Every tournament organiser faces an avalanche of emails from oversea players desperate to obtain visas. Most applications are genuine; many are not.
A case gaining publicity in Canada and Pakistan seems to illustrate the problem with some clarity. A player from Peshawar, Asif Khan, is facing deportation as an illegal immigrant but demanded asylum on the grounds that his life was being threatened by the Taliban if he returned to Peshawar.
This claim is disputed by Pakistani squash legend Qamar Zaman, who told The News website that players are producing fake emails to gain visas.
A number 0f Pakistani players are receiving support in the USA because of funding problems back home and the absence of major tournaments, not to mention a volatile squash federation who banned the whole national men’s team for failing to do well in the last World Team Championship. This decision was overturned by the World Squash Federation.
Here is the article in full:
By WAQAR HAMZA
KARACHI: Peshawar’s Asif Khan, a squash player who fled to Canada “to escape the Taliban in Pakistan” and is now facing deportation, is a fraud, a senior squash official said on Wednesday.
“He was among a group of local players here in Peshawar who created a fake email in my name and wrote to different squash associations of the world that I want to send these players for training to their countries,” former world champion Qamar Zaman told ‘The News’.
“My son Mansoor Zaman was told by an official of Denmark Squash Association during a tour that he was sending visas to a group of players in Peshawar who were recommended by me. He (Mansoor) saw the emails and told the official that I don’t use the account he has received emails from,” he added.
Qamar said the development shocked him and he consulted with FIA. “Later I withdrew this case on humanitarian grounds. But this has been a practice here in Pakistan for quite sometime that people get the membership of Professionals Squash Association (PSA) for around 400 pounds, get visas and then never come back,” said Qamar.
“I wrote to a director of PSA stating they have made PSA a shop. A big number of people have gone to foreign countries on the basis of this PSA membership because they easily got visas on their letter. This has become a big business here,” he added.
Qamar suggested that foreign countries should not issue visas to squash players without seeing Pakistan Squash Federation’s (PSF) endorsement.
The Huffington Post of Canada has reported that Asif Khan Khalil could be sent back to Pakistan. He claimed refugee status in Winnipeg in August 2010, saying that Taliban wanted to kill him because he played squash in Peshawar.
Khalil claimed in a document submitted to the Canadian immigration officials that the Taliban threatened his coach in July 2009 and told him to stop training Khalil. He somehow left Pakistan in 2010 and has never been back. Some guessed that he first reached Sweden and then left for Canada.
Officials said there are hundreds of boys playing this game in Peshawar without any fear of Taliban. “Peshawar is the hub of squash and the country’s top players are from here but they have never received any threats from Taliban,” said an official of Peshawar Squash Association.
This is actually a new gimmick to seek settlement in a foreign country because of good money-making opportunities there, he said.