LAHORE: The Punjab government is looking towards the federal government whether it declares “state guest” status for foreign cricketers arriving in the city to take part in the upcoming Pakistan Super League 7 (PSL-7) to add further layers to their security arrangements.

The provincial government seems more concerned for foolproof security arrangements in the wake of the Anarkali blast as the commissioner was reported as saying that it could be aimed at disrupting the upcoming PSL-7.

The foolproof security arrangements for the normal circumstances have almost been completed for holding the PSL matches at Gaddafi Stadium from Feb 10 to 27.

Of total 34 PSL matches, 19 matches including semi-finals and final will be played at the Gaddafi Stadium. As many as 15 matches will be played in Karachi from Thursday (today) to Feb 7.

Punjab awaits Centre’s decision on ‘state guest’ status for foreign cricketers

The security arrangements for the PSL-7 and the Kashmir Day rallies were discussed at the Cabinet Committee for Law and Order chaired by law minister Basharat Raja.

Sources told Dawn that the cabinet committee would also hold yet another elaborate meeting having the chief secretary, IG Punjab, ACS (Home), CTD and Special Branch chiefs and the Pakistan Cricket Board senior officials in attendance.

“This meeting will be ensuring foolproof security arrangements for all the matches, if the federal government did not offer “state guest” status. And in case the federal government granted the status, the committee will be making extra-layers security arrangements that should match the protection of state guests,” a source said.

When contacted, law minister Basharat Raja said the security arrangements for the PSL had been completed and a high-level meeting would soon be finalising the [security] plan for foreign cricketers. He said the plan would be reviewed time to time during their stay in Lahore. The traffic plan during the event is also being evolved.

When asked, the law minister said the committee discussed investigation progress into the Anarkali blast and added that the investigations agencies had got several leads to reach and apprehend the culprits behind the unfortunate incident. “The cabinet committee has also given approval to constitute a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) on the Anarkali incident,” Mr Raja said.

The law minister also directed the officials concerned to complete the challan of the Sri Lankan factory manager’s lynching case by next week.

The cabinet committee also discussed and finalised arrangements for the rallies to be brought out on Feb 5 [Kashmir Day].

The law minister also gave his nod for the upgrade of control room at the home department in the civil secretariat.

In a briefing, the committee was told that all the crime cases including the murder of a journalist in Lahore have been traced and culprits apprehended. The cabinet committee also approved the Police Shuhada Package.

The meeting was attended by provincial minister Ansar Majeed Niazi, the chief secretary, ACS (Home), AIG Special Branch, AIG CTD, while divisional commissioners and regional police officers (RPOs) were present through the video link.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Usman Buzdar has congratulated the nation on the start of PSL-7 and extended good wishes to all the teams.

Published in Dawn, January 27th, 2022

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