The artificial astroturf of the National Hockey Stadium in Lahore has been removed for the public rally of PTI on 13th August. PTI has planned a massive public rally in Lahore a day before the 75th Independence Day of Pakistan.
The party has invited the public to attend the rally where Imran Khan will address the nation. The rally has been named “Haqeeqi Azadi jalsa. A video went viral on social media in which the labourers are removing astroturf from the stadium. The video gained traction and attracted massive condemnation on social media for ruining the stadium. Netizens argued that the stadium is among the relatively few well-maintained sports facilities in Pakistan. With the underdevelopment of the sports sector in Pakistan, such facilities must not be used for political gatherings.
Pakistan Hockey Federation has distanced itself from the move.
PTI claims it’s fake propaganda run by PMLN to defame them. According to PTI member Azhar Mashwani, the astroturf of the Lahore Hockey Stadium has expired. While the matches are being played on Pitch B of the ground. The new turf will be installed soon on the ground. Shocking pads of this astroturf were also destroyed by PMLN in 2014 by bringing 25,000 people for fake Guinness book competitions.
— Rai Saqib KharaL (@iRaiSaqib) August 11, 2022
Expired turf is being moved to Sargodha. There is a difference between National Hockey Stadium and a local ground in Sargodha
— Arsalan Abbas (@ArsalanAbbas_) August 11, 2022
Meanwhile, YouTuber Rai Saqib Kharal, in his video, said that the turf was first installed in 2012 and expired in 2017. Since it is the stadium that has hosted international matches in the past, this turf was no longer viable for the stadium. The same company that had installed the turf was asked to remove what would be installed in Sargodha after repair.
Kharal said that the repair of the turf would take another six months after which it will be installed in a local stadium.
Some reported that the decision to change the astroturf of the stadium was already made in February earlier this year.