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Akhtar Butt - The hawk-eyed mentor

Youthful days
Youthful days
 
With Ijaz Butt & Hafiz Salman Butt
With Ijaz Butt & Hafiz Salman Butt
 
With Ijaz Butt & Brig (r) Sarfraz Ahmed
With Ijaz Butt & Brig (r) Sarfraz Ahmed
 
Trials with Shafiq Papa, Javed Zaman and Saud Khan
Trials with Shafiq Papa, Javed Zaman and Saud Khan
 
1985-86 Portrait
1985-86 Portrait
 
‘BabaJee’ Anwaar-ul-Haq
‘BabaJee’ Anwaar-ul-Haq
 
With Athar Saeed Butt & Javed Zaman
With Athar Saeed Butt & Javed Zaman
 
Fazal Mahmood giving away the prizes.
Fazal Mahmood giving away the prizes.
 
With Fazal Mahmood, Hafiz Manzoor Hussain, Shafqat Rana & Test Umpire Amanullah.
With Fazal Mahmood, Hafiz Manzoor Hussain, Shafqat Rana & Test Umpire Amanullah.
 
Receiving a momento from Imtiaz Ahmed
Receiving a momento from Imtiaz Ahmed
 
With Athar Saeed Butt
With Athar Saeed Butt
 
MAO College in UAE -1988
MAO College in UAE -1988
 
Father - Mumtaz Hussain Butt
Father - Mumtaz Hussain Butt
 
With his grandchild, Faaris.
With his grandchild, Faaris.
 

Introduction

The landscape of cricket in Lahore has seen Akhtar Butt, carve a position of prominence, only a select few have achieved at grassroots level in Pakistan or for that matter anywhere in the world. The phenomenal success and reputation he has enjoyed as a cricket mentor, could not have come without the sheer bloody-minded determination – a strong feature of his DNA. Such has been his focus and intensity on ‘job at hand’ that self-projection or media engagement, has been the least of his concerns.

The 71-year old, Butt is one of the best known figures at grassroots level cricket, primarily within education institutions and continues to have great impact with his unique six-in-one-role that entails him being an organizer, selector, coach, manager mentor and motivator. In February 2021, Butt with these very six hats on, guided University of Central Punjab (UCP) to a six-wicket win against their arch rivals Punjab University in the final of the 2020-21 All Pakistan inter-university final at Peshawar. Yet another high point in this remarkable sporting journey which surely merits documentation for posterity.

A strong-headed, fearless, uncompromising hard taskmaster, Director Sports at Mohammadan Anglo College (MAO), Lahore, for good 29 years, Butt attended to the grassroots cricket needs of the game in the city, in his very own style. In that role he had other sports to keep an eye on too but invariably was pulled towards cricket, at the expense of hockey, football and athletics. He is credited with spotting more cricket talent on his own through conventional trials and camps than the combined tally achieved by the modern academies run by Lahore and Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). The two ingredients that set him apart, from the rest of the cricket coaches, is the intensity and strictly merit-based selection of budding talent.

Butt, with his ‘can do’ mind-set has nurtured the raw talent of hundreds, at a number of youth levels of the game. One thing is for certain, there are no half measures with him and he has not been shy to stamp his authority. His ‘colourful’ chosen expressions of the Punjabi language, lead to a highly vocal presence around the cricket boundary. Most see it as a reflection of Butt’s total commitment to the job in hand as he has rarely missed a delivery bowled in the nets or in the matches played under his supervision, which now is in its fifth decade.

The success of his tutees, primarily at MAO College, needless to say has been a source of joy and pride for Butt, who at present is managing UCP in Punjab Group of Colleges (PGC) with same level of vigour and passion that he displayed four decades ago. At present UCP has its nets and training at the home ground of Model Town CC, one of the leading clubs in Lahore. Their own home ground is near Bahria Town, Lahore and is only to be used for matches.

Having replaced Amjad Islam Amjad and taken charge of cricket as a sole authority at MAO College in 1980, Butt proactively searched to enrol students, purely on basis of their sporting ability. Right from the word go Butt did accommodate players in the squad, on recommendation but when it came to selection, which he has a habit of finalizing just before dawn, on a praying mat, no outside influence has been accepted, regardless of the person’s standing.

