LAHORE: The security system installed to safeguard Zimbabwe in Lahore surpasses the protocol given to even the president and prime minister of Pakistan, revealed Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Senior General Manager Vigilance Muhammad Azam Khan.
The country has ensured watertight security for the touring party, given that this is the first home series in more than six years following the attack on the Sri Lanka team in 2009.
“This is the best security mechanism installed for Zimbabwe, the kind which is not even provided to our president or prime minister,” Azam told The Express Tribune on the sidelines of first ODI at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore.
“Throughout the day, all Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) are involved in making sure nothing goes wrong. This is not only the case at the hotel or the stadium, but the entire city is under high alert. We don’t want any incident to occur which will take us back to square one.”
According to the official, the low-profile tour of Kenya was the acid test for the LEAs and once it proved successful, everyone was confident of claiming that the best security arrangements would be made for foreign teams who wanted to visit Pakistan.
However, it has not been a straightforward move to deploy such a heavy security contingent and several lengthy meetings were required to convince stakeholders within Pakistan that it would be safe to host a full Test-playing nation.
“We went through different stages to decide on the security and coordination of the tour,” said Azam. “The chief minister and interior minister remained central to the many marathon sessions till proper coordinated plans were agreed upon between security agencies. Even before sending out an invitation to Zimbabwe, we carried out a threat assessment to ensure everything was in the all-clear.”
Azam added that during the entire process, all prime intelligence agencies in the country were taken on board to get their approval before giving the final go ahead for the series. “To be honest, we’ve gone through sleepless nights and it will remain the case until Zimbabwe leaves safely but I’m happy with it because that’s our duty.”
Published in The Express Tribune, May 27th, 2015.