FICA has done great disservice to the cause of cricket in general and Pakistan cricket in particular by advising players not to play in the PSL Final in Lahore next March because of “security reasons”. FICA has cited unnamed “expert Security Consultants” for “updated security advice” that claims Pakistan is “at an extremely elevated state of insecurity.” This is a careless and cavalier approach to an issue of great importance.
FICA sits thousands of miles away from Pakistan and cannot name even one credible security expert, yet makes a sweeping negative statement about the security situation in Lahore. FICA’s claim that “westerners and luxury hotels have been attached” is contrary to the facts on the ground that prove that not a single foreigner or hotel has been attached in Lahore in the last five years. FICA’s claim that “targeted attacks” are predicted to continue is belied by the fact that Lahore is the show piece of the government that has secured the services of UK based “safe city” security project.
PCB has recently hosted Kenya, Zimbabwe, Bangladesh (Women), Afghanistan and Malaysian national cricket teams in Lahore and Karachi without any problem. In the case of PSL Final in Lahore for one day, the government has guaranteed protection by over 3000 army and police personnel in Lahore. PCB will provide armored buses for travel along with VVIP security protocols.
It may also be noted that a group of foreign players including Jonty Rhodes, Brain Lara, Curtly Ambrose, Glenn McGrath, Dean Jones, Mark Butcher, Marvin Atapatu, Herschelle Gibbs, Damien Martyn, Andy Roberts, Danny Morrison, Sanath Jayasuriya, Andrew Symonds, Ajay Jadeja, Robin Smith, Cameron Delport etc are regular visitors to Pakistan on assignment with Pak TV and are available to vouchsafe the safety and security of foreign cricketers in the country. PSL has already received confirmation from top international players to play in Lahore and PCB is determined to bring cricket home to Pakistan.
During the drafts of Pakistan Super League season II, PCB promised for international cricket’s return to Pakistan.