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Pakistan squash Carla’s dream

London: Carla Khan, a former England junior international in squash and granddaughter of the legendary Azam Khan, is taking legal advice after being prevented from playing for Pakistan at the Asian Games in Busan (formerly known as Pusan).

Carla, born and bred in England, wants to play for the land of the world-beating Khans — her ancestors — and claims it is inhuman on her to be made to live in Pakistan in order to represent the country.

After being denied permission in Manchester on the eve of the Commonwealth Games, the world No. 41 was again led to expect that she would be included in the squad, only to be rejected because she doesn’t live there.

The Pakistan Squash Federation claims the Olympic Council of Asia and the Asian Squash Federation rules prevent Carla from playing and says: “We have great sympathies and her absence will be felt by all of us here.”

However, her father Wasil Khan is now seeking to discover whether the decision can be contested as a human rights violation issue. “It’s not practical to ask her to live in Pakistan for two years,” he said.

Carla points out that she has a Pakistani passport, that her family has residences in Pakistan, that she is Pakistan’s national champion and that she trained in Pakistan.

“I want to live up to my heritage,” the 20-year-old said. “And I want to build bridges between two cultures. I have a foot in both countries and would love to help Islam and the western world to understand each other better.”

Her ideals, however, are yet to bring harmony within her own family. Grandfather Azam, four-time British Open champion in the 1950s and a contender for the accolade of the greatest ever, has disassociated himself from her ambitions, believing them incompatible with proper Muslim traditions. (AFP)

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