March 20, 2023

Police withdraw from the cricketer-turned-politician’s home to permit a cricket match to be performed as scheduled.

When an intense two-day police operation to arrest former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan within the jap metropolis of Lahore come to a haltit was cricket that got here to his rescue.

Police had surrounded Khan’s residence within the provincial capital of Punjab province since Monday to arrest him for failing to show as much as courtroom on corruption prices, however they retreated on Wednesday afternoon following courtroom orders to droop the operation till the subsequent day.

Earlier than entering into politics, Khan’s recognition was primarily based on his illustrious cricket profession, which ended after he led Pakistan to its solely Worldwide Cricket Council (ICC) Males’s World Cup title in 1992.

A senior police official instructed Al Jazeera earlier on Wednesday that forces deployed exterior the cricketer-turned-politician’s home had been withdrawing so as to permit the knockout matches of the Pakistan Tremendous League (PSL) cricket match to be performed as scheduled.

“Because the groups have to achieve the stadium a number of hours earlier than the match and the routes have to be cleared out, the safety personnel at Zaman Park have stepped again for a short time,” mentioned the official, who didn’t wish to reveal his title.

Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium, which is internet hosting a PSL match between the Lahore Qalandars and the Multan Sultans on Wednesday night, is 9km (5.6 miles) from Khan’s residence in Zaman Park.

Cricket followers in Pakistan took to social media to precise their delight when PSL confirmed that Wednesday’s match can be performed as deliberate.

“There’s nothing to fret about, PSL 2023 can be performed as per schedule. The police & all different safety forces round Zaman Park have stepped again from the operation to arrest Imran Khan on account of PSL 8 playoffs completion in Gaddafi Stadium Lahore,” one Twitter person mentioned.

Cricket is the most well-liked sport in Pakistan and the PSL is its premier home cricket competitors, which additionally attracts worldwide cricketers to the nation. Nonetheless, the PSL was performed within the United Arab Emirates from 2015 to 2019 on account of safety considerations in Pakistan.

The sport’s administration has been traditionally embroiled in politics as the highest posts of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) bear a change with each successive regime change within the nation.

Present PCB Chairman Najam Sethi is one among Khan’s fiercest rivals and was appointed by the present authorities after Khan was deposed from the nation’s helm.

Earlier this week, Khan introduced a public gathering at Lahore’s Minar-e-Pakistan monument on March 19, the identical day because the PSL last.

Sethi has publicly requested the Punjab province’s chief minister to make sure safety for the match’s last.

“@MohsinnaqviC42 HBLPSL8 multi million greenback Last on 19 March can be performed earlier than 25k individuals at Gadafi Stadium & 100 m throughout the globe,” he wrote on Twitter. “That is Pakistan’s best showcase. Punjab govt should guarantee failsafe safety & clean site visitors circulation to facilitate individuals’s entry to stadium.”

As per the courtroom’s order issued earlier on Wednesday, the operation to arrest Khan can be halted till 10am on Thursday (05:00 GMT), practically 12 hours after the PSL match in Lahore.

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