KARACHI: Sindh Government assured the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) of strict security measures at the National Stadium during the National Twenty20 Cup.
The tournament was shifted to Karachi due to the outbreak of dengue in Lahore just four days before its scheduled start date. While the venue is expected to get ready for Sunday’s kick-off, the PCB and government is determined to provide fool-proof security to the 14 teams, including Afghanistan.
The PCB formed a four-man committee headed by its Governing Body member Wazir Ali Khoja which met Governor Sindh Dr Ishratul Ebad and Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah yesterday to discuss plans for the tournament with top provincial officials promising their full support to hold the event successfully.
The PCB’s s Director Education & Training Wasim Bari, who is also a member of the committee, said it was decided to bring the level of security along the lines of what is provided to international teams.
“The security plan is similar to the one for visiting teams,” Bari told The Express Tribune. “The same SOPs will be followed in the tournament. The governor and the chief minister took keen interest and assured their full support for holding the tournament. We have little time left but the plans are on track.”
Meanwhile, adviser to Sindh Chief Minister on Sports, Haleem Adil Shiekh, who was instrumental in the venue shift, said all the law enforcing agencies will be taken on board to ensure safety of players.
“The Police and Rangers, along with other law-enforcing agencies, will look over the security. The Sindh home minister will have a close look on security arrangements,” he said before saying a large number of security officials will be deployed in and around the stadium. “The situation in Karachi has improved and there are no serious security concerns.”
Protest: ‘Event shifting unjustified’
The Lahore City Cricket Association (LCCA) termed the shifting of the National Twenty20 Cup to Karachi unjustified.
The event was scheduled for Lahore but was moved due to the dengue outbreak. The decision was taken after President Zardari requested the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to look into the change. “The LCCA was not taken into confidence and a one-sided decision was taken,” read an LCCA statement. “We appeal to the PCB to ensure top security for the teams.”
Published in The Express Tribune, September 23rd, 2011.
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