KARACHI, Oct 20: The print and electronic media representatives and cameramen who had come to cover the first festival match between International World XI and the Pakistan All Star XI on Saturday evening ran into serious problems when the Special Branch Staff stationed at the entrance gates of the National Stadium prevented them from going into the ground.
The accreditation cards issued to the journalists by the Sindh Sports Ministry however clearly said, “All areas except the ground.” But the journalists were stopped at the gates.
“They are saying that photographers should have been issued another pass for taking cameras into the ground,” said Fahim, a press photographer who was stopped by a police officer at the metal detector doorway.
“Both the print and electronic media were mostly issued the same accreditation cards and I have on me but they are not accepting it. I came to take pictures of the wonderful crowd and the players. What am I to do now?”
A row between the media people and the security staff broke out soon after when the Special Branch staff deployed at the gates said they had run out of the white tags required for the bags. Almost every media person had a bag or a camera or a laptop with them but they were told to wait outside till the security staff got more tags from their headquarters.
“What is this, if they have run out of the tags, is it our problem?” argued sports scribe Tariq Ali who looked clearly frustrated by the attitude of the authorities.
When the Special Branch staff was asked why they did not arrange for enough tags, Ms Saima who was in charge of checking ladies’ bags at the main gate said: “We didn’t expect this many people at the ground. All the ladies have bags and purses. We thought we had enough but ran out of them very soon.”
It was only after chief organiser and Sindh Sports Minister Dr Mohammad Ali Shah intervened and spoke to the security people himself that the mediamen were allowed to enter.