India and Pakistan drive US ticket demand for T20 World Cup

India and Pakistan drive US ticket demand for T20 World Cup
India's Virat Kohli (R) shakes hands with Pakistan's Shadab Khan after the ICC men's Twenty20 World Cup 2022 cricket match between India and Pakistan at Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) in Melbourne on October 23, 2022. (AFP/File)
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Updated 24 February 2024
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India and Pakistan drive US ticket demand for T20 World Cup

India and Pakistan drive US ticket demand for T20 World Cup
  • The highly anticipated clash in New York was over-subscribed by 200 times in public ballot for tickets
  • A 34,000-seat temporary venue has yet to be completed but is already assured of a sell-out crowd

Fort Lauderdale: Organizers of June’s T20 Cricket World Cup games in the United States say that early ticket sales have shown there is a huge demand for the sport among cricket lovers in the country.

The highly anticipated clash in New York between cricket rivals Pakistan and India was over-subscribed by 200 times in the public ballot for tickets, the International Cricket Council said.

The 34,000-seat temporary venue, Nassau County International Cricket Stadium on Long Island, has yet to be completed but is already assured of a sell out crowd for the June 9 encounter.

The tournament is being co-hosted by the West Indies and the United States.

While big crowds are expected in the traditional cricket countries in the Caribbean, this will be the first time that an international tournament is held in the United States with the 16 games in the country also including matches in Lauderhill, South Florida and Grand Prairie Stadium, near Dallas.

“We had amazing ticket interest. The ballot process showed there’s a really big demand,” T20 World Cup USA, Inc. chief executive Brett Jones told AFP on Friday.

“India-Pakistan is obviously a game that at every World Cup carries great interest. I think it’s really pleasing to see those two countries come to the USA,” he added.

Powerhouses India and Pakistan will play all their group games in the USA and are sure to attract packed crowds from the diaspora living in the country.

While organizers hope that they can “convert” some Americans to the game, they are well aware that there is already huge interest among immigrant populations and their focus is on serving those fans.

“I think, number one, we want to celebrate those that are already fanatical lovers of cricket. They deserve to see the best players in the world come into their backyard and have that chance,” said Jones.

“So, number one, we want to make sure that happens and they get to feel like they’re close to a game they love. Number two, I think it’s about spiking curiosity in the game,” he said.

Americans have never fallen for the charms of cricket, preferring baseball for their bat and ball action, but the sport is set to get an unprecedented platform in the country with the T20 format, including in the Los Angeles Olympics in four year’s time.

“Obviously there’s a great runway to the Olympics in LA in 28 and then on into Brisbane in 2032 for cricket, which again will keep it in the global view and the consciousness of a big country like the US. I think we’ve got those two things working for us,” said Jones.

“We’re saying we want to reward our cricket fans and lovers of cricket in the US, which is a huge market.

“Then we want to spike curiosity and really hopefully start a bigger conversation about the game and its benefits at the community level,” he added.

Ireland, Sri Lanka, South Africa, the Netherlands, Bangladesh and Canada will also play in the USA along with the host nation themselves.

While there is no lack of interest, organizers still have plenty to do to create the facilities and infrastructure needed for a global tournament.

Lauderhill, just outside Fort Lauderdale, has already played home to international cricket matches but is undergoing significant upgrades.

Grand Prairie opened last year as the venue for the new domestic tournament, Major League Cricket, but is also being enhanced for the tournament.

“We’re still going to have a lot of work to do to make sure we can provide access to our cricket fans,” Jones said.

“We want to show people that in a sports-mad country that demands entertainment, cricket is a great entertainment product,” he added.

The tournament will start on June 1 with the USA facing Canada in Texas.

USA vice-captain Aaron Jones says he hopes the team’s performances will offer inspiration to youngsters starting out in the sport.

“We want to show everybody in the world that the USA can be a cricketing country as well and be a role model for kids coming up,” he said.


Pakistan’s PM to visit Iran today following fatal helicopter crash involving President Raisi

Pakistan’s PM to visit Iran today following fatal helicopter crash involving President Raisi
Updated 27 sec ago
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Pakistan’s PM to visit Iran today following fatal helicopter crash involving President Raisi

Pakistan’s PM to visit Iran today following fatal helicopter crash involving President Raisi
  • The incident occurred when the Iranian president was flying to Tabriz amid dense fog causing poor visibility
  • The Pakistani prime minister will meet the Iranian supreme leader, acting president to offer his condolences

