By Abdul Jabbar Faisal
A best sports administartor of past, Syed Khawar Shah was born on December 7, 1949 at district Jhang (Punjab) Pakistan. He was very keen in sports from his childhood and was one of the best players of football and athletics. Besides this, he was also very interested in traditional local sports of Punjab including Kabaddi and Desi-Kushti. Khawar Shah got his early education from Jhang while he completed his Master's Degree in History in 1976 from Punjab University Lahore. He was also played a vital role in students’ politics and remained the President of Student Union at Government Degree College Jhang.
Syed Khawar Shah started his professional career in 1978 as a Tehsil Sports Officer in Punjab Sports Board. He was then elected to the Divisional Sports Officer in 1983. In 1997 he was promoted to Deputy Director Sports. He was appointed as Director Sports Punjab by the Government of Punjab in 2002. In 2003, he was promoted to Director General of Punjab Sports Board and took the charge on October 10, 2004. Later, in 2007 he was designated Managing Director of Punjab Sports Board and retired in December 2009. Syed Khawar Shah served for over 30 years in the Directorate General Sports Punjab.
Syed Khawar Shah successfully organized International Cricket Competitions during his employment in Sports Board Punjab:
1. One Day Match PAK vs WIND 1985 Gujranwala
2. One Day Match PAK vs WIND 1986 Gujranwala
3. One Day Match WIND vs ENG 1987 Gujranwala World Cup
4. One Day Match PAK vs IND 1989 Gujranwala
5. One Day Match PAK vs SLK 1991 Gujranwala
6. Test Match PAK vs SLK 1991 Gujranwala
7. One Day Match PAK vs ZMB 1993 Rawalpindi
8. Test Match PAK vs ZMB 1993 Rawalpindi
9. One Day Match PAK vs AUS 1994 Rawalpindi
10. One Day Match PAK vs SAF 1994 Rawalpindi
11. One Day Match PAK vs SLK 1995 Rawalpindi
12. One Day Match PAK vs UAE 1996 Rawalpindi World Cup
13. One Day Match ENG vs SAF 1996 Rawalpindi World Cup
14. One Day Match HOL vs SAF 1996 Rawalpindi World Cup
15. Test Match PAK vs NZL 1996 Rawalpindi
He also organized different international sports events:
1. Football Match PAK vs India 2005 Lahore
2. The 7th Asia Baseball Cup 2006 Rawalpindi
3. International Bodybuilding Championship 1989 Gujranwala
4. Hockey Match Holland vs Punjab Under-14 Gujranwala
5. Hockey Match PAK vs BNG Gujranwala
6. Quadi-e-Azam International Wrestling Championship 1986 Gujranwala
7. Ch. Zahoor Elahi International Memorial Kabaddi Tournament 1991 Mandi Bahauddin
Syed Khawar Shah successfully conducted Ind-o-Pak Dangal Desi Kushti contests between wrestlers of Pakistan and India in 2008 and 2011 in different cities of Punjab including Bahawalpur, Multan, Gujranwala and Lahore.
He also successfully organized national level competitions of various sports including baseball, hockey, badminton, volleyball, basketball, wrestling, gymnastics, kabaddi and racquetball.
Syed Khawar Shah also served in various social and sports associations throughout his life:
1. President Student Union Govt. Degree College Jhang 1972
2. Secretary General Pakistan Federation Baseball 1992-2015
3. President Pakistan Federation Baseball 2015-2017
4. Field Director Pony Baseball of Asia 1993-2012
5. Member Development Committee Baseball Federation of Asia 2006
6. Member at Large Baseball Federation of Asia 2005-2012
7. Executive Director West Asia Baseball Federation of Asia 2012-2017
8. Member World Baseball Softball Confederation 1997-2017
9. District Administrator Pakistan Little League Baseball 2009-2016
10. Secretary General SAF Baseball Federation 2011-2017
11. Member Executive Committee Pakistan Olympic Association 2017
In 1992, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided to include baseball in the Olympics, then Syed Khawar Shah decided to introduce this sport in Pakistan, the baseball was formally started in Gujranwala because Khawar Shah was then serving as a sports officer in Gujranwala. The first National Baseball Championship was also held same year in which teams from Pakistan WAPDA, Pakistan Railway, Islamabad, Balochistan, North West Frontier Province (NWFP), Sindh, Punjab White and Punjab Blue participated. Later teams of Pakistan Police, Pakistan Army and Higher Education Commission (HEC) also joined.
