LAHORE: Following the blast incident on Wednesday (yesterday), the Punjab government on Thursday made some changes in the security plan to hold the Pakistan Super League-3 (PSL) matches in Lahore. Reportedly, Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah chaired a high-level meeting where a hike in security was approved.
As per the details, two companies of the army will be deployed in the city while monitoring of those placed under fourth schedule will also be enhanced. Moreover, it was decided that two routes for players would be reserved, however, only one would be used eventually.
A senior official in the police told Pakistan Today that law enforcers are holding meetings with PSL officials to hold the event peacefully. “All possible measures will be taken to secure the cricketers and citizens coming to see the matches,” he said.
The blast in Lahore after eight months was seen as a matter of concern when both the PSL eliminators are to be played in Lahore on March 20 and 21 before the final in Karachi on March 25.
It remains uncertain that would the international players in all four teams that are going to play in the elimination round of PSL here reconsider coming to Pakistan and take part in matches here.
When the scribe tried to seek an official comment from the PSL officials, none of them was willing to speak on the security issue. However, a source seeking anonymity said, “The suicide attack is a definite setback. Some of the foreign cricketers may indeed be concerned about the safety and might back out from the earlier commitments.”
Australian all-rounder Shane Watson, playing for Quetta Gladiators’ has already spoken about consulting his young family before giving his final words, and that was before the blast.
If a large number of players indeed decline to come over, this would be a serious setback to the effort of bringing international cricket to Pakistan on regular basis.
Last year, holding PSL-2 final in Lahore was considered as a big step towards bringing back the international cricket back to Pakistan.
Meanwhile, cricket lovers are hopeful to observe matches in Lahore. A score of citizens while talking to Pakistan Today showed their enthusiasm to go to the stadium in support of their teams.
On other hand, tickets for the final of the PSL to be played in Karachi sold out as cricket fans started booking online since these were opened.
The recent suicide blast in Raiwind area of Lahore happened after eight months claiming as many as 5 lives. Prior to this, in July last year, at least 26 people, including nine policemen, were martyred while 58 others were injured in a bomb attack near the Arfa Karim IT Tower in Lahore.