Sindh police and government officials on Monday unveiled the security and traffic plan for the Pakistan Super League (PSL) final, to be played at Karachi's National Stadium on March 25.
Spectators will need to pass through a roughly four-hour-long, three-tier security clearance procedure before they can enter the stadium.
Rangers' Brigadier Shahid explained the security measures which will be in place, and described the process spectators will pass through in order to attend the match:
Ticket holders will report to the specified car parking areas, where there will be six marshalling areas. At the car park, they will undergo the first physical search and Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) staff will verify their tickets.
After this, they will approach a shuttle service which will then drop them off at the designated drop zone. There are three drop zones ─ one at Expo Centre, one opposite Bahria University, and a third opposite Aga Khan Hospital.
They will undergo another physical search at the drop zone.
The distance from the drop zone to the stadium gates is about 200-300 metres. Spectators will walk from the drop zone to the gates. Senior citizens and differently-abled spectators will be transported from the drop zones to the gates via buses.
Spectators will undergo a third physical search at the stadium gates.
PCB official Arshad Khan says the board's staff will be on hand to guide visitors to their seats. The stadium can seat about 35,000. Four VIP enclosures will be set up at the venue.
After the match, the crowd will be transported back to the marshalling area via the shuttle service. Spectators were requested to use the same shuttle service and route they came to the drop zone in.
Timings specified by the PCB:
- Security clearance is roughly a four-hour-long process
- Shuttle service begins, and stadium gates open, at 12pm
- Stadium gates close at 5pm, players start moving towards venue
- Opening ceremony will take place around 6pm
- Match to start around 7pm
- Match expected to end around 11pm
The residents of the surrounding areas will be requested not to force traffic police officials or members of the security forces to let them approach the stadium directly, Brigadier Shahid said.
No one is allowed to carry eatables from outside the venue.
A series of PCB-approved vendors will set up food stalls within the car parking area and spectators can purchase food and drinks from there and then go to the stadium. Ambulances will also be present at the parking area in case of a medical emergency, the Rangers official said.
Spectators are permitted to carry their cellphones, but will not be allowed to carry power banks to charge their phones.
"I request you to ensure you have enough power in your phone to last through the match," said Brigadier Shahid.
Security procedures for VIP and VVIP personnel will be communicated to their security officers, he added.
- Carry your cellphone
- Wear comfortable shoes and dress for the weather ─ the stadium does not have a roof
- Carry your ticket with you
- Carry a power bank to charge your cellphone
- Carry eatables from outside
The parking areas will be completely secured by Rangers and police personnel.
The deputy commissioner Karachi has asked spectators to carry their tickets with them to the car parking areas, as they will not be permitted to park without tickets.
Spectators will be allowed to park at:
- The ground of the Federal Urdu University
- Hakeem Saeed park
- The space for Sunday Bazaar near Baitul Mukarram Mosque
- The Kashmir Complex ground
Traffic and security plans
On the day of the match, some roads surrounding the stadium will be closed for traffic at 11am.
According to the DIG, Rangers personnel will be responsible for the security inside the stadium, while police and other forces will secure the stadium from the outside.
While the match is underway, routes leading to Hassan Square and New Town and the Dalmia road will be closed for traffic.
However, the roads leading to both private hospitals on the Stadium Road will remain open. Sharea Faisal and Shahrah-i-Quaideen will also remain functional throughout.
DIG Traffic Imran Yaqoob Minhas while addressing a press conference said that a total of 8,500 police personnel will be deployed around the stadium for the match.
DIG West Zulfiqar Ali Larik said the South Zone police will be deployed for the security of the hotel where the players are staying.
National Stadium Karachi (NSK) last month received an encouraging response for holding the PSL final from the International Cricket Council’s foreign security consultant Reg Dickason who witnessed a full-dress security-related rehearsal by around 8,000 members of law-enforcement agencies at the venue.
Karachi last hosted an international fixture back in 2009 when Sri Lanka played a Test match before the series was left incomplete after the horrific terror attack on the visiting team during the second Test in Lahore.
The brazen attack halted international cricket contests in Pakistan until 2015 when Zimbabwe visited the country for a short limited-overs series in Lahore. International cricket action gradually started returning to Pakistan last year when Lahore hosted the PSL final in March and a star-studded World XI side for a three-match T20 series in September.
Sindh Information Minister Nasir Hussain Shah today described the PSL finale is a "major event" for the city of Karachi, and said that all departments are on the same page to ensure it takes place smoothly.