Syed Khawar Shah worked hard to make the baseball game popular throughout the country. His hectic efforts made the Pakistan Federation Baseball a member of the International Baseball Federation (IBAF) and the Baseball Federation of Asia (BFA). The IBAF and the BFA always praised Syed Khawar Shah's efforts for baseball. Syed Khawar Shah also worked tirelessly for the popularity of baseball in the West Asian region. In view of his services, the President of the Baseball Federation of Asia awarded Syed Khawar Shah the Presidential Award in 2011. Lateron, he was also named Executive Director of the West Asian Region Baseball Federation of Asia in 2013.
Due to the efforts of Syed Khawar Shah, various baseball teams of Pakistan has participated in international competitions and made the country famous. Pakistan's Under-12 baseball team participated in 2nd IBAF U12 Baseball World Cup 2013 which took place in Taiwan. Pakistan's Women's Baseball Team took part in the Women's Baseball World Cup 2016 in South Korea while the National Baseball Team of Pakistan participated in the 2016 World Baseball Classic Qualifier which was held in New York United Sates of America (USA).
1. 7th Asia Baseball Cup 2006 Rawalpindi Gold
2. 9th Asia Baseball Cup 2009 Islamabad Gold
3. 1st SAF Baseball Cup 2011 Lahore Gold
4. 10th West Asia Baseball Cup 2012 Lahore Gold
5. 11th West Asia Baseball Cup 2013 Lahore Gold
6. 12th West Asia Baseball Cup 2015 Islamabad Gold
7. 13th West Asia Baseball Cup 2017 Islamabad Silver
Syed Khawar Shah worked day and night for the improving the standard of sports in the country. He visited the area most affected by terrorism in Pakistan (FATA) and selected players for baseball team and kept them in the National Baseball Academy (NBA) established in Lahore, where these players were provided with baseball training, accommodation, food and education. These players participated in international competitions abroad for Pakistan and revealed the name of their region (FATA) and country.
1. The 9th Under-12 Asian Baseball Championship 2016 China
2. The 9th Under-15 Asian Baseball Championship 2017 Japan
3. The 10th Under-12 Asian Baseball Championship 2018 Taiwan
4. The 10th Under-15 Asian Baseball Championship 2019 China
In the 10th U-15 Asian Baseball Championship played in China in 2019, Zeeshan Amin from Khyber Agency (FATA) received the Best Outfielder and Best Home Run award and raised the name of his region and country in the world. While from Punjab, Syed Mohammad Shah won the Best Hitter Award.
Syed Khawar Shah remained associated with sports till his death and worked to illuminate Pakistan's name in the world. His last job was organizing the Ind-o-pak Baseball Series in the United Arabs Emirates (UAE) named Dubai Baseball Cup. The series was played in December 2017, in which Pakistan won the gold medal.
On his return from Dubai Cup, Khawar Shah traveled to Islamabad for a baseball event at the Quaid-e-Azam Games in December 2017, where he successfully held the baseball competitions, but his tireless work and the cool weather of Islamabad, Syed Khawar Shah got ill. When he was checked up on his return to Lahore, doctors diagnosed the pneumonia and he was admitted to the hospital. Where he transferred to the ventilator but he could not survive and reunited with his creator on January 16, 2018.
Syed Khawar Shah died but whenever history of sports would be written in Pakistan, Khawar Shah's name would be inked in golden letters. His services would never be forgotten in sports. May Allah grant Khawar Shah a place in his mercy and shower His blessings on him (Aameen).