Butt would be given a free hand, by MAO Principal Masood-ul-Haq Siddiqi, whom he refers to as his ‘great supporter’, to induct players. The biggest incentive, more so for the boys from poor and underprivileged background, besides competitive cricket was the fact that Butt made sure their education, sports and in some cases hostel lodging expenses were all paid for by the college. The scenario enabled Butt to get the best out of the players, based on youth that was raised in the environment where traditional Punjabi sports, i.e. wrestling, kabaddi and even kite-flying, were on decline.

Once MAO, had enough firepower in its ranks it took on both Government College and Islamia College (Civil Lines), the two education institutions that had dominated Lahore and Punjab, in inter-collegiate tournaments for almost half a century. Butt’s success didn’t stop there for as a manager of Punjab University in the 1987-88 winter, his side beat Karachi University to become the Pakistan inter-varsity champion for the sixth year running. Butt also claims that MAO and Punjab University domination stretched to 26 years and the only time the title went to Bahawalpur in 2009 was when his team refused to participate due to a clash with the fasting month of Ramadhan.

No wonder MAO College, straight after Butt left them in 2009, plummeted among the bottom ranking cricket teams in Lahore. Professor Zafar-ul-Mohsin Peerzada – the College Principal, proved to be a nightmare for the sporting culture and traditions of the institution. The sports administration, now in the hands of Professors – Manzoor Taher, Mohammad Arif, Kamran Butt, Rashid Chishty and Abdul Khaliq – proved a complete disaster. The five-member ‘gang’ simply had no clue and their incompetency and lack of passion had negative impact on the college’s reputation of producing outstanding sportsmen. What pained him most in this episode was that his written pleas to all the relevant officer bearers, including President of Pakistan, fell on deaf ears. His voice for the plight of MAO College, he had served as a Government servant with great pride for almost three decades, counted for absolutely nothing.

As a feisty character, Butt thrived in the cut and thrust environment of the game but has not been tempted to run for an office at LCCA or even at PCB. He much prefers, just as the late Ashiq Qureishi with the Pakistan Veteran Cricket Association (PVCA), make a difference, in his own way. Both having a rebellion streak and choosing to stay out of the media glare. Once hunted down by the author, Butt agreed to his first ever exclusive chat.

Under Butt, Pakistan Universities beat Pakistan Customs with Jalal-ud-din and Rashid Latif in its line-up, in the 1989-90 final of the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy – Grade II, at Bagh-e-Jinnah, Lahore. In the following two seasons he had the honour of managing Pakistan University Grants Commission (PUGC) in Grade I (first-class) domestic cricket. In the 1990-91 winter, the three high points being, a 22-run win against Karachi Whites in the Wills Cup, a narrow 29-run win against PIA in the Patron’s Trophy and being awarded with a three-day fixture against England A at Bagh-e-Jinnah, Lahore. Kicking off with 1992-93, Pakistan Universities would compete in the BCCP Patron’s Trophy – Grade II, for the next eight years.

The Beginning

Second in line among three brothers, Akhtar Mumtaz Butt was born on September 9, 1949 in Gawalmandi, Lahore and attended the local primary corporation-managed school. His father, Mumtaz Hussain Butt, a government employee in agriculture sector, in the middle of 1958 Basant festival, took the family away from the Old City to Wahdat Colony, which with its acres of open spaces, provided opportunities for team games – cricket, hockey and football. A multi-purpose Wahdat Colony Ground had a supply of running water either from a canal or a tube well. Ever since his days at Government Pilot HS, Wahdat Colony, from where he did his matriculation in 1964, Butt pursued all three sports.

At Islamia College (Railway Road), where his maternal uncle was director of sports, Butt in the 1965-69 period, came across Bazid Ahmed Khan Burki (B.A.Burki) whom he saw both as a role model and a father figure. He was impressed with the devotion of the Basti Pathan, who after having finished a night shift as a Railways employee, would turn up to take charge of college’s hockey team. His dictatorial style was not everyone’s cup of tea but perhaps provided a ‘blue print’ for young Butt.

Butt is well known for his likes or dislikes for he never sits on a wall. Interestingly, despite the inter-university finals having shrunk dramatically from a four-day two-innings match to a mere 35-over bash in 2021, he retains his preference for slow left-arm bowlers to keep a check on scoring and has very rarely been inclined to include a wrist spinner. Given the slow nature of wickets and low bounce, it was not unusual for his team to feature only one new-ball bowler and three slow left-arm orthodox. His idea of a balanced line-up would include two to three left-handed batsmen and he has never had any reason to think different. Once having backed a player’s ability in the selection process, he has the knack of making players, perform to their optimum ability. Butt also reminded one of the fact that no player in Pakistan representing school or college, has ever been permitted to wear spikes in competitive cricket, during his 41-year association with the game.