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif is scheduled to travel to Iran today, Wednesday, to offer his condolences after President Dr. Ebrahim Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian lost their lives in a helicopter crash in East Azerbaijan Province on May 19.
The incident occurred after the Iranian president attended the inauguration of a joint hydropower project on the Aras River, which forms part of the border with Azerbaijan, in a ceremony with his counterpart Ilham Aliyev.
His helicopter crashed while he was on his way back to Tabriz with a seven-member entourage amid dense fog, causing poor visibility.
The Pakistani prime minister paid tribute to the Iranian president and foreign minister during the recent cabinet meeting. The Iranian officials arrived in Islamabad and visited other Pakistani cities last month and vowed to enhance bilateral trade between the two countries.
“Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif will visit the Islamic Republic of Iran today to offer condolences at the sad demise of President Dr. Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian,” the foreign office announced in a statement.
“The Prime Minister will call on the Supreme Leader, His Eminence, Ayatollah Imam Khamenei, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution and meet Acting President of Iran, Dr. Mohammad Mokhber, to convey condolences on behalf of the people and Government of Pakistan,” it added.
Sharif will be accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister Ishaq Dar and other senior cabinet ministers.
According to media outlets, Raisi’s funeral will be held on Thursday.
Tens of thousands of Iranians in Tabriz on Tuesday mourned their president and other Iranian officials who died in the crash, walking behind the vehicle carrying their coffins.


Pakistan’s deputy PM visits Kyrgyzstan to address concerns of Pakistani students following mob violence

Pakistan’s deputy PM visits Kyrgyzstan to address concerns of Pakistani students following mob violence
Updated 21 min 21 sec ago
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Pakistan’s deputy PM visits Kyrgyzstan to address concerns of Pakistani students following mob violence

Pakistan’s deputy PM visits Kyrgyzstan to address concerns of Pakistani students following mob violence
  • Ishaq Dar flew to Bishkek with the Kyrgyz foreign minister after their meeting on the sidelines of SCO conference in Astana
  • Pakistan continues to evacuate students even as the top officials of the two countries hold meetings to sort things out

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Deputy Prime Minister Ishaq Dar arrived in Kyrgyzstan’s capital, Bishkek, on Tuesday to address concerns of young nationals of his country enrolled in various educational institutions of the Central Asian state who were targeted by mob violence last week.
The violence began in Bishkek on Friday night after videos of a brawl between Kyrgyz and Egyptian students went viral on social media, prompting groups of local residents to target university hostels and private lodgings of international students, including those from Pakistan.
According to official figures, about 10,000 Pakistani students are enrolled in Kyrgyzstan, with nearly 6,000 in Bishkek. The frenzied violence forced them to confine themselves for several hours in their rooms without food and drinking water, with many of them making evacuation requests online.
Dar, who is also the foreign minister of Pakistan, held a meeting with his Kyrgyz counterpart in Kazakhstan on the sidelines of a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Council of Foreign Ministers.
“Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar has arrived in Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic for a working visit,” Pakistan’s foreign office announced in a statement on Tuesday. “He was invited to visit the Kyrgyz Republic by Kyrgyz Foreign Minister Zheenbek Kulubaev after their meeting yesterday in Astana, Kazakhstan on the sidelines of the SCO Council of Foreign Ministers. The two Ministers traveled together from Astana to Bishkek.”

In this handout photograph, taken and released by Pakistan’s foreign ministry, Pakistan’s Deputy Prime Minister Ishaq Dar (L) shakes hands with Kyrgyzstan Foreign Minister Kulubaev Zheenbek Moldokanovich in Bishkek on May 22, 2024. (Photo courtesy: MOFA)

“In Bishkek, the Deputy Prime Minister will discuss with the Kyrgyz Foreign Minister the concerns of Pakistani nationals in the Kyrgyz Republic, including the recent issues faced by Pakistani students,” it added.
Five Pakistani nationals were injured in last week’s violence. Four of them were released after receiving first aid. However, one student was hospitalized due to more serious injuries.
Dar also met with the student who remains under treatment among his other official engagements.
Pakistan has so far repatriated over 1,000 students from Bishkek after the mob violence via various flights. The evacuation process continues even as officials of the two countries try to sort things out.
The most recent flight carrying about 170 Pakistani students arrived in Multan on Wednesday morning.

In this handout photograph, taken and released by Pakistan International Airlines, officials from Pakistan's national airline welcome students arriving from Bishkek via a special PIA flight at the Allama Iqbal International Airport in Lahore on May 21, 2024, days after mobs in Kyrgyz capital attacked foreign students following a brawl with migrants. (Photo courtesy: PIA)

 


President of ex-PM Khan party released from prison after nearly a year in custody

President of ex-PM Khan party released from prison after nearly a year in custody
Updated 21 May 2024
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President of ex-PM Khan party released from prison after nearly a year in custody

President of ex-PM Khan party released from prison after nearly a year in custody
  • Pervaiz Elahi was arrested on June 1 in a case relating to alleged illegal appointments in Punjab Assembly
  • His party says the anti-corruption watchdog failed to prove Elahi had accepted any money against recruitment

ISLAMABAD: Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, president of former prime minister Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, was released from prison on Tuesday after the Lahore High Court granted him bail in a case relating to alleged illegal appointments, the PTI said.
Elahi was arrested on June 1, 2023 after being accused of getting results of the testing service changed to have the candidates of his choice appointed in the Punjab provincial assembly.
Justice Sultan Tanvir of the Lahore High Court accepted his bail petition while presiding over a hearing of the case on Tuesday and ordered his release.
“The anti-corruption body filed the case after a delay of two years,” the PTI said in a statement. “Anti-corruption body failed to prove that Mr. Elahi had accepted any money against recruitment or his involvement in the recruitment procedure.”
Elahi has twice served as the chief minister of Pakistan’s most populous Punjab province and dissolved the provincial assembly in January 2023 on Khan’s instructions, in a bid to force early nationwide elections.
His arrest on June 1 came amid a crackdown on Khan’s PTI party after violent clashes and attacks on government and military installations over Khan’s brief arrest in May 9.
Khan, who was ousted in a parliamentary no-trust vote in April, has been in jail since last August and convicted in multiple cases. Arguably Pakistan’s most popular politician, Khan says all cases against him are politically motivated to keep him out of politics.


