Pakistan ready to welcome top cricketing countries next year

Pakistan ready to welcome top cricketing countries next year

Pakistan hasn’t hosted any home test matches for nearly a decade due to a terrorist attack on a rival team’s bus in 2009. Recently, the government has said it is ready now to welcome top cricketing nations such as South Africa, England, West Indies, and New Zealand in 2021.

Chief executive of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), Wasim Khan, said that they’re working hard to build and nurture relationships with other cricket boards.

South Africa is scheduled to visit Pakistan in a two-test series, which is part of world test championship in January, 2021.

New Zealand is planned for five Twenty20s and three ODIs in September, followed by two Twenty20s against England, which will be England’s first tour to Pakistan since 2005.

The PCB has also scheduled a home series against West Indies in December.

After the 2009 terrorist attack, test cricket only came back to Pakistan late last year as Sri Lanka played two five-day games at Karachi and Rawalpindi and Bangladesh also played a test match before their second test was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In between the Zimbabwe and Bangladesh tours, the Pakistan Super League – a domestic Twenty20 league – presses Pakistan’s claims to host international games.

There were some big players who toured Pakistan and played for various city-based franchise teams, including Australia’s Shane Watson and South Africa’s Dale Steyn and Faf du Plessis. Wasim Khan believes these players had a key role in capturing Pakistan’s improving image among cricket-playing nations all over the world.

It is quite normal in Pakistan that cricket team buses heavily guarded by armed personnel whenever abroad contingents travel to the stadium from hotels to ensure tight security. That often blocks heavy traffic on major roads of big cities such as Lahore and Karachi.

Khan said that they would continue to provide state-level security as long as possible.

Pakistan Church condemns violence against minorities

Pakistan Church condemns violence against minorities

The National Commission for Justice and Peace of the Pakistan Catholic Bishops’ Conference releases a statement after the death of a Christian in a brutal attack.

The Catholic Church of Pakistan has denounced the religious discrimination and intolerance against the country’s minorities that go on even amid the hardships of Covid-19 pandemic and its restrictions.

The National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP) of the Pakistan Catholic Bishops’ Conference (PCBC) announced a statement to show its concern and sent a copy of the statement to the Vatican’s Fides news agency.

NCJP – “violation of human rights”

A joint statement by NCJP chairman, national director Fr. Emmanuel Yousaf, executive director Cecil Chaudhry, and Archbishop Joseph Arshad Bishop of Islamabad-Rawalpindi called on law enforcement agencies to do anything possible to bring the culprit to justice.  The NCJP called it a “clear violation of human rights” and said that it is an act against the law which cannot go unpunished. 

Police arrested some members of Salman Khan’s family who are thought to be behind the murder.

The NCJP urged protection for Nadeem’s family that is facing difficulty and danger of reprisal.

Intolerance and discrimination continue

The Commission of Pakistan’s Catholic bishops showed regret that society has become intolerant and life has become more and more difficult for minority communities.

The NCJP noted many cases go unreported, saying that religious minorities keeps facing discrimination as part of their daily lives. For example, it cited the denial of relief material and food aid to non-Muslims during the lockdown and the lack of safety equipment to health workers who are fighting the pandemic. 

Moreover, the Commission pointed to the recent episode in Islamabad in which some extremist Muslims destroyed the building of a Hindu temple.  Fr. Yousaf said that the incident reflects the lack of acceptance of religious minorities who have been a part of the country. He added such acts go against Article 20 of the Constitution, which allows religious minorities to manage their own religious institutions and profess their faith.