Cricketing for peace

A woman presents a trophy to a male cricketer

The international police family join together to support the Fayyaz Sumbal Foundation.

By Andrew Gordon

As we approach this year's summer of cricket, AFP minds will again turn to the 'Fayyaz Sumbal Cup' – a police charity cricket fixture that the AFP and Pakistan Police have embraced.

From humble beginnings in 2013, the event continues to carry special significance, particularly for the families of Pakistan police officers who have been killed in the line of duty.

The impetus for the charity came in August 2013 after a funeral in Quetta, where Balochistan National Police Deputy Inspector Fayyaz Sumbal bravely put himself in danger when a suicide bomber targeted the Balochistan Police Inspector General.

Fayyaz and 38 others from the Balochistan Police and Frontier Corps tragically lost their lives in the attack. Fayyaz was well known to AFP members based in Islamabad and his death affected them greatly.

Fayyaz was also a friend of the greater AFP, visiting Australia in 2012 as part of a Pakistan delegation to a bomb data conference.

Following his death, AFP members based in Islamabad decided to organise a charity cricket match to raise money for the bombing victims' families.

Pakistan great Shoaib Akhtar lent his bowling skills to the Australian team that took on the best from the Gymkhana Cricket Club in Lahore. While the Australian team didn't win on the day the first $5000 was raised for the Baluchistan Police Welfare Branch.

Two female cricketers entering the field of play
Cameraderie: Pakistan national Farheena Rehman and Australian Grant Raubenheimer pad up for a Fayyaz Sumbal Cup match in Lahore.

The success of this first cricket match saw the establishment of the Fayyaz Sumbal Foundation in Pakistan and Australia.

The driving force behind the foundation is AFP Federal Agent Danny Caruana, who was an AFP Counter Terrorism Liaison Officer in Islamabad when Fayyaz Sumbal was killed.

"Law enforcement families in Australia are greatly supported by our Police Legacy organisations when tragedy strikes," said Federal Agent Caruana.

"With little official and charitable support available in Pakistan, it was clear that a charity set up specifically to assist the families of Pakistani servicemen and women wounded and killed in the line of duty would be of great benefit."

Federal Agent Caruana said attacks on police and police establishments were becoming more common in Pakistan.

"On average, a police officer is killed in the line of duty every single day in Pakistan, often leaving a family without a breadwinner. A little bit goes a long way in Pakistan and to see some smiles on the faces of partners and children really buoys us."

"Since that first match in 2013 we are proud to say further matches have been held in both Pakistan and in Australia, with more than $50,000 provided in direct assistance to the families of fallen police."

Held in 2014, the second match saw generous support from Cricket Australia with a donation of playing equipment and former Pakistan batsmen Majid Khan and Salim Malik leading their side to a narrow win over the Australian side.

The match in 2015 was again won by the Gymkhana XI who recruited former Pakistan Test captain Salim Malik.

It was in 2015 that saw the first match held on Australian soil with the inaugural Fayyaz Sumbal Social Cup held in Perth. This match was between an AFP XI and a local Pakistani Community XI and once again the Pakistani team won the day. 

A group of cricketers pose for a photo
Members of the Australian High Commission cricket team and the Sumbal family with the Fayyaz Sumbal Cup after the 2016 Fayyaz Sumbal Cup match in Lahore.

2016 saw further matches in Melbourne at the home of the Ashes at Rupertswood Cricket Club in Sunbury and the first 'Polliebash' match in Hobart – with Tasmania's media industry taking on political types from across the state.

The most recent match was the Police Community Cup held in February this year at Manuka Oval in Canberra that finally saw an AFP team win with a strong showing against the New South Wales Police Force XI.

A woman presents a trophy to a male cricketer
Pakistan's High Commissioner Naela Chohan presents AFP Captain Brett James with the inaugural Police Community Cup at Manuka Oval in Canberra to support the Fayyaz Sumbal Foundation.

The importance of the foundation hit home again with the death of the Patron of the foundation, Lahore Police Captain Ahmad Mobin in a terrorist attack in Lahore in February 2016.

"Captain Mobin was attempting to mediate at a protest at the local legislative building when the attackers struck. The bombing killed Captain Mobin and five of his colleagues along with seven others and a further 85 people were injured," said Federal Agent Caruana.

"Captain Mobin is survived by his four children. Now more than ever the support of the Fayyaz Sumbal Foundation is required for the families of our fallen colleagues in Pakistan," Federal Agent Caruana said.

By March 2018, the foundation is aiming to raise $40,000 in a special fundraising campaign for Mobin's family.

For more information go to www.fayyazsumbalfoundation.org