Over 1,000 relief camps set up as Pakistan braces for heatwave

Over 1,000 relief camps set up as Pakistan braces for heatwave
Updated 21 May 2024
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Over 1,000 relief camps set up as Pakistan braces for heatwave

Over 1,000 relief camps set up as Pakistan braces for heatwave
  • The Pakistan Meteorological Department said temperatures are expected to hit as high as 50°Celsius in parts of rural Sindh
  • Extreme heat in Pakistan is often coupled by deficit in power supply, with some areas experiencing 15-hour daily loadshedding

KARACHI: Over 1,000 camps have been set up across Pakistan’s southern province of Sindh in anticipation of a severe heatwave, disaster management officials said Tuesday.
The Pakistan Meteorological Department said temperatures are expected to hit as high as 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit) in parts of rural Sindh.
“These camps have been set up to provide relief to affected people, and to help reduce instances of heatstroke and other heat-related diseases,” Ajay Kumar assistant director of the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) told AFP.
“They are also equipped with places of rest, water and glucose to give to people as and when these are needed,” he added.
The heatwave will affect much of the country, building over the next week.
Extreme heat in Pakistan is often coupled by deficit in power supply, with some areas experiencing up to 15 hours a day of loadshedding, according to local media.
Pakistan increasingly vulnerable to extreme weather events, which scientists have linked to climate change.
Schools in the province have already postponed annual examinations scheduled for this week, including in the mega port city of Karachi, home to more than 20 million people.
PDMA Chief Meteorologist Sardar Sarfaraz said that “women who spend most of their time in the kitchen and in the fields in rural areas are the hardest hit.”
The heatwave also raises concern about the survival of livestock, Kumar added.


Pakistan religion minister applauds Saudi Arabia for innovation in facilitation of Hajj pilgrims

Pakistan religion minister applauds Saudi Arabia for innovation in facilitation of Hajj pilgrims
Updated 21 May 2024
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Pakistan religion minister applauds Saudi Arabia for innovation in facilitation of Hajj pilgrims

Pakistan religion minister applauds Saudi Arabia for innovation in facilitation of Hajj pilgrims
  • Hajj is one of five pillars of Islam and requires every Muslim to undertake the journey at least once
  • Around 26,711 Pakistani pilgrims have arrived in Saudi Arabia ahead of the next month’s pilgrimage

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Religious Affairs Minister Chaudhry Salik Hussain on Tuesday met with Saudi Minister of Hajj and Umrah Dr. Tawfiq bin Fawzan Al-Rabiah and commended the innovative reforms implemented by the Saudi authorities to facilitate Hajj pilgrims, the Pakistani religious affair ministry said.
Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam and requires every adult Muslim to undertake the journey to the holy Islamic sites in Makkah at least once in their lifetime if they are financially and physically able.
According to Pakistan’s religious affairs ministry, 26,711 Pakistani pilgrims have arrived in Saudi Arabia ahead of next month’s Hajj, less than two weeks after Pakistan kicked off its pre-Hajj flight operation.
Hussain arrived in Saudi Arabia last week to review Pakistan’s arrangements for Hajj pilgrims and has since toured various departments as well as met with Saudi authorities.
“Hussain appreciated the innovative and exemplary reforms of the Saudi authorities for the facilitation of Hajj pilgrims arriving in the Kingdom from across the globe,” Pakistan’s religious affairs ministry said in a statement.
The two figures had a detailed discussion regarding bilateral relations and arrangements for Hajj 2024, according to the statement. Hussain lauded the Kingdom for extending the best facilities and excellent support to the pilgrims.
He described the progress on new Pakistan Houses, which house the country’s Hajj missions, in Makkah and Madinah as “positive.”
“Saudi companies responsible for providing services under the leadership of the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah are doing a good job,” Hussain was quoted as saying in the statement.
Hussain also discussed the matter of pending transport contracts for 40,000 Pakistani Hajj pilgrims facilitated by private tour operators, to which the Saudi minister assured him the matter would be resolved within the next few days.
“Pakistan’s Hajj group operators should reform and follow Saudi directives,” Hussain urged, saying his ministry would take action if pilgrims faced inconvenience due to private operators.
Pakistan has a Hajj quota of 179,210 pilgrims this year, of which 63,805 people will perform the pilgrimage under the government scheme, while the rest will use private tour operators. This year’s pilgrimage is expected to run from June 14 till June 19.