LAHORE – Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Tuesday said Federation of International Cricketers Association (FICA) had done a great disservice to the cause of cricket in general and Pakistan cricket in particular by advising players not to play in the PSL Final in Lahore next March because of “security reasons”.
FICA has cited unnamed “expert security consultants” for “updated security advice” that claims Pakistan is “at an extremely elevated state of insecurity”.
A PCB spokesman, in a statement here, said it was a careless and cavalier approach to an issue of great importance.
FICA, he said, “sits thousands of miles away from Pakistan and cannot name even one credible security expert, yet makes a sweeping negative statement about the security situation in Lahore.”
FICA’s claim that “westerners and luxury hotels have been attacked” was contrary to the facts on the ground that proved that
not a single foreigner or hotel had been attacked in Lahore in the last five years, the spokesman added.
“FICA’s claim that ‘targeted attacks’ are predicted to continue is belied by the fact that Lahore is the showpiece of the government that has secured the services of UK-based ‘Safe City’ security project, ” he said.
The PCB, he said, had recently hosted Kenya, Zimbabwe, Bangladesh (Women), Afghanistan and Malaysian national cricket teams in Lahore and Karachi without any problem.
In the case of PSL (Pakistan Super League) Final in Lahore for one day, he added, the government had guaranteed protection by over 3000 army and police personnel in the city. The PCB would provide armoured buses for travel along with VVIP security protocols, he added.
The spokesman said a group of foreign players, including Jonty Rhodes, Brain Lara, Curtly Ambrose, Glenn McGrath, Dean Jones, Mark Butcher, Marvin Atapattu, Herschelle Gibbs, Damien Martyn, Andy Roberts, Danny Morrison, Sanath Jayasuriya, Andrew Symonds, Ajay Jadeja, Robin Smith, Cameron Delport etc were regular visitors to Pakistan on assignment with Pakistan Television and were available to vouchsafe the safety and security of foreign cricketers in the country.
“The PSL has already received confirmation from top international players to play in Lahore and PCB is determined to bring cricket home to Pakistan,” he added.