Pakistan opens Gaddafi Stadium for India clash

Published: March 29, 2011
Entry to the stadium will be free, thousands expected to show up. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

Entry to the stadium will be free, thousands expected to show up. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

LAHORE: Pakistan will open its Gaddafi stadium to thousands of fans to watch Wednesday’s high-voltage World Cup semi-final between Pakistan and India on big screens for free.

India and Pakistan, the arch rivals whose peace process collapsed after the 2008 Mumbai attacks, will face off in Mohali, sparking a frenzy on both sides of the border with both prime ministers set to attend the match.

The stadium is named after the Libyan leader, an international pariah whose military is being targeted by Western air strikes as an armed insurrection in the east poses the most potent threat to his 42-year rule.

“As per the directive of the government of Pakistan, we will be setting up digital screens under flood lights at the Gaddafi stadium to facilitate cricket fans in Lahore to witness the semi-final,” the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said.

Entry to the stadium will be free, it added, and thousands of fans are expected take up the invitation.

The 30,000-capacity ground, formerly known as the Lahore Stadium, was renamed in 1974 after the Libyan leader who was close to then prime minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto.

Pakistan was one of the original hosts of the World Cup 2011 but was stripped of its matches after gunmen attacked the Sri Lankan team en route to the Gaddafi stadium on March 3, 2009.

The unprecedented attack on a sport that is a national obsession in Pakistan killed eight people, and wounded seven Sri Lankan players and their assistant coach.

Besides the PCB arrangements at Gaddafi in the eastern city of Lahore, fans will be able to watch the match on big screens in Karachi, Islamabad, Faisalabad, Peshawar and Quetta.

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Reader Comments (16)

  • Krishna
    Mar 29, 2011 - 2:49PM

    Its time to rename the stadium.Recommend

  • Hedgefunder
    Mar 29, 2011 - 3:27PM

    Why let the despot who, paid for it, if you want to change the name ?
    One more example of poor judgement by the rulers of Pakistan. Perhaps Pakistan can offer him refuge when he finally tires and runs away from Libya, but try and not take his chilren, as they are bit of spoilt brats and will spoil your local girls too!!!Recommend

  • shuja
    Mar 29, 2011 - 3:28PM

    History cannot be changed. Recommend

  • Javed
    Mar 29, 2011 - 3:41PM

    I just hope it does not get re-named Asif Ali Zardari Or Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Stadium, lol.Recommend

  • Arsalan
    Mar 29, 2011 - 4:08PM

    Qazafi is not what he was in 1974.

    He was then a hope but now he is a unwanted man on the run.

    I propose the Stadium be renamed as “Imran Khan Stadium” in order to acknowledge his contributions for the sake of Cricket.Recommend

  • Saad Durrani
    Mar 29, 2011 - 6:02PM

    What a silly piece of news reporting. Either report sports or report politics, not both.

    Hope that it is not named Shaheed Taseer or Ghazi Qadri as well. How about the Khan Stadium or the Pakistan Stadium. Bob Woolmer Stadium would be nice too.Recommend

  • Mar 29, 2011 - 6:14PM

    Fully agree with Shuja, History cannot be changed. ZAB was Gaddafi’s fan so was Gaddafi of ZAB. If you will see Gaddafi with american eyes you will have a very blurred vision of Gaddafi. ZAB didn’t leave his country though he knew he was risking his life to take on America. Similarly, Gaddafi is not leaving his motherland and facing oddities. ZAB, Saddam Hussain and Gaddafi are muslim heroes. Gaddafi stadium will remain gaddafi stadium forever.Recommend

  • Amer
    Mar 29, 2011 - 7:59PM

    Bob Woolmer Stadium is my suggestion! But I am sure if its ever renamed it would be after a political figure (probably the Bhuttos/Zardaris)….all of which are no better then Gadafi!!Recommend

  • pappu
    Mar 30, 2011 - 12:11AM

    @Abdul Rahman Khan:
    Janab you are seriously mistaken. Muslims heroes do not attack civilians if they demand their rights. Have you forgotten Caliph Usman (may God be pleased with him)? His rule was facing revolts and his governors were being overthrown. He DID NOT allow anyone to fight for him. If anyone did, it was their own decision. In fact, the caliph said something like No, I do not want to spill the blood of Muslims, to save my own neck. Wallah, Qaddafi jaison ka naam bhi nahi rahay ga. inhi logon ny Islam ko badnaam kya hai.Recommend

  • Riz
    Mar 30, 2011 - 1:49AM

    It should be changed to ‘Lahore Stadium’.Recommend

  • Mar 30, 2011 - 3:19AM

    @Pappu – I am afraid the topic is drifting from stadium to politics. Our people are very emotional and sentimental when religion comes in the non-religious discussion. Caliph Usman (May God Almighty be pleased with him) was fully right when he remarked about muslims blood shed by their own fellow brethren. You create a muslim society of those days when the caliph’s remarks will apply in such situation. Libya is, by and large, a tribal society. It was Gaddafi’s sagacious policies that the various tribes put aside their internal strife and galvanized the country under his leadership. America and its western cronies clamour for democracy which itself functions on the formula of majority – 49 against 51. The minority, whatever be the ratio, doesn’t have right to take up arms to unseat the majority until new elections are held. Western countries are stirring up the situation in libya for their own vested interest – that is oil. Why america and its allies didn’t take any step to stop the bloodshed of tamil civilians by the sri lankan government and also the bloodshed of kashmiris by india – because there was no oil there.Recommend

  • lol
    Mar 30, 2011 - 5:59AM

    The stadium will be a classic target for suicide bombers … Recommend

  • Asif Khan
    Mar 30, 2011 - 7:06AM


    Very well said my friend, a thug or his or her cronies should never be remembered as “shaheed”. Recommend

  • Manjit singh
    Mar 30, 2011 - 7:27AM

    First of all I am amazed at the co incidence: two days ago, I posted here that gaddafi stadium should be opened for public whith watch played on big screen . Secondly, I always wondered if that stadium was named after the libyan leader. I am also pleased to know that it is true. Any world leader is not a demon merely if if is not liked by america . Gaddafi built libya brick by brick and that too facing attacks from western powers and sanctions,
    Today libya is one of strongest african economies with its dinar valued close to dollar. Same was the case of iraq .soon libya will be shattere, blood bathed for years to come will be ruined , never to be the same. Just as has happened to iraq. In doing so covertly or openly, america culls the leaders who dare to challenge its bulliness while projecting itself the biggest protector of democracy . The words like democracy may sound sweet to many but when put to practical use, it may backfire in many ways. Had china been the same had it allowed the trouble makers in tianammen square take over that country and applied ‘democracy’ two decades ago. Excuse me pakistani friends, the rule of general musharaf was much better than any democratic government in that country. There was stability, progress and the corrupt politicians had not free hand . Burma is the same case it is becoming a regional power. Long live Gaddafi ! Recommend

  • norman
    Mar 31, 2011 - 5:59PM

    close it permanentlyRecommend

  • kiran
    Mar 31, 2011 - 8:17PM

    Someone should start a serious campaign for this to happen. Its a SCANDAL that a major landmark of Lahore is named after a cruel dictator, bent on killing his own people.Recommend

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