World Bridge: Pakistan
If you look at the list of Pakistani Contract Bridge Players on Wikipedia, it contains only one name – Zia Mahmood – and in a recent interview with Great Bridge Links he’s noted that it saddens him to see that bridge in Pakistan is not at the heights it once was. He says the game is affected by not enough players, limited exposure, and limited facilities.
We’re taking a closer look at the game in Pakistan for the first in a series of World Bridge articles by country (stay tuned!). Where did bridge first take root, where is it now and where is the game going from here?
Founding and Promoting Contract Bridge in Pakistan
The game of contract bridge first achieved popularity when engineer and businessman Khaja Azeemuddin decided to set up his own bridge club in Karachi way back in 1957. Soon, the so-called “57 Club” bloomed into a larger initiative, seeing more clubs and more tournaments across Pakistan – and the game achieved popularity especially amongst the country’s great thinkers.
From there, the Pakistan Bridge Federation was founded in 1972 – and later gave rise to another, larger representative body that included Africa, Asia and the Middle East under its umbrella. (It’s worth noting that the African Bridge Federation itself was founded in 1996, and incorporated into the WBF in 2000.)
Bridge appears to remain popular in Pakistan from there, with the Pakistan Sports Board doing what they can to promote the game, but not necessarily as popular as it should be.
What could change?
More players need to be actively playing tournaments, and more events could be hosted to promote the game overall.
Bridge Players in Pakistan
Zia Mahmood remains a name that’s synonymous with Pakistan and bridge. In an interview with Hello Pakistan Magazine he called it “the greatest hobby but the hardest profession”.
But let’s not forget that the ex-president of Pakistan Pervez Musharraf is also known for playing a regular bridge game – and he even participated in the Islamabad Bridge Club Tournament in 2007. More coverage of the game is available at this link.
Organizations Representing Bridge in Pakistan
Looking for bridge representation or events in Pakistan? Here are the main representing bodies. If you have a unique bridge event or tournament in Pakistan that you’d like to list anywhere else, take a look at BridgeScanner and list your event online – and don’t forget to send the details to us, too!
By Alex J Coyne