ARMY Chief General Qamar Bajwa and his teammates that included Corps Commander Shamim Mirza, and DG Rangers Maj-General Mohammad Saeed won the hearts of people of Karachi for bringing the PSL final to their city—a miracle that opened new vistas of opportunity and revival of international cricket in country’s hub of economic activity.
To tell the truth, Karachi was never in the list of matches as fears continued to lurk in the minds of PCB officials, but some three months back, this scribe sent a whats app message to Gen Saeed, requesting his help in making Karachi reap the rich benefits of the tremendous efforts made by Rangers to ensure peace and sanity in the port town.
His reply was prompt: ‘we are on it’ he wrote back and since then perhaps continued to endeavor to bring the dream to reality. The turning point came when army chief General Qamar Bajwa came to Karachi on 11th March and announced that Karachi must stage the final. PCB and the government of prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi got the iron-clad guarantees, and showing confidence in army’s ability to help make it possible, sided with him.
The role of the DG rangers was immense. Throughout his tenure, in fact since day one of taking over the assignment in Karachi, he was always working on plans, and in addition to practical exercises, or motivating his force, he tried new methods of lecturing university student, going to IBA< University of Karachi, and brought about a change in the thinking of younger generation who are the real future of the country.
Once simple question, he used to ask his audiences—Would you like your city to be peaceful? And then he explained how to help achieve that laudable objective. It did click and students and teachers all began to think that they too have to participate in erasing horrors of the past from their memories, and try and build a new Karachi where their own lives and of others could be secured. Normal teaching and economic activities could be guaranteed. General Saeed had succeeded, but he had worked hard for it.
This scribe himself had a 45-minute meeting with corps commander Lt-general Shamim Mirza and came out the meeting confident that army was determined to ensure peace in Karachi and the rest of Pakistan. The task was difficult, it meant bloodshed, but blood in any case was flowing on the streets of Karachi. Almost daily 10 to 10 people were done to death. Crime was at its peak. While tremendous amount of success had already been achieved, the task remains to be completed and will require some more time to be 100 percent success.
General Saeed is a thoroughbred gentleman, high courteous in conversation, clear headed, and a humorist. He knows his job well and deserved full marks for doing it faithfully. Pakistan Cricket Board, which seemed earlier reluctant to enlist Karachi in its itinerary, was convinced, and even had a meeting with chief minister Murad Ali Shah. When completely assured that nothing would go wrong, he agreed and convinced foreign players of the PSL 3 edition to play at Karachi, Some of them excused, but maximum number from two finalists, Islamabad United and Peshawar Zalmi welcomed the idea and flew over to Karachi. Karachiites did experience some tough time for two days, but that price was inevitable. One had to endure it.
The National Stadium was renovated to whatever extent possible during a short period, but the crowd turns over, and its enthusiasm was indeed great. Najam Sethi and army chief General Bajwa, and so did ISPR chief Maj-General Asif Ghafoor acknowledged it with a deep sense of pride. Army had delivered and that is what is most important, Sindh government too deserves felicitations for doing its job, deploying police and special services unit, and guaranteeing that everything went well, also needs to be appreciated.