LAHORE - Former Pakistan hockey players gathered here at the National Hockey Stadium to stage a protest against holding a political gathering.

The National Hockey Stadium’s astro-turf was scrapped completely after Sports Board Punjab (SBP) allowed Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) to hold a public gathering led by their chairman Imran Khan on August 13. The preparations for the political gathering are in full swing.

Some of the former international hockey players reached the stadium to protest against destroying a ground for political means. They were holding placards and chanting against the SBP amid PTI workers making efforts to stop them.

On Wednesday, a video went viral on social media in which labourers can be seen removing astro-turf from National Hockey Stadium. A lot of social media users criticized PTI and its chairman, who is also a sportsman, for destroying a playing turf.

Meanwhile, the Lahore High Court (LHC) has directed the party to be careful and not cause any damage to the ground ahead of the PTI’s public gathering on August 13 at National Hockey Stadium. The high court has ordered the deputy commissioner to make a decision based on the requests to change the venue of the meeting. It also said that it was the job of the higher authorities to decide on the venue for the public gathering. The LHC has directed the party that there shouldn’t be any damage done to the ground. The court decided that the astro-turf should be installed by the Punjab government as soon as possible and funds should be allocated in the budget.

Special Assistant to Prime Minister Attaullah Tarar had filed a petition in the court against the PTI’s jalsa on August 13. The turf was removed under the directions of CM Punjab Pervaiz Elahi to prepare for the public gathering. In this regard, the Pakistan Hockey Federation said that the turf should have been removed after the new one came.