The majority of the country was busy watching the second iteration of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) when the bomb struck Lahore, and was jolted out of its blissful reprieve. As this new wave of terror attacks unfolded, the tournament became a lightning rod of sorts; with a ferocious debate erupting over the motives behind the attacks, if they were meant to target PSL and whether the final of the tournament should be held in Lahore.

From a security perspective, the latter part of the debate is understandable, but to truly understand why the location of the final has polarised opinion so starkly we have to understand what the PSL represents.

The exclusion of Pakistan from hosting international cricket matches has hit the country hard. Revenues have dried up, local talent production has slowed down, and the citizens are bereft of watching the heroes play in front of them. More than that, it has become a psychological wound – it is a barometer of Pakistan’s instability, and an indicator that foreign investment in the country is still dangerous.

So when the Zimbabwe agreed to play a short limited overs series in Lahore it was treated as a national milestone; terrorism was finally on the back foot and the country was on the mend. It was celebrated as a nationalistic event – just as the resumption of the annual military parade in 2015 was treated as a symbol of defiance. PSL is a continuation of that. The first season proved that a Pakistan owned venture could be profitable and entertaining, and the plan to hold the final of the second in Lahore was the culmination of that trend. This is not just a cricket match, it is a measure of Pakistan’s progress.

Hence the debate over the final became heated – security concerns were faced off by the need to show determination and defiance in the face of terror. Fortunately, the COAS threw his weight behind the Lahore final, as did the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), and in a recent meeting, all teams have agreed to play the final in Pakistan. Some foreign players may decide to stay away, but adequate arrangement has been made to hold a secondary draft to fill those vacancies.

This is the correct decision despite the risks. While the state is taking a huge security burden upon itself, the payoff is far greater. A symbol of hope, defiance and normalcy is exactly what Pakistan needs right now. The state has committed to this path now, it must make the necessary arrangements.