Butt intentionally kept himself far away from what he calls the ‘dirty politics’ of cricket club in Lahore but since Ludhiana Gymkhana, P & T Gymkhana, ChuburJee Gymkhana and ShamNagar Gymkhana, for a number of years had their nets at MAO College Ground in Sham Nagar, it was only natural for him to spot quality players of the above named clubs. His close working relationship with Sidiq Khan (ODI umpire), Raza Hameed (Journalist) and Saud Khan (Coach) has resulted in a great number of the Ludhiana Gymkhana players to have come under his influence. Besides the three, Butt has also worked alongside Fawad Hasan Fawad, Javed Zaman, Nasarullah, Ali Zia and Raja Asad Ali Khan.

One-to-One Chat

Butt recalls,

‘There was a 7 year period (1971-78) in Sargodha when my father, an administrative officer in agriculture, found me a job of an inspector in Sargodha Market Committee. On the cricket front, at Shaheen CC I would work alongside Sarfraz Sahib, Agha Sahib and Latif Sahib, father of Naved Latif, who once hit 394 in a first-class match. The family was originally from Krishan Nagar but had settled in Sargodha. It was hard not to be inspired with the working ethics of these gentlemen, for they were so focused on their sporting ambitions. I travelled from Sargodha to Lahore for my Public Service Commission (PSC) exams.’

‘Following my graduation from Islamia College (Civil Lines) in 1969, I did a Senior Diploma in Physical Education, paving the way for a lifetime of association with sports. My inspiration for cricket came through maternal uncle, Khawaja Riaz Ahmed, who as a director of sports at Islamia College (Railway Road) had a fairly regular interaction with top sportsmen of Pakistan, including Fazal Mahmood, Imtiaz Ahmed and Munir Dar. A bachelor, soft spoken and immaculately dressed, he also fitted well in a role of college hostel superintendent. Outside cricket, he was best known as the elected secretary of the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF).’

Butt recalls

‘In Wahdat Colony, we had a great inter-communal spirit amongst the residents but in the period of 1958-60, you did not want to be out and about after sunset, for it was not very populated then. I was one of the founding members of Wahdat Eaglets, a club we formed in the 1964-65 winter that I saw as the first step to in fulfilling my sports management dreams. With hardly any funds in the early days, we even used sewerage pipes to roll the wicket. Initially we had no supervision in the club but a word got around of our enthusiasm and one evening we had a visit from Khawaja Abdu Rab – which I found out later, was brother-in law of my paternal aunt – to our nets.’

‘Rab Sahib advised me to run the club properly and would be happy to assist in getting a coir matting, most likely an East Pakistan-make, for our nets. Though our club was yet to be registered, within a year, we all felt confident in our games as few quality players - Afzal Masood, Zakir Butt, Aleem Khan and Tariq Cheema – attended our nets. Rab Sahib continued to run Friends CC as well that had its nets close to us and it would be represented by Sarfraz Nawaz.’

Butt Recalls

‘I also recall Bashir Sahib (kideo) in that period as the patron-in-chief of City Gymkhana, later dominated by the Rana brothers and their children and Yaseen Akhtar (Bhaeeaa) as an organizer of the Servis CC, Crescent CC had Mumtaz Sahib (Payaeeeaa) as its chief organizer. When it came to sheer dedication to the game, I must not miss the name of Malik Sarwar Mahmood, who as a patron-in-chief of Apollo CC, was also nominated for an ICC award in 2010.’

‘Mama Junaa was another elderly cricket mad figure in Lahore with affiliation to Muslim Model HS and Ludhiana Gymkhana. In the same breath I must also include Chacha Shareef, a real character, a very fine wicket-keeper in his heydays, often present at Punjab University Ground, Old Campus, with affiliation to Friends CC. I also can’t forget the names of Ali Hassan of Zareef Memorial CC and more recently Shoaib Dar of Model Town (Green) CC, both gentlemen well known for their care, passion and dedication, to the game and the players.’

