Punjab cabinet body drops PSL music concert

Published February 7, 2022
Security personnel stand guard ahead of the start of Pakistan Super League (PSL) Twenty20 cricket match, outside the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore on Sunday. — AFP
Security personnel stand guard ahead of the start of Pakistan Super League (PSL) Twenty20 cricket match, outside the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore on Sunday. — AFP

LAHORE: The Punjab government has reportedly scrapped the proposed Feb 22 music concert at Hazuri Bagh, earlier planned for international cricket players participating in the Pakistan Super League (PSL).

The Punjab Cabinet Committee on Law and Order in a recent meeting, attended by Law Minister Raja Basharat, the Punjab home secretary, Lahore police officers and PCB representatives, scrapped the plan for ‘coronavirus and security concerns’. The event was proposed by the Lahore commissioner with the consultation of the PCB.

Up to 200 dignitaries were to attend the concert.

Initially, the proposed event was approved by authorities concerned amid some objections raised by the Punjab police, an official privy to the development told Dawn. The proposal was discussed twice by the cabinet committee.

In the initial plan, PSL cricket teams playing the second phase in Lahore were to attend the music event.

It was proposed that the foreign players would also play golf at Lahore Gymkhana Golf Club and would take a ride of the Orange Line train.

The source said the commissioner and the PCB sought high-profile security from the police for these events, which the police declined due to Covid-19 and security concerns.

According to the police, the department has already deployed 10,000 personnel for PSL security in Lahore.

The Lahore CCPO briefed the cabinet meeting that ‘bio-secure bubbles’ had been proposed for PSL cricketers.

The bubble is an environment that is cut off from the outside world and everyone engaged in the tournament is limited only to a few places.

This strategy is adopted to minimize the risk of contracting the infection through limited contact from the outside world.

“A key element of the bio-bubble is that players will not be permitted to have access to families, visitors, friends, and relatives for the duration of the tournament.

The meeting learned events, such as music concerts, would expose players and other staff to Covid related complications.

The movement in the city would also be an inconvenience for commuters and trigger security concerns, he said.

The meeting learned the police high ups had been told not to get close to the players.

Subsequently, Elite police commandos and other law enforcement agencies have been tasked with the security of the guests. The source said the IG Punjab, the home secretary and the law minister endorsed the recommendations of the police.

Published in Dawn, February 7th, 2022

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