Sri Lanka squad arrive in Pakistan despite security concerns

Sri Lankan cricketers arrive in Karachi. (Photo Courtesy: PCB/Twitter)
Updated 24 September 2019

Sri Lanka squad arrive in Pakistan despite security concerns

  • “Hope to give a good fight to our very strong hosts,” said skipper Shanaka
  • The Sri Lanka team were attacked in Lahore in 2009, when six Pakistani policemen and two civilians were killed

Karachi – Sri Lanka’s depleted national cricket squad arrived in Pakistan on Tuesday expressing confidence in security promises by the hosts despite reports that the team could be targeted by militants.
The Sri Lanka team were attacked in Lahore in 2009 and since then most international teams have refused to tour the South Asian country, leaving Pakistan to play nearly all their “home” games in the United Arab Emirates.
Ten senior players citing security concerns have opted out of the tour, comprising three one-day internationals and three Twenty20 matches, beginning on Friday.
But the rest arrived in Karachi later on Tuesday and were whisked to their hotel under heavy security.
The captain of the Twenty20 squad, Dasun Shanaka, said he had no misgivings about returning to Pakistan after they played a Twenty20 international in Lahore on October 2017, their first since the 2009 attack.
“I have been there before,” Shanaka told reporters just before the team left Colombo, where they were blessed by saffron-robed Buddhist monks.
“I am satisfied with the security arranged for us and I am happy to lead my team to Pakistan. We hope to give a good fight to our very strong hosts.”
ODI skipper Lahiru Thirimanne said he also had no concerns and they had been given assurances of a very high degree of protection in Pakistan, usually reserved for visits by heads of state.
Sri Lanka’s cricket board received the all-clear from the defense ministry last week to go ahead with the tour after establishing that there was no threat.
The 2009 attack left six players injured when gunmen attacked their bus. Six Pakistan policemen and two civilians were killed.


PM Khan rules out full lockdown as 1,300 coronavirus hotspots sealed across Pakistan

Updated 14 June 2020

PM Khan rules out full lockdown as 1,300 coronavirus hotspots sealed across Pakistan

  • Khan's announcement comes a day after Punjab government called for a tightening of containment measures in the province
  • Sealing of high-risk areas comes as Pakistan reported 6,472 news cases on Saturday, the country's highest single-day total

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan once again ruled out a comprehensive lockdown in the country during a press conference on Saturday while visiting the coronavirus epicentre of Punjab province which has recorded over 50,000 cases.
A day earlier, a list of recommendations were forwarded by the Punjab government to the Prime Minister, which called for a tightening of containment measures in the province and in particular in Punjab’s largest city, Lahore.
But while addressing a press conference in the provincial capital alongside Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar and Punjab’s health minister Dr. Yasmin Rashid, Khan said “selective lockdowns” based on tracking and tracing cases would be imposed as opposed to a sweeping lockdown. Khan added the country's administration and police could not take on the huge burden of a complete lockdown.
On Saturday, state-owned Radio Pakistan reported Pakistani authorities had identified and sealed off nearly 1,300 hot spots to contain the rising trajectory of new coronavirus infections.
The sealing of high-risk areas comes as Pakistan reported 6,472 news cases on Saturday, the country's highest single-day total. Pakistan has confirmed a total of 135,702 cases, including 2,593 deaths.
In March, the country put its entire population of nearly 220 million people under lockdown, but the government has since eased restrictions, saying it was necessary to save the country’s economy. The move has caused a huge surge in cases, with healthcare facilities in some cities reporting an inability to cope.
Since then, Khan has consistently resisted demands from experts to reinforce the lockdown and authorities are now using the term “smart lockdown” to close shops and markets where confirmed cases have increased in recent weeks.
Some residential areas were also sealed in the capital, Islamabad, to contain the spread of the virus.
Khan on Saturday said the public had not been taking government mandated SOP’s seriously so far, and warned that there would be "consequences" going forward if COVID-19 protocols were not followed.