LAHORE: Revered cricketer and the Director General of Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), Javed Miandad has called for implementing stringent security measures at the Gadaffi stadium in Lahore to make the venue safe for staging international cricket ties.
“There is a dire need to beef up security at this world famous arena as [having] the best security arrangements would send a positive message to the world,” he told reporters on Thursday at the stadium. Miandad was visiting the Gadaffi stadium to impart useful tips to some members of the national cricket team and Pakistan Under-19 team.
Gaddafi stadium was the venue for the 2008 ill-fated international match in Pakistan. The Sri Lankan national team was due to face the green shirts. It was enroute to the stadium when their team bus came under attack by militants. At least six people were killed in the attack along with six injuries. Among those injured included Sri Lankan cricket players.
Earlier this year, officials from Bangladesh visited Pakistan to check security arrangements ahead of a proposed bilateral series. However, the tour by Bangladesh was aborted after a ruling from the Supreme Court in that country cited security reasons.
“PCB is doing its best to improve the security of its stadiums in the country and the prime objective of building an outer wall of the Gadaffi stadium aims at strengthening the security arrangements and to provide extra protection to the arena, ” Miandad said referring to a municipal tiff between the PCB and the local town administration.
On June 2, officials of the Gulberg Town Municipal Administration (TMA) and the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) got into a fight after the former again tore down a wall built in front of the PCB office at Gaddafi Stadium.
The TMA had torn down the wall earlier in May on the grounds that it was an illegal construction, after which the PCB took the matter to the Lahore High Court. Both sides argued that the other had violated the court’s orders.
“There is no need to jeopardise such efforts because it will send a negative message to the world regarding state of cricket in Pakistan,” the former batsman asserted.
He said Gadaffi stadium is among best cricket arenas in the world and all the cricket stars of the world, including himself had the honour of playing at this ground.
“PCB is taking every measure as per the procedure of ICC to improve security arrangements at its venues and through these acts we can assure the cricket playing countries that we are in a much better position to host international cricket in Pakistan ,” said the PCB official.
“If we do not have adequate security measures at our grounds, no foreign team will visit us in the future and we will be isolated as far cricket is concerned,” he warned.
Miandad emphasised the need to forge unity and better understanding among concerned quarters for serving a collective cause of cricket and to ensure resumption of international cricket in Pakistan.
“It is the need of hour to work together for the cause of bringing back international cricket to Pakistan as we have suffered a lot owing to the security situation in recent years and we should endeavour to lift our cricket out of this gloom,” he said.
Miandad, who is known most for his memorable last ball six to clinch victory over arch rivals India in a Sharjah cup match, called for reviving Pakistan-India cricket. He praised the ongoing efforts of PCB to address the matter.
“It is the in the larger interest of sub-continent cricket to revive Pakistan-India cricket and there should be a bilateral series on a regular basis,” he said adding, “the present regime of PCB under the leadership of Chairman Zaka Ashraf is striving to break the dead lock in this regard. ”
He said that he was always available for the cause of cricket in Pakistan and he would be regularly visiting the training camps of senior and junior cricket teams to give them useful tips.