Butt recalls

‘I myself represented Islamia College (Civil Lines) in cricket alongside Sarfraz Khan, Najum-ul-Haq Gogi, and Ijaz Ahmed ‘Chitel’. I was also good at football and played at college, Board and university level. I respected the talent of M.N.Jahan, who captained Pakistan Railways and was also a member of Pakistan football team, at his early morning camp at Wahdat Colony Ground. He had come under the influence of my maternal uncle at Islamia College (Railway Road). My interest in football remained intact in my student days and I also represented Pakistan Universities.’

‘My first appointment, after passing the (PSC) exams, as a District Sports Officer, in April 1978 was at Government Degree College, Murree. I missed Lahore and often travelled back and forth to keep me going. I knew very well that a transfer from Rawalpindi division to Lahore division will not be straight forward. When my transfer order for Sangla Hill came, I refused and then finally ended up back in Lahore. I jumped at the opportunity when it presented itself to me. I owed it to Chaudhary Ahmed Bashir (DG Punjab Sports Board and Principal Physical Education College, Lahore) and my good friend Akhtar Saeed Butt, to have my footing, in order to perform my role to oversee all sporting disciplines, including football, hockey and athletics.’

Butt Recalls

‘After three-year experience in Murree, I would start my long stint i.e. 1980-2009, at MAO College, Lahore. The college had a notorious reputation for the rough and undesirable elements, underlying my challenges and despite the opposition of the family, I accepted my role and picked football, boxing, cricket and hockey, as four disciplines for my sharper focus. It saddened me to see how little attention football had received in the past. In boxing we manged to introduce 11 weight categories and earned a good name for the college. As Director Sports, I got to know the workings of Sports Board Punjab (SBP) and Pakistan Olympic Association (POA).’

‘I recall being part of the game till the late 1970s that was free of political influences and interferences. That always seemed the right model for me and my work ethics in the 1980s to many were too old fashioned to survive. To me working for positive results through good sportsmanship was important. Honesty shall always remain the best policy and in doing so I rejected financial incentives when it came to selection of players in important matches. During the matches there is no entry into the ground for friends or family and I developed zero tolerance for indiscipline and my students know it very well. I have always expected highest standard of behaviour from my students to set a good example as a team.’

Butt Recalls

‘MAO College had its own sports ground in Sham Nagar, since the pre-partition days, but despite my earnest desire we were unable to play our home matches as there was no turf wicket, for a number of years. The cement wickets for practice were being used by 6-7 cricket clubs, including P& T Gymkhana, ChuburJee Gymkhana, Sham Nagar Gymkhana and New National. In later years Ijaz Butt provided us with a roller to help us with a turf wicket and General Tauqeer Zia awarded us with Rs.1Lakh to purchase sports goods, following our winning of Governor’s Cup. Brig. Sarfraz Ahmed (DG Sports – Sports Board Punjab), too have been outstanding in his role to uplift the standard of sports facilities.’

‘Punjab University, Old Campus with its small pavilion was my students’ favourite venue that saw some of our most memorable matches against top teams. As MAO was affiliated to Punjab University, our matches did get a priority and we only paid concessional rates for using the venue. The groundsman in charge of cricket, hockey and football at the time was Chahca Taj. Hailing from Sandha, a village on outskirts of Lahore, he wore a turban (pag) and dhotee and cut grass with the help of two oaks. He was very friendly and held in great esteem and his funeral, I recall, was attended by leading sports figures, including Fazal Mahmood.’

Butt is really chuffed to share the fact that a good number of students (barkhurdars), after their time under him at MAO College, Punjab University, Pakistan Universities, PGC, UCP, u-14 and u-16 sides, have gone on to represent associations and departmental teams in both Grade I and Grade II cricket and then some into the national side. His influence can also be measured by the fact that in the last two decades, 98% of the captains appointed by PUGC or HEC (Higher Education Commission) have originated from either Punjab University or UCP.

The list of international cricketers, (in alphabetical order) that came under his influence include, Ata-ur-Rehman, Azhar Ali, Hussain Talat, Imran Butt, Maqsood Rana, Mohammad Hussain, Mujahid Jamshed, Naeem Ashraf, Saeed Ajmal, Salman Butt, Saqlain Mushtaq, Shahid Nazir, Shakeel Ahmed Jr., Shakeel Khan, Shoaib Malik, Sohail Fazal, Taufeeq Umar and Zahoor Elahi.

