LAHORE-Hats off to security forces and provincial government, the Pakistan Super League (PSL) grand finale has commenced in a colourful ceremony.

The PCB, PSL management and Punjab government all deserve due credit for ensuring foolproof security to the cricketers – national and international – as well as for the masses, who came in great number to support Pakistan and its cricket.

Trouble-free entry to stadium

The security forces and agencies ensured trouble-free entry for the cricket-mad spectators at Gaddafi Stadium. Although the masses had to travel for around two kilometres to be able to catch the free shuttle service provided by the Punjab government, but families, mainly ladies looked highly comfortable to walk on foot to cover the otherwise long distance.

Provincial Minister Zaeem Qadri was present at the Gulberg point, where shuttle service was being operated. People were making long queues and ladies and children were being given top priority, which ensured smooth advancement of everyone towards the destination. Zaeem requested the masses to ensure discipline and wanted no hustle bustle and mismanagement. The crowd mainly based on youth fully responded and showed lot of patience.

SHUTTLE SERVICE FOR MASSES:

The shuttle service was excellent. The security forces deputed at different entrances were cooperating with masses and requested them to bear the checking process, which was purely managed for their comfort and easy. For the very first time, it was witnessed that security personnel deputed at different points were quite humble and not showing rude behaviour, which was common in the past.

FESTIVITY ALL-AROUND

It was festivity all-around as the roads leading towards the entry points, people thronged the venue in huge numbers. The stadium was pack to capacity well before the scheduled time of 5:45pm. People were congratulating each other for revival of cricket in Pakistan and termed PSL final a success of Najam Sethi, armed forces, federal and provincial governments and gave a clear message to terrorists that masses are ready to take on these handful miscreants. It was complete funfair and stadium was buzzing with noise.

DARREN SAMMY CHARGES CROWD

Peshawar Zalmi skipper Daren Sammy, who is well-known for his friendly behaviour and down to earth personality, rush towards spectators and allowed them to take selfies. He was offered a cap by armed forces personnel, which he wore with pride and kept on dancing with common fans. He also rushed to make-shift stage, where different singers including Ali Zafar, Fakhir, Ali Azmat and others were performing. Ali Zafar spell-bounded the audience with his famous PSL song, “Seati Bajay Gi, Khel Jammay Ga” while the crowd responded him by whistling and dancing, and seeing this electrifying atmosphere, Kamran Akmal also started dancing with Sammy.

PARAGLIDING SHOW BY

ARMED FORCES

A spectacular paragliding show was conducted by Pakistan Army paragliders, who were carrying flags of all the 5 franchises and also national flag. It was highly-appreciated by the massive crowd, who cheered their sterling performance and had photographs of their superb show.

Blanket Security

The helicopters were also flying constantly over the stadium to provide blanket security to ground forces. Overall, the panic and fear, the people were anticipating due to security threats, was not witnessed. The security forces provided easy path to ticket holders, which was not witnessed in the past. Only genuine ticket holders were moving towards the venue while the non-ticket holders wouldn’t allow moving ahead.

BEST FACILITIES AT MEDIA BOX

The credit should also be given to PCB media department, who remained highly vigilant and provided much-needed assistance to the sports journalists, who turned up in huge numbers from across the country. Despite wifi issues, as jammers were placed to avoid any untoward incident, the PCB ensured a number of wifi connections, which initially after some trouble, started working.

REHAM TALKS TO THE NATION

Among other dignitaries, Reham Khan, former wife of PTI chairman Imran Khan, also arrived from Islamabad to witness the final. Talking to The Nation, Reham said: “It is high time that we must shun differences and stand right behind our armed forces to send a clear message to international community that we are peace and sports loving nation. I am supporting Quetta Gladiators, but whoever wins, it will be victory of Pakistan and its cricket.

“I am feeling very excited as the atmosphere is electrifying. I am thankful to PCB and Najam Sethi for providing me an opportunity to remain with the people of this beautiful and loving city of Lahore. I hope full-fledge international cricket will return soon to Pakistan and international players and teams will love to take advantage from the warm hospitality of cricket-mad Pakistanis,” Reham concluded.