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Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Sri Lanka ponders security situation and tour to Pak 2019

Madagamagamage Dasun Shanaka  will lead Sri Lanka in T20 and Lahiru Thirimanne in ODIs .. .. just in case, you are wondering who this Shanaka is ? 
Shattered bus glass !n a decade ago !!

Hours before the deal reached between the United States and the Taliban for withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan collapsed, Amrullah Saleh, vice-presidential candidate and running mate of President Ashraf Ghani in the uncertain September 28 presidential election, told newspersons  that the (then imminent) deal was “not a deal for or of the Afghans”.  Saleh, a former chief of the Afghan intelligence service National Directorate of Security, had said in an email interview (conducted before President Donald Trump called off the peace talks with the Taliban) that “the key is for the Taliban to realise they can’t subdue a nation by guns and bombs provided by the Pakistani ISI and the army”.

In an unrelated move, Pakistan Army announced the promotion of four major generals to the rank of lieutenant generals, said a statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).  In August, Prime Minister Imran Khan gave a three-year extension to General Qamar Javed Bajwa, the country’s army chief, in view of the ‘regional security environment’.

Authorities on Sunday suspended mobile services in Karachi and Nawabshah as part of security measures during Muharram processions. Sindh government  confirmed that mobile service was suspended in 245 areas in Karachi. The province's Home Department Secretary Abdul Kabir Qazi said that cellular signals were jammed in the areas which are "flashpoints" and where major processions and 'majlis' (gatherings) are held. The service will be suspended in all areas where processions have been planned, including small towns, reported Dawn. Security has been beefed up in the province to prevent any untoward incidents. According to The News International, there would be a ban on publication and broadcasting of "hate material". The police have said that the cellular services will remain suspended in Nawabshah, as well as Sanghar and Naushahro Feroze districts until the evenings of the ninth and 10th of Muharram. In Islamabad, Section 144 will be imposed in areas from where the processions will pass on the ninth day of Muharram.

The news of pullout by 10 top Lankan players out of their country’s upcoming tour of Pakistan for 3 ODIs and 3 T20I matches has polarised opinions across the cricket world. While former Pakistan captain Ramiz Raja slammed the Sri Lankan cricketers who have chosen to pull out, former speedster Shoaib Akhtar has joined his senior in condemning the move. Taking to Twitter, Akhtar expressed his disappointment at the pull-out and tried to remind them of how Pakistan has 'always been a huge support for SL cricket'.  "So disappointed with the 10 Sri Lankan players who have pulled out of Pakistan tour. Pakistan has always been a huge support for SL cricket. Recently after deadly Easter Attacks in SL, our under-19 team was sent on tour there, being the first international team to volunteer. And of course who can forget the 1996 World Cup when Australia & West Indies refused to tour Sri Lanka. Pakistan sent a combined team with India to play a friendly match in Colombo. We expect reciprocation from Sri Lanka. Their board is cooperating, players should also": Akhtar wrote in a series of tweets.

The announcement of pullout  comes two days after Dimuth Karunaratne and Lasith Malinga, the incumbents, informed the Sri Lanka Cricket of their unwillingness to tour Pakistan, along with eight others, citing security concerns. Minod Banuka, the 24-year old wicketkeeper-batsman, is the only uncapped member in the 15-man ODI squad. Banuka along with Bhanuka Rajapaksa are the two uncapped names in the T20I squad. Banuka has been part of Sri Lanka's Emerging squad while Rajapaksa was on Sri Lanka A's tour of India in June.

Still worser, Sri Lanka's forthcoming tour of Pakistan has been thrown into doubt after Sri Lanka's government is said to have received news of a "possible terrorist threat on the Sri Lanka team". The team was scheduled to leave for the tour in less than two weeks, but the tour now hinges on a "reassessment of the security situation in Pakistan". One security assessment - described as "meticulous" by an SLC official - had already been conducted, with the board formerly convinced that the tour was safe. But this new information about a specific threat on the team has sparked fresh fears. "Sri Lanka Cricket has y sought the assistance of the Sri Lankan government to conduct a 'reassessment' of the security situation in Pakistan ahead of the national team's planned tour to Pakistan," a board release said.  With 10 frontline players already having refused to tour Pakistan, this new perceived threat may create apprehension among even the players who have agreed to travel.

Cricket in Pakistan came to a halt in 2009, after the Sri Lanka team was attacked by gunmen on the way to the ground in Lahore.  A decade ago, in Mar 2009,  on a  dark day for Cricket occurred.  At Gadaffi stadium, Thilan Samaraweera notched  up his second successive Test double century following his 231 in the First Test at Karachi.  Thilan became the  sixth batsman after Walter Hammond, Don Bradman, Vinod Kambli, Kumar Sangakkara and Graeme Smith to score successive double centuries in Test matches.  Then the next day, unidentified gunmen opened fire on a bus carrying Sri Lankan cricket team as they were on their way to stadium in Lahore.  Dawn news channel showed footage of two gunmen opening fire using Kalashnikovs.  Six policemen  were  dead, three more are seriously injured. The attackers exploded two bombs and men started firing at a police van which was providing security to the Lankan team.   Some players sustained injuries.  The players later left from the stadium by helicopter – that sounded a death-knell for Cricket in Pakistan – though Abu dhabi offered its premises for matches involving Pak later.

A day after 10 top Sri Lankan cricketers pulled out of an upcoming Pakistan tour over security concerns, motormouth Pakistani minister Chaudhary Fawad Hussain  claimed that India had threatened the players, forcing them to take the step. In a tweet on Tuesday, Pakistan minister for Science and Technology, Fawad Hussain said, "Informed sports commentators told me that India threatened SL players that they ll be ousted from IPL if they don't refuse Pak visit, this is really cheap tactic, jingoism from sports to space is something we must condemn, really cheap on the part of Indian sports authorities (sic)".

Comic !!  reaction of a Minister .. .. for Science & Technology

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
11th Sept 2019.

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