The players who have progressed and prospered into Grade I first-class cricket or represented Pakistan at junior levels include, Aamir Sajjad, Adnan Munir, Adnan Raza, Aftab Azwar Awan, Agha Salman, Ahmed Munir, Ahmed Safi, Ahsan Raza, Ali Bahadur, Ali Tipu Sultan, Amer Nadeem, Arsalan Mir, Asad Malik, Asadullah Butt, Asfand Mehran, Ashraf Ali, Asif Raza, Aziz-ur-Rehman, Babar Zaman, Fareed Butt, Farhan Rashid, Fida Hussain, Hasan Adnan, Hasnain Qayyum, Humza Akbar, Irfan ‘Jailer’, Idrees Baig, Iftikhar Hussain, Ikhlaq Ahmed, Imtiaz Rasool, Intikhab Alam, Iqbal Zahoor, Javed Hayat, Junaid Ali, Kamran Khan, Kamran Afzal, Kashif Sidiq, Kashif Shafi, Khurram Sidiq, Maqsood Raza, Mazhar Qayyum, Mohammad Asif, Mohammad Asim, Mohammad Atif, Mohammad Ikhlaq, Mohammad Mohsin, Mohammad Riaz, Mohsin Riaz, Mubashir Nazir, Nadeem Afzal, Naeem Iqbal, Najeeb Bucha, G.M.Pasha, Qaiser Ashraf, Rashid Riaz, Raza Ali Dar, Rizwan Qazi, Rizwan Sattar, Saboor Ahmed, Saeed ‘Billa’, Sajid Aziz, Sajid Sarfraz, Sajjad Ali, Salman Ali Agha, Salman Fayyaz, Salman Qadir, Shafqat Hussain, Shahid Ali Khan, Shahid Javed, Shahid Mahmood, Shahid Nawaz, Shakeel Sajjad, Sher Ali, Sohail Idrees, Tanvir Hussain, Taimur Khan, Taimur Sultan, Tayyab Tahir, Umar Amaan, Umar Fayyaz, Umar Sidiq, Wasim Ali, Wasim Zahoor, Zaheer Khan and Zahid Umar.

There are a number of players – Afzaal Haider (Hong Kong), Azhar Saeed (UAE), Amjad Ali (UAE), Faisal Javed (Qatar), Irfan Haider (UAE), Imran Ali (Kuwait), Mohammad Afzal (UAE), Mohammad Usman (UAE), and Usman Waheed (Kuwait) - who have represented other international teams.

Some of Butt’s students have gone on to become coaches, trainers, curators and umpires and taken up jobs at PCB or the Pakistan Super League (PSL) franchised teams. One of his students, Saboor Ahmed, acted as his assistant coach in All-Pakistan Inter-University tournament, before joining PCB. Now he accompanies the present Pakistan senior side as a fitness coach, the role he was first assigned back in 2010, replacing his mentor -David Dwyer. Umar Fayyaz is the head coach of Pakistan Deaf cricket team, since 2005.

The boys who arrived in Lahore, from other districts of Punjab - Chiniot, Faisalabad, Gujranwala, Hafizabad, Jaranwala, Multan, Rawalpindi, Sahiwal, Sargodha, Sheikhupura, Sialkot, etc. -to fulfil their cricket dreams, were assured by Butt that a level playing field will be provided when competing with the local talent. During the trials and selection of u-16 squads for Lahore or Punjab, Butt will be one of the first invitations considered by Sports Board Punjab.

Butt was given a free hand by Ather Saeed Butt, to pick the top 10-12 teams of his choice to launch floodlight tournament for Commissioner’s Cup teams, for two years in which he recalls introducing the little known Misbah-ul-Haq and Salman Butt and also winning it in Gujranwala. He took UCP into Red Bull World Campus Tournament and emerged winners by beating Karachi University at Moin Khan Academy Ground. On another occasion, on a tour to Sri Lanka, UCP managed to beat their hosts and India before losing to Bangladesh.

At UCP, which he officially joined in 2009, in inter-university cricket, he only considered Punjab and Karachi as worthy opponents and in the build-up to major tournaments, would rather have practice matches against full strength clubs than simply relying on extended nets. In the words of Sohail Afzal, the executive director of UCP, ‘Butt Sahib ever since joining us has lifted our cricket team to the standard that we could only dream of. The achievements in cricket have enabled us to hold on to the prestigious ‘General Trophy’ awarded to the most successful sports University in Pakistan, for the last 8 years. He has wonderful qualities and has never suffered fools and non-committed individuals around him. It was our honour that he chose us after retiring from Government service.’

