket and the rest of the games in Gwadar and beyond.
The Gwadar Cricket stadium no doubt is one of the most beautiful sports venues with a magical landscape of surrounding mountains, but it fails to spew any sort of impression across the local population owing to the crisis of the rest of the basic human amenities.
If the local population remains deprived of basic human amenities, the promotion of sports will be a daydream in Balochistan. If the people remain devoid of basic facilities, sports venues such as Gwadar Stadium will barely leave any conducive impression on the youth. How can people play a match in conditions where even hygienic water is not available.
Amidst such grim situations, the promotion of sports is another way contributing to alienation and isolation. Therefore for the hallmark progress of sports, the Government must address the rest of the basic facilities.
Read more: Op-ed: Picturing a depressed Balochistan