The Board of Intermediate Education Karachi (BIEK) has apparently handed over its sports ground to a government department for the construction of a sports complex without the approval of the competent authority and without any agreement. The Express Tribune has also learnt that construction has already started on the sports complex at Bakhtiari Youth Centre, spread over hundreds of acres of land next to the BIEK office in North Nazimabad.
It is not clear under what conditions the Sindh government’s Department of Sports and Youth Affairs is constructing this complex, and whether it will be returned to the BIEK after its construction. The board management has not agreed to any terms of reference (TORs) with the department regarding the sports complex’s construction.
The Bakhtiari Youth Centre is an asset of the BIEK, and according to the board’s rules, any major decision must be approved by the Board of Governors, which convenes at least twice a year to discuss such issues. In this case, however, this procedure has not been followed nor does the BIEK have any approval.
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When contacted for his version, Tariq Abrar, Director of Sports for BIEK, told The Express Tribune that the land has not been transferred to the sports department. “It has been allocated for the Karachi mega project, which will construct a sports complex on the site,” he added. However, he also admitted that there was no approval nor an agreement currently exists to this effect. “An agreement will be signed with the relevant department soon,” he said.
When asked about the transfer of land and commencement of construction at the site despite the absence of an agreement, Abrar referred The Express Tribune to the board’s chairman. However, he noted that during the former chairman’s tenure, a letter was written expressing the board’s desire to build a sports complex on the site.
According to the information available with The Express Tribune, the Sindh government announced a tender for the construction of a sports complex at Bakhtiari Youth Centre earlier this year, with the tender deadline set for June 6.
However, the BIEK remained indifferent to this tender advertisement, and construction work began at the site a few days ago. On May 16, the board management wrote a letter to the secretary of the Department of Sports and Youth Affairs, recommending the construction of a cricket ground, jogging track, and other facilities, including a gymnasium, at Bakhtiari Youth Centre.
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Prof Naseem Memon, who assumed the charge of BIEK Chairman around three months ago, confirmed that the Department of Sports and Youth Affairs is constructing the sports complex because it has previously built a similar complex in a school in Hyderabad.
However, he evaded a direct answer when The Express Tribune asked about the approval of the Board of Governors, TORs, project completion, costs, and other specifics. He acknowledged the validity of the concerns raised and expressed a commitment to address them.
It is uncertain that the sports complex would be handed over to the BIEK after construction since no agreement or working paper has been presented to the Board of Governors. The board chairman did not provide a satisfactory answer to this question.
When The Express Tribune reached out to the Higher Education Commission (HEC) for comments, a senior official clarified that the commission only provides sports funding, and construction-related matters are managed by the universities themselves. He cited examples such as the boxing court constructed in Lyari University and noted that proposals come from universities, funds are released after approval, and the construction is executed by the relevant institution.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 26th2023.