Butt for a couple of years, also took up the challenge of women’s cricket when approached by Punjab University and Lahore College University. Additionally he coached University of Lahore (UOL) to win All Pakistan inter-university held at Bahawalpur. After their initial period with him, they found themselves practising with the boys, bringing them considerable success in tournaments. Aliya Riaz, with 38 ODI appearances for Pakistan women, is the most prominent name from that batch

Butt recalls

‘Since I was on friendly terms with Hafiz Salman Butt, Liaqat Baloch, Fareed Piracha and Mian Usman of Jamaat-e-Islami, I was perceived as one of their close associates. Since Hafiz was a great patron of football and once hired a German coach, and financed few overseas tours for his own private club, named after his younger brother had been murdered, I saw no reason to refuse his advice in MAO College football affairs. As a Member of National Assembly (MNA), he was able to get funding and also attracted sponsorship for his sporting ambitions and arranged for scholarship for sportsmen employed by Police WAPDA and Railways.’

‘In the days most colleges in Lahore were rife with use of guns and narcotic and Jamiat Students (Islami Jmaiat i Tulba) having a stronger voice in student politics, MAO College had the worst reputation of all. It was hard to keep the students focussed on the game I loved so much and wanted to see the next generation take it up too. The hurdles I faced in my pursuit of goals, simply made me stronger and more determined. I always discouraged cheating, foul practices and challenging of umpires’ authority. That just was not cricket. Fair play adds beauty to sports competitions. Once my students established me as advocate of fair play and their well-wisher, they behaved appropriately and gave me respect.’

Butt Recalls

‘The MAO College Principal, Masud-ul-Haq Siddiqi was a great man and without fail provided both moral and financial support to back me. I responded by managing the cricket team’s success in various tournaments. I would often catch him whilst he rode a bicycle and stopped him for an approval signature. In my tenure MAO College became the first government-funded college to tour overseas when we visited UAE in 1988, when invited by Sharjah-based Ijaz Malik, local Nawai Waqat correspondent and older brother of Iftikhar Malik, an international umpire.’

‘We also visited Qasim Noorani, who was working for CBFS, Sharjah. We won all of our matches in Abu Dhabi, Ajmaan, Dubai and Sharjah and my boys agreed to play few extra games as well. Our squad included, Sohail Fazal, Babar Zaman, Aziz-ur-Rehman, Sher Ali, Akram Tina’ Mazhar Qayyum. and Haroon Ibraham that delighted the Pakistanis settled in UAE, with bright cricket. After the UAE trip I accompanied my team to make a TV appearance in a chat show hosted by Dildar Parvez Bhatti.’

Butt recalls

‘I must share my association with Athar Saeed Butt, my best friend and we studied together for good many years till our graduation. He served in a number of positions with distinction as brave, hardworking and honest, in his dealing with the bureaucrats. As a reputed sports organizer, he was appointed as District Sports Officer and followed it up with Divisional Sports Officer and Director General of Punjab Sports Board (PSB) and Director Sports, Punjab University. He made a name for himself as a promotor of hockey and other sports, including gymnastics and volleyball ’

‘The other inspiring figures that came in my working life at MAO College were Sheikh Ramzan (Director Sports, Islamia College, Civil Lines), Mirza Dildar Baig (Professor of History @Islamia College and President Sports/ PE Master ), Raza Hameed and Sidiq Khan (Ludhiana Gymkhana), Chaudhry Bashir Sahib (Bhai Jan), who I learnt sports management from, Ustad Dinoo at Victorious CC, and lastly Chaudhry Anwaar-ul-Haq, popularly referred as BabaJee Anwaar, a simple soul with great love for sports and also a fair-minded individual, who would stand up against malpractice or injustice. He was Director Sports Punjab University, having done athletics and football in his youth, he became my football coach. He treated players like his own family and was equally respected by both genders.’

Married in 1980, Butt acknowledges the role played by his better half, without whose wholehearted support as a traditional housewife, he would not have been able to achieve his goals, which has often than not required long hours spent, away from home. He is also happy to credit the professional success of their two boys – Awais Butt & Junaid Butt - to the upbringing of their mother.

The End