After many years of isolation by international cricket teams due to chaotic situation in Pakistan, cricket has made a return. One must appreciate and commend the courage of Zimbabwean cricket board for taking such a step. It’s a time when even journalists have second thoughts of coming to Pakistan but a squad with team staff from Zimbabwe coