State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) is the lifeline of all our financial matters. It is also one of the few state-run institutions which are seriously working for the promotion of sports.
Keeping in view the importance of sports for building the nation, SBP has established a sports complex in North Nazimabad Block A, which has facilities for cricket and football.
Pakistan is much behind the leading football nations in the world but its popularity has risen very fast in recent years. After cricket it is the most popular sport in Pakistan.
At a time when sports grounds, parks and playgrounds have been encroached, “China cutting” has become a profession in the city, when public land is being devoured by the influential, SBP’s act of establishing this sports complex is really praiseworthy.
The cricket ground is the heart of this sports complex—no less than a jewel in the sports world of Karachi.
The sports complex is spread over 7 acres and has all facilities for organizing first class cricket matches.
The complex was inaugurated in early 2016 and due to its increasing popularity in the cricket fraternity the SBP management has planned to install floodlights which will make the stadium unique in domestic cricket.
The lush green grass of cricket stadium and football ground presents a scenic view—as are seen in Australia and New Zeeland. The grass has been imported from Australia. It is a wonderful sight in Karachi’s sunlight.
The cricket stadium has several practice pitches, which are available for all departments and regions against nominal charges of Rs 200 per day.
At a time when sports have become income generating tool in the country, and all leading institutions are charging heavy amounts for use of their facilities, SBP lets its grounds to schools, colleges, universities, clubs and women cricket and football teams to play matches for only Rs 500 per day—with the facility of pavilions.
The complex has seating arrangement for more than six thousand spectators. There is ample parking space as scores of vehicles can be parked.
The wickets of cricket stadium have been prepared under the supervision of Pakistan’s most famous curator Ehsan Arain. There is also a plan to establish a gym and a swimming pool for visiting and practising teams.
There are many beautiful grounds of cricket in the country but what distinguishes the SBP’s stadium is that they are not using it for generating money.
Even some so-called stalwarts of cricket sitting in the PCB are earning money through renting grounds.
The swathe of grass is a rare sight in a city like Karachi. The sports complex is also unique for having marble tiled washrooms with bathtubs.
North Nazimabad was once considered the hub of cricket as a number of cricket grounds were situated there such as KDA stadium, KCCA stadium, Justice Asghar Ali Shah ground and Bakhtyari Youth Centre, but unfortunately barring Asghar Ali Shah ground, all grounds are in deplorable condition. In this scenario, the SBP sports complex is no less than a sports bonanza.
SBP’s manager sports and deputy director Zaheer-ul-Hasan is the man behind all this development. He devotedly put his all energies to build this complex. Zaheer gives credit for the wonderful sports complex to Qasim Nawaz, the managing director of SBP, and chairman sports committee. He was behind every development of this complex and played an important role in removing all bureaucratic and financial hurdles.