Four-tier security fails to dampen spirit of cricket fans

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Lahore

Strict security measures were employed before the much-awaited Pakistan versus World XI match, which marks the return of international cricket in Pakistan.
Thousands of cricket fans overjoyed with the return of international cricket to Pakistan, chanting ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ and ‘Dil Dil Pakistan’, as World XI took on Pakistan in the opening game of Independence Series.
Several fans with their face painted in Pakistan’s colours walked through a strict four-tier security check to reach their seats at different enclosures of Lahore’s Gadaffi Stadium.
The security checks with scanning at every few steps can be frustrating for some, but for Lahoris, it was just another part of the festivity.
“I don’t feel frustrated at all, they all are doing it for our safety and we must support it,” said Riaz, who works for a local bank in Lahore.
“It is actually fun, making us more eager to witness the historic moment,” said another fan Shahid, who travelled from Multan to witness Faf-led World XI playing against Pakistan.
Thousands of policemen and personnel of paramilitary forces were deployed along with Army troops in and outside the stadium to ensure safe and smooth organisation of the match.
“It’s a historic coming together of the world’s cricket community, and the support of the ICC has been incredible,” said Roha Nadeem, writer and blogger.
Fans were advised by the local administration to arrive at the venue four hours before the kick-off time, and the scorching heat on Tuesday couldn’t stop fans from queueing outside various gates of the stadium. To ensure smooth arrangements, a shuttle service was provided by the provincial government.
“I think these are the brilliant arrangements, it is all smooth. A shuttle picked us after parking and there was another shuttle after security checks to take us to various gates of enclosure,” said Kashif, a student of mass communication.
“This is time for us to prove that Pakistan is safe and so far we have been able to prove it,” said Afshan, who came to witness the memorable event from Rawalpindi.—APP