Pakistan’s swimmer disappears in Hungary

Alam Zeb Safi
Thursday, Jun 23, 2022

KARACHI: Pakistan's talented young swimmer and four-time national gold medallist Faizan Akbar disappeared in Hungary hours after he arrived in Budapest last week to feature in the 19th FINA World Championships which is in progress these days.

According to well-informed sources, the 22-year old Gujar Khan-born swimmer took some rest at the hotel after arriving in Budapest and then vanished from the scene.

A well-placed source privy to the development told this correspondent that his roommate, who had come down for breakfast, called Faizan on phone to join him. Faizan told him that he was coming but he did not. He had left the hotel.

Sources said that Faizan disappeared from the scene after taking his necessary belongings while leaving his Pakistan's shirt in the hotel room.

Faizan was set to feature in 100m backstroke which was scheduled to be held on June 19 but he missed it.

Faizan belongs to a highly respectable department which he joined in 2017. His brother Zeeshan Akbar is also a swimmer of the same department whose name is being kept secret here. Zeeshan was also part of Pakistan's 4x200 metre freestyle relay team which took bronze in the 2019 South Asian Games in Nepal.

This correspondent learnt that when Faizan's department was informed about the incident by Pakistan Swimming Federation (PSF) through a letter, it took every step to inform Pakistan's embassy in Hungary, the local police and other relevant wings in order to find the swimmer. However, so far no success has been achieved.

Sources said that having Schengen visa, Faizan might have entered some other European country. In the wake of the incident, Faizan's name was dropped by his parent department from the Pakistan's swimming squad which is set to feature in the Commonwealth Games slated to be held in Birmingham from July 28 to August 8.

"Yes, he has been dropped from the Commonwealth Games squad," a source privy to the development said.

It was also learnt that this happened with the relevant department after 15 to 16 years that one of its athlete took such an illegal step which is not only disgraceful for the department but also for the country.

The PSF has sent a four-member squad to Budapest for featuring in the World Championship. The other swimmers, Amaan Siddiqui, Jehanara Nabi and Bismah Khan, are busy flexing their muscles in their respective events. The global event will conclude on July 3.

Sources said that Faizan's father was called by the relevant department the other day. The father looked quite relaxed.

Sources said that his father belongs to a well-off family and keeps expensive horses as he and his other son also play tent-pegging.

Sources said that as per rules Faizan toured Budapest after signing an undertaking and his family will have to pay a penalty of Rs2 million.

This correspondent tried to get input of PSF chairman Major (retd) Majid Waseem but neither did he receive the call nor did he reply to the message on his whatsapp number.