Naval Chief Defends Sailing Club As ‘Sports Facility' Ordered By Govt

Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS) Zafar Mahmood Abbasi informed the Islamabad High Court (IHC) that 'sailing club' at Rawal Lake was a 'sports facility' constructed on the orders of the federal government.

In a response submitted to the high court, the naval chief said that the National Water Sports Centre (NWSC) was 'neither a club in the traditional sense nor is it a commercial enterprise'.

According to reply quoted by Dawn, the naval chief was 'patron-in-chief' of all water sports in Pakistan and to promote such sports in the country, the construction of the water sports centres was approved by the government in meeting in 1992.

The present structure is only an upgraded version of what had been established some 25 years ago, the response added.

The report said a detailed study was carried out by the consultancy firm in November 1993 that contained a detailed evaluation of the water sports project at Rawal Lake. On March 8, 1994, the Pakistan Navy wrote a letter to the CDA chairman for earmarking land at Rawal Lake for implementing the government directive.

On August 15, 1994, the PM Secretariat issued a letter to the CDA chairman for preparing a report as to how Rawal Lake could be utilised for water sports without causing pollution or contamination of water, the media outlet reported.

According to the reply, the decision to upgrade the water centre at Rawal Lake was taken as such facilities in the northern part of the country failed to garner interest. "In 2018, it was, therefore, decided to upgrade and renovate the existing setup at Rawal Lake in accordance with international standards and requirements of Olympics Federation while strictly following environmental parameters," the naval chief was quoted as saying.

The CNS also urged the court that the matter be seen in the broader national perspective and the directive of the government which has command of the armed forces.

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