Chief Editor: Ansar Mahmood Bhatti

Zimbabwe security team reviews PCB security arrangements

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LAHORE, 10 MAY, (DNA) – Last week, a five-member delegation of Zimbabwe cricket team visited Lahore to review security arrangements by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for a series scheduled from May 20 to June 1.
During the series, three One-day International and two T20 matches will be played at the Gaddafi Stadium.
A curfew-like situation was witnessed in and around the Qadhafi Stadium during the Zimbabwe delegation tour. Headed by Zimbabwe Cricket Director General Alistair Campbell, also a former Test cricketer, the delegation first visited Qadhafi Stadium, where it saw the pavilion.
Later, they visited the security control room, established at the Sports Board Punjab office. Campbell told reporters that the most advanced security system was installed in the security control room.
Plenty of cameras are watching in and around the Nishtar Sports Complex and the complex could be seen from the room. In fact, hosting Zimbabwe is a test case for Pakistan as it could help us host other foreign teams, too.
No Test playing country is ready to visit Pakistan due to security threat. Zimbabwe became the first one to break this six-year drought, started after a terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team at the Liberty Chowk, Lahore, in 2009.
Interestingly, police officials, who were on duty to protect Sri Lankan team, have been promoted, but the sports of the country have yet to recover. The security agencies, though, are quite capable of providing fool-proof security, the major challenge for them is to maintain security without creating problems for the spectators, who want to see entertaining cricket after many years. Earlier, in last December, Kenyan’s national team visited Lahore to play five matches at the Gaddafi Stadium. On that occasion, the spectators did not feel much problem, it should be repeated for the upcoming series.
In a sudden move, the Sports Board Punjab (SBP) has postponed its well publicised International Sports Festival, citing the seven deaths and several injuries in a helicopter crash landing in Naltar, as reason to postpone it. The incident was a big tragedy as ambassadors of Philippines and Norway, and wives of Malaysia and Indonesia ambassadors died in the crash. Two Pakistani pilot of the chopper also died while 13 other people were injured. The SBP should not have taken the decision in haste, since it was an international commitment and many foreign players had also obtained Pakistani visa. As the SBP had set up a training camp for the Pakistani athletes, other countries would be in the same practice. According to an SBP information, 1,400 athletes from 40 countries were to feature in the mega event. In fact, the SBP had also taken a challenging decision to hold the festival from May 20 to 30, the same dates when the security agencies would have been involved in organising a series between Pakistan and Zimbabwe cricket teams. It could have been much difficult for the police to take care of 1,400 foreigner athletes and two cricket teams.
Last week, new Asian snooker champion Hamza Akbar, who belongs to Faisalabad, met SBP Director General Usman Anwar to seek his help in continuing his career as a professional snooker player. Hamza got the title for Pakistan after 17 years, beating Indian rival Pankag Advani in a tough final by 7-6 score. Last time, Pakistan’s Muhammad Yousuf had earned the title in 1998. The SBP has promised to help Hamza in his professional career. Hamza says he would try his level best to earn more honours for the country.
Hamza said the SBP and the Punjab Youth Festival had major roles in his success. Though Punjab does not have any standardised snooker club under the government supervision, the province holds sway on the game as most international players are from here. Otherwise, Karachi is a hub of national and international activities of snooker.
Malaysian minister for Education Seri Idris Jusoh visited world’s biggest hockey stadium—National Hockey Stadium—last week and played hockey there. He also promised that he would try to convince his government to send national hockey team to Pakistan. Last time a Chinese hockey team played some matches on the outer pitch of the National Hockey Stadium in 2008.
The Olympic Council of Asia Administration course for men and women is in full swing at a local hotel. More than 30 administrators recommended by different provincial sports associations, affiliated with Punjab Olympic Association (PbOA), are attending the course. Punjab Finance Minister Mujtaba Shujaur Rehman, who inaugurated the course, has accepted the offer of the PbOA to be the chairman of organising committee of the 72nd Punjab Games. The PbOA is struggling for its survival due to a cold war with the SBP for the last three years. However, it will be interesting to see if Mujtaba can fulfill his commitment, because Punjab sports minister Rana Mashhood may not be happy to see another minister getting such a big position. =DNA
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