No Pakistani city is safe: squash legend Jansher Khan

September 3rd, 2008 - 11:51 am ICT by IANS  

Karachi, Sep 3 (IANS) Squash legend Jansher Khan rejected several offers to coach in foreign countries to enjoy a retired life in Peshawar, but frequent suicide bombings in the capital of Pakistan’s restive North West Frontier Province (NWFP) are making him rethink his decision.”Peshawar is becoming more and more unsafe each day,” Jansher told IANS. “In fact no city is safe in Pakistan. They (suicide bombers) can strike anywhere and anybody.”

Jansher won a record eight World Open titles and was the world’s number one player for 10 years. Now 40, he runs a successful property business in Peshawar and also has similar concerns in Dubai.

In spite of numerous coaching offers from countries like the US and Egypt following his retirement in 2001, Jansher preferred to stay in Peshawar with his family. But a wave of suicide bombings in and around Peshawar in recent times has shaken him.

“This sense of insecurity is haunting everybody,” he said. “I mean I’m scared whenever I take my children out for ice cream or some shopping.”

Jansher is unable to understand the motives behind the suicide bombings. “I don’t think you can gain anything from killing innocent people. They (suicide bombers) are just harming our country.”

Sports has been one of the victims of the terror caused by the bombings. Recently, the ICC Champions Trophy was postponed after five of the eight competing teams raised security concerns.

The suicide bombings have affected life all over Pakistan. Organisers of the local version of the musical “Chicago” that debuted here at the Pakistan Arts Council had to give up plans to take their production to Lahore and Islamabad.

“The suicide bombings in the country forced us to change our plans,” says Saira Khan, a former national tennis champion who runs Rahatkada - a hospice for terminally-ill cancer patients. Her charity is linked with the play that earned critical acclaim.

“We are thinking about taking ‘Chicago’ to Dubai. At least it is going to be safer there,” says Saira Khan, who is expecting to generate precious funds for Rahatkada through “Chicago”.

Jansher wants the government to do more to end the suicide bombings.

“We are one people that live in a great country. We can’t allow it to become a battlefield. I urge the government to do more to contain this scourge. It should negotiate with the people causing all the damage because nothing can be achieved by the use of force,” he said.

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