Pakistan is all set to host the Independence Cup, a match between Pakistan and eleven of the world’s best cricketers.
Pakistan has taken all security measures possible to make this event a successful one. A safe match could mean opening the country to future international matches. However, are the security measures adequate?
One is reminded of the brutal attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team back in 2009. Seven of its players were injure, with Ajanta Mendis being hurt in his bowling arm. Six Pakistani policemen and two civilians were killed in the attack by militant outfit Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.
Since then, the cricketing world refused to play in Pakistan. Even the Pakistani team played most of its home matches in UAE. Only Zimbabwe toured Pakistan two years ago. They played short, limited overs series.
The World XI captain Faf du Plessis has reposed confidence in the security arrangements. Pakistan Cricket Board has ensured maximum number of security personnel is deployed for players’ protection and they are equipped with bullet-proof vests.
What, however, is worrying is the will of the security men to provide protection. One will remember that the Sri Lankan cricket team too was provided adequate security. But the men ran away when Lashkar militants were raining bullets at the Sri Lankan bus where a driver was killed and umpire Ahsan Raza grieviously injured. It was only when a brave policeman took control of the steering was the team saved.
It was reported that no security personnel had returned fire for twenty minutes.
The playing team has George Bailey, Ben Cutting and Tim Paine from Australia, Thisara Perera from Sri Lanka, Samuel Badree and Darren Sammy from West Indies, Grant Elliot from New Zealand, Paul Collingwood from England, Tamim Iqbal from Bangladesh and Faf du Plesis, Hashim Amla, David Miller, Morne Morkel and Imran Tahir from South Africa.
We can only hope that Pakistan really does have a better security arrangement it claims to and no repeat of the 2009 attack happens ever again.