Ayesha Ayaz, a 12-year-old budding athlete, had taken the initiative to arrange the match for girls who belonged to Babuzai and Kabal tehsils. However, several prayer leaders and elders before the start of the match arrived at the match venue and stopped girls from participating in it.
Saeed Iqbal, an eyewitness, said, “When the girls from different areas gathered on the ground for the match, some religious people came and angrily forbade the players and organisers to do so. They were yelling and shouting and saying it was immodest for girls to play cricket in the open ground and we will never allow them to do so,” Dawn reported.
He further said that the imams contacted the local councillor Ihsanullah Kaki, who also called on the match organisers and women players to leave the area.
Ayaz Naik, one of the organisers, said many women cricket players in Swat wanted to play cricket professionally. He said, “Many girls contacted us to organise cricket matches for them and make a district cricket team to play first class matches,” according to Dawn report.
He further said that he, his daughter and some professional players organised the match at Charbagh Cricket Stadium as construction work was being carried out at the stadium in Mingora. He called it shocking for girls and organisers when they were stopped from playing cricket in the area.
Local players Humaira Ahmad and Sapna said they and their friends were excited to play the match. However, the locals did not allow them to play.
They said, “Our enthusiasm dwindled as we arrived at the venue and encountered individuals who prevented us from participating in the game. It’s puzzling why some men have reservations about female participation in sports because taking part in sports is our fundamental right, and we aspire to play at a higher level,” according to Dawn report.
Charbagh Tehsil Chairman Ihsanullah Kaki claimed that the security situation in Charbagh tehsil is “unstable” due to the presence of individuals with firearms, Dawm reported. Kaki said those living near the cricket ground are hesitant to come out of their homes at night.
He said, “The security conditions within the Charbagh tehsil are currently unstable due to the presence of individuals with firearms, who are often spotted in various locations. These individuals send messages to local residents, demanding money and issuing threats.”
He claimed that people of Charbagh were not against the female cricket match. However, the security situation in the area was unstable.