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Amid tight security arrangements, Pakistan-leg of PSL 4 set to begin in Karachi today

Amid tight security arrangements, Pakistan-leg of PSL 4 set to begin in Karachi today

Amid tight security arrangements, the first match of the Pakistan-leg of Pakistan Super League (PSL) between Lahore Qalandars and Islamabad United is set to begin at Karachi's National Stadium on Saturday at 7 pm.

The first 26 matches of the premier domestic Twenty20 league were played in the United Arab Emirates, and of the eight to be played in Pakistan, three that had been planned for Lahore will now also be held in Karachi. In 2018, the megapolis hosted the final of the PSL.

Karachi will witness some of the biggest stars in international cricket — including Shane Watson of Australia as well as Kieron Pollard and Darren Sammy of the West Indies — over the next nine days as the last leg of PSL begins.

Read more: Karachi welcomes foreign cricket stars as PSL 2019 comes home

Sindh Inspector General of Police (IGP) Dr Syed Kaleem Imam today directed police to provide the PSL players, foreign delegates, guests and staff with security protocol as per international standards.

As per a press release issued by Karachi Traffic Police, he asked them to ensure that the security on the way from the hotel to the stadium, within as well in the areas surrounding the stadium, be foolproof.

The IGP directed that the monitoring steps by the Central Police Office (CPO) from the command and control centre be made effective and strong. He also asked that overall affairs be made reliable with a special focus on disaster management.

IGP Imam called for practical steps to be taken to keep the police reserve platoons ready.

He asked the police to use their experience and professional capabilities to make the overall security and traffic steps of PSL 4 a success.

According to the Sindh IGP, as per the PSL 4 security and traffic arrangements: 7720 East, 2260 South, 565 Special Security Unit (SSU), 1780 Traffic and 788 Special Branch security personnel have been appointed responsibilities.

Tight security will be provided for the six franchise teams, including more than 13,000 policemen and 2,500 armed paramilitary personnel in place en route from the hotel to the stadium and in the surroundings of the National Stadium.

Several key cricketing delegates from around the world that include top officials from the International Cricket Council (ICC), Federation of International Cricketers Association and Bangladesh Cricket Board will also oversee security arrangements during the matches in Karachi.

Hundreds of CCTV cameras have been installed in and around the National Stadium to monitor the movement of spectators. Spectators have to show their original national identity card (NIC) along with their tickets at the entry points.

The main roads of the metropolis have been decorated with lights and cardboard cut-outs of players on the roadside. There are also giant billboards showing several foreign players representing the six teams Karachi Kings, Lahore Qalandars, Islamabad United, Peshawar Zalmi, Quetta Gladiators and Multan Sultans.

International cricket has gradually been revived in the country since it was suspended following an attack on the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore ten years ago.

It was six years before Pakistan hosted any international cricket when minnows Zimbabwe toured in 2015, while the Gaddafi Stadium hosted the PSL final in March 2017, and a World XI also played three Twenty20 Internationals (T20I) in Lahore. But the biggest event was Sri Lanka's return for a one-off T20I in October 2017.

"The perception that foreigners have about the safety situation in Pakistan will change and they will be satisfied with the security arrangements," Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Ehsan Mani said in Karachi earlier.

"I am delighted to welcome the foreign players who have come here for the PSL and I am sure it will help us in bringing more international matches to the country."

In a recent interview with The Associated Press, Mani had said that Bangladesh and Sri Lanka were the two teams which could tour Pakistan later this year if the PCB successfully organises the PSL games being played domestically.

Stadium-goers, according to the Karachi Traffic Police, will be required to show their tickets and original NIC, and must park their vehicles at designated parking places.

The designated parking spots are the ground near Hakeem Saeed Park and Sunday Bazar adjacent to Baitul Mukarram Masjid.

Read more: Karachi Traffic Police release route details for commuters ahead of PSL matches

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