By Atiya Riffat
Sri Lanka, returned to play in Pakistan eight years after a terrorist attack on their team bus near the same venue condemned Pakistan to sports isolation, were cheered by a capacity crowd celebrating the first time since 2009 that a top cricketing side had come to Pakistan.
Any untoward incident could have easily occurred and entire Pakistan had to suffer for the blunder of few individuals. Also, it was seen and reported by the spectators in the stadium that security members and PCB employees with each other’s connivance succeeded to get their acquaintances entered into the stadium without any tickets. The PCB never bothered about keeping a check on how tickets were sold in black as number of youth complaint about buying tickets to thrice the actual price. It was festivity and fun and if the PCB had taken things seriously, the things could have been much better. There is an urgent need security agencies should revise their strategy and ensure top level security check at each and every entry point.
The PCB also failed to keep a check and balance and control on general public and dubious people, who were comfortably roaming around and inside the Pearl Continental Hotel where teams were residing. Despite heavy deployment of different security agencies, there was absolutely no check and balance on movement of commoners. The security agencies must have kept in mind that anti-state elements don’t want to see cricket especially international players return to Pakistan and when things are so tight It is the national and moral duty of not only security agencies, hotel administration, but also the PCB not to mix with general public. All the main roads leading towards PC Hotel were closed and no one was allowed to even walk on foot towards the hotel but near and dear ones and security agency personnel were free to go wherever they wanted to. Nobody bothered to check, whether they were actually security personnel or not. Any miscreant could have easily sneak in and could have spell disaster.
Already masses had suffered a lot in the absence of international cricket in Pakistan and inviting another trouble could further dampen chances of full-fledge international cricket revival in Pakistan. We try to ensure tight security, but as you know, different security agencies are involved and we can’t stop them. But we do our level best to ensure maximum security and try to prevent strangers from getting close to players, or officials.”