LAHORE - Provincial Minister for Sports and Education Rana Mashhood Ahmad Khan termed the international match between Qatar and Pakistan A teams to be played tomorrow (Monday) here at the Gaddafi Stadium a significant step towards the resumption of international cricket in the country.
“We have been holding this cricketing activity to bring international cricket back to the country. It will be for the first time after 2009 Sri Lankan team attack that the Sports Board Punjab, in collaboration with the PCB, is going to host any international cricket activity. The guest team will be provided every facility along with foolproof security,” Mashhood said this while addressing the press conference here at the National Hockey Stadium on Saturday. Director General Sports Board Punjab (SBP) Usman Anwar and Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) General Manager Domestic Cricket Shafiq Ahmad Papa were also present on the occasion.
He said that after Qatar team, the teams of Test playing nations would also visit the country to provide the cricket crazy nation opportunities to witness their players in action in the home grounds. “The entry to the stadium will be free to everyone and they will enjoy the highly-entertaining match between Qatar and Pakistan A teams. Various cultural programmes will also be part of this activity,” he added.
Mashhood further stated: “Successful holding of the Punjab Youth Festival has portrayed a softer image of the country to the entire world. The credit of this big feat goes to dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Mian M Nawaz Sharif, Punjab Chief Minister Mian M Shahbaz Sharif and MNA Hamza Shahbaz Sharif while the role of Sports Board Punjab also can’t be forgotten which left no stone unturned in making the festival a success.”
Lauding the cooperation of Turkey with Pakistan government, the minister said: “The role of Turkish government in the country’s progress is really commendable and sending the internationally-recognised Turkish band to Pakistan for the Punjab Youth Festival (PYF) 2014 is one of the best gifts we ever received.”
“Seeing the popularity of the PYF, Balochistan government is also organising Balochistan Youth Festival. They appealed to the Punjab government to help them in holding their festival successfully on which DG SBP Usman Anwar visited Quetta and assured them Punjab government’s all-out support and also promised to provide financial assistance to them,” he asserted.
He said the Punjab Youth Festival was the largest and economical event of the world which engaged 4.8 million people in the healthy activities and broke the world record of maximum participation of 3.2 million individuals. “Due to sincere efforts of the current government, we have been strengthening our relations with China and other countries which is a pragmatic step towards prosper Pakistan,” Mashhood concluded.
Speaking on the occasion, PCB GM Domestic Shafiq Ahmad said: “All the arrangements regarding holding the international match between Qatar and Pakistan A teams have been completed. The PCB will provide all the basic and latest facilities to players of both the teams.”
“The selectors will announce Pakistan A team after the consensus. Top players of the country will be part of Pakistan team who will try their best to deliver and earn laurels for the country,” he concluded.