- PM Abbasi, Bilawal, CM Shah, all four governors watch PSL final amid fanfare
- PM credits govt’s performance for revival of sports
- ISPR says Pakistan on its way to the rightful destination of enduring peace, stability
KARACHI: The final of the third edition of Pakistan Super League (PSL) brought to the nation what was sorely missing in the past few years: a united Pakistan. As the closing ceremony of the final started on Sunday evening, Karachi’s National Stadium was not only filled with cricket fans from across the country, and the globe, but was also witnessed by top government officials and politicians, among others. This on top of the millions who watched the final live on TV.
Those present in the stadium included Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Senate Opposition Leader Sherry Rehman, all four provincial governors, Sindh Chief Minister (CM) Murad Ali Shah, Sindh Home Minister Sohail Anwar Siyal, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto and his two sisters Bakhtawar and Aseefa, presenting a perfect picture of a united Pakistan.
After nearly 10 years, amid high security and in the presence of a jam-packed crowd, Karachi braced itself for the match between Islamabad United and Peshawar Zalmi.
Thousands of spectators packed the stadium as more than 200 buses provided transport services to the attendees.
He said that it was due to the federal government, provincial governments, armed forces and law enforcement agencies that peace has been restored in Karachi.
Abbasi said that PSL had infused a new spirit in the whole nation and would also portray a positive image of the remarkable and unravelled city of lights, Karachi.
He said that the government would keep working with same passion and zeal towards national peace and prosperity.
Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah conducted an aerial inspection of the security set-up for the match. He also reviewed the parking and other facilities provided to the spectators.
Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif congratulated the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for holding the final match of PSL 2018 in Karachi. “I pray that no one gains the courage, again, to push our changing Pakistan back into darkness,” the PML-N supremo said in a statement.
He also lauded the city’s administration and relevant department for successfully organising the match.
“I send my heartiest congratulations to all the players participating in the tournament, particularly the foreign players,” said Nawaz.
Meanwhile, Opposition Leader in Senate Sherry Rehman said that holding PSL final in Karachi had once again revived the glory of the city of lights.
Talking to media, the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader said that the entire nation was waiting for the PSL final as return of cricket to such level was a great sign for the country.
To a query as to which team she was supporting, she said that everyone was supporting the return of cricket in Karachi. “Islamabad is my second home and owes my support but I am supporting the Peshawar team as they also have the right to be supported,” she said.
Regarding upcoming general elections, she said that 2018 is the year of elections and every political party would be presenting its manifesto. “The PPP will ensure that the democratic transition would take place smoothly in this year,” she said.
Separately, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General (DG) Major General Asif Ghafoor said in a tweet, “PSL Final brings more glitters to ‘City of Lights’.”
“Thanks to the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), foreign players, govt administration, security apparatus and the resilient Pakistanis. Terrorism imposed on us is on the way out; we are on the way to our rightful destination of enduring peace and stability,” he added.
PSL Final brings more glitters to ‘City of Lights’. Thanks to PCB, foreign players, govt administration, security apparatus and the resilient Pakistanis. Terrorism imposed on us is on the way out; we are on the way to our rightful destination of enduring peace and stability, IA.
— Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor (@OfficialDGISPR) March 25, 2018
Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah had invited the country’s top leadership to attend the final. The chief minister wrote letters to the president of Pakistan, the prime minister, the army chief along with chief ministers and governors of other provinces.
The CM had also sent invitation letters to the Senate chairman, the National Assembly speaker and other civil and military officials. In his invitation letter, Murad Ali Shah said that it was “an honour for the people of Sindh to host this mega event at the National Stadium.”
Moreover, daughter of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz, congratulated the citizens of Quaid’s city in a tweet. She said that extortion, terrorism, targeted-killing and darkness had been replaced with lights, colours, games and peace in the city.
“This is the difference between Pakistan of 2013 and 2018,” she added in another tweet.
شہرِ قائد کے باسیو!
آپ کو بھتہ خوری، دہشت گردی، ٹارگٹ کلنگ اور اندھیروں بھرے کراچی کی جگہ روشنیوں، رونقوں، کھیلوں والا پُرامن کراچی مبارک ھو
— Maryam Nawaz Sharif (@MaryamNSharif) March 25, 2018
Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif advised the foreign players not to miss out on trying traditional ‘Bundu Khan Ke Kebab’ while they are still in Karachi.
National Stadium Karachi will b hosting its 1st major cricketing event in 9 years. Today, our people’s resilience and passion for cricket won over fear. Good luck to both the teams & the people of Karachi for hosting it. My advice 2 foreign players: DONT MISS BUNDU KHAN KE KEBAB!
— Shehbaz Sharif (@CMShehbaz) March 25, 2018