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A claim has circulated on Pakistani social media that a recent gathering by a political party has caused millions of rupees of damage to a specialised running track in the largest sports stadium in Balochistan.

The claim is true.

Claim

On November 28, a social media account posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, that the tartan running track, which cost millions of rupees to build at the Ayub Sports Complex in Quetta, was torn up when the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) held a political rally at the stadium in November.

“Chairs and sofas were brought for the PPP’s gathering,” the account wrote, “Big vehicles were also allowed in the stadium which caused severe damage.”

Along with the caption, the X account also posted a video and a picture which allegedly showed trucks, loaded with chairs, parked on the tartan track and banners of the PPP’s displayed on the Complex’s gate.

The post has been viewed over 2,000 times to date on X.

On December 1, another X user posted a video of the track with a voice over, claiming that political parties are not allowed to hold political gatherings at the Complex but the PPP was allowed.

He further blamed the caretaker sports minister of Balochistan for negligence.

Similar claims also took off Facebook here and here.

Fact

Officials in Balochistan confirm that the specialised, all-weather running track at Balochistan’s largest sports stadium, the Ayub Sports Complex in Quetta, is in urgent need of repairs after three political parties were allowed to hold election campaign rallies between October and December.

The tartan track was built with a cost of Rs13.6 million in June 2020.

Dara Baloch, the director general of sports in Balochistan, told Geo Fact Check that the track was indeed damaged due to political rallies at the Complex that the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-F on October 30, the PPP on November 30, and the Pashtunkhwa Milli Awami Party on December 2.

“An estimated summary [for the track’s repair and maintenance] has been sent to the [caretaker] chief minister Balochistan,” Baloch said, adding that the letters were sent on November 22 and December 28.

In one letter, dated November 22, written by the secretary sports in Balochistan to the chief minister of the province, the secretary stated “various political activities/gatherings and political demonstrations” were held at the Ayub Sports Complex Quetta, which resulted in “damages of facilities and interruption of sports activities for weeks”.

The letter added that after an assessment by the sports department it was estimated that the repairs would cost Rs5.786 million. The secretary further recommends banning all political activities at the “iconic” stadium.

In another letter, dispatched to the chief minister on December 28, the secretary wrote that the cost of repairs had increased to Rs184.676 million, as more political parties were allowed to use the Complex as the venue for their rallies.

The secretary sports writes to the caretaker chief minister Balochistan informing him that political gatherings at the Ayub Complex have led to damages of Rs184.676 million. (Date: December 28, 2023)

Pictures and videos, shared by Bloch with Geo Fact Check, show broken washrooms, doors and torn up pieces of the tartan track.

Images of the damaged stadium, provided by the director general sports. (Date: December 3, 2023)Images of the damaged stadium, provided by the director general sports. (Date: December 3, 2023)
 Images of the damaged stadium, provided by the director general sports. (Date: December 3, 2023)
Images of the damaged stadium, provided by the director general sports. (Date: December 3, 2023)Images of the damaged stadium, provided by the director general sports. (Date: December 3, 2023)
 Images of the damaged stadium, provided by the director general sports. (Date: December 3, 2023)

The caretaker at the Complex, who asked not to be named, also told Geo Fact Check that the track had been damaged after the three political rallies were allowed to use it.


With additional reporting by Nadia Khalid.

Follow us on @GeoFactCheck. If our readers detect any errors, we encourage them to contact us at [email protected]


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