The talk of the town till Sunday, as everyone knows, will be the Pakistan Super League (PSL) final which has been scheduled to take place in Lahore on March 5 and as much as everyone wants it to happen, people also want it happen safely.
The current security situation of Pakistan, from a neutral’s perspective, is still not conducive to bring international cricket back to the country. Someone always has to be the bearer of the bad news; so, if something unfortunate happens while we stage the grand final in picturesque Gaddafi Stadium, we can kiss goodbye to the international cricket for another decade and/or more. Former Pakistan captain Imran Khan on Tuesday tweeted out that organising a match surrounded by hordes of security men in the capital of Punjab will not help send out a positive message to the international cricket community. To an extent, he is right.
We are always told to stay positive and hope for the best but at the moment Pakistan is standing at a crossroads surrounded by fire, enemies and a ditch. Believing that we can walk out of it safely without being harmed is foolish.
Meanwhile, for argument’s sake, let’s assume that we find one safe passage out of it, everything happens in the most perfect way possible and we stage a grand final in Lahore, what will be the message being sent out to the world? With one finalist team’s players, Quetta Gladiators, already saying no to visit Lahore, and the other franchises already expressing their dissent against the decision, it’s going to be one great exhibition match and nothing more. Also, the lack of international stardom will automatically kill the idea of using the PSL final to attract foreign teams to tour Pakistan. On realistic grounds, the PSL final in Lahore is a positive step. Pakistani people deserve entertainment and fun for the losses they have faced in the fight against terrorism, but this time, with the PSL final in Lahore, the risk is worth the gains.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 2nd, 2017.
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