LAHORE: As many as 10,000 personnel will provide ‘foolproof’ security to Sunday’s Pakistan Super League (PSL) final at Gaddafi Stadium as it is a national event, Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif said on Saturday.

Dispelling the impression created by the opposition that 60,000 personnel will provide security to the PSL final, the chief minister said: “There are not 60,000 but 10,000 men providing foolproof security to today’s match. This is the national event and is being treated likewise and those opposing it are not well-wisher of the country.”

Shahbaz Sharif held a meeting with Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan here on Saturday and reviewed the security.

“Some elements are trying to create a situation of uncertainty over the event but they will not succeed,” the chief minister said, adding citizens would not face any problem on Sunday because of the security arrangements for the PSL final.

As Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif provided helicopters for the event, Shahbaz said the Punjab government was thankful to the premier that what he said would be helpful for aerial monitoring of the match. He said 200 students of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Gilgit-Blatistan, Azad Kashmir, Sindh and Balochistan would also watch the match.

Chaudhry Nisar said the opposition was busy doing politics on this mega event as deployment of 10,000 security personnel was not an extraordinary measure for the city like Lahore.

Both leaders also discussed the Rangers operation in Punjab and expressed satisfaction to the effect.

On the other hand, the PML-N believes that the PTI’s stance on PSL final in Lahore will cost it dearly.

“Everyone has disliked Imran Khan’s rejection of holding the match in Lahore. Imran’s act clearly tells that he can go to any extent to oppose the PML-N government,” party’s Lahore President MNA Pervaiz Malik told Dawn.

He said Imran must regret over his opposition to the PSL final in Lahore after seeing people’s enthusiasm.

“PTI’s popularity graph will further decline for adopting this anti-people stance,” he said and added the people’s trust in PML-N would further strengthen for taking up this challenge of bringing mega cricket event to the country.

Awami Muslim League chief Sheikh Rashid is also not impressed by Imran’s decision to oppose the PSL final in Lahore, saying “it is Mr Khan’s decision to oppose the match. It would have been great had Imran come to the Gaddafi Stadium holding his election symbol ‘bat’ in his hands and watched the PSL final.”

Mr Rashid said timing of certain decisions in politics was very important. “I am coming to Lahore by a train from Rawalpindi and will watch the match sitting among the spectators having a ticket of Rs500,” he said.

Sheikh Rashid had stolen the Nov 2 Islamabad ‘lockdown’ show when he appeared at Committee Chowk, Rawalpindi, on a motorcycle despite ‘heavy odds.’ That time too Rashid was critical of Imran’s decision not to come out of his Bani Gala residence and lead his workers’ rally. Interestingly, in spite of Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah’s request to media not to give coverage to Rashid for his PSL-related ‘gimmicks’ it is hardly bothered about it.

Honour: Holding the PSL final is in Lahore is an honour for Pakistan and an expression of unwavering commitment of the nation against terrorism, says Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif.

He was talking to members of parliament belonging to different districts who called on him here on Saturday.

A handful of terrorists cannot defeat the valour of proud nation. Pakistan is committed to thwart the nefarious designs of hardened killers by holding the match, he says.

The decision to hold the match has been taken keeping in view the wishes of people, he says, adding that all federal and provincial departments have been consulted about it. The terrorists and their facilitators will be eliminated with the power of the people.

“Pakistan of 2017 is more secure, prosperous and economically vibrant as compared to that of 2013 and the country is progressing under the leadership of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif,” he says.

The PML-N government has always given importance to national interest and democratic norms. “We will move the country forward with unity and cohesion,” he says.

The MNAs who met the chief minister include Chaudhry Muhammad Jaffar Iqbal, Sardar Mansab Ali Dogar, Nadeem Abbas Rabera and MPA Tariq Bajwa.

Published in Dawn, March 5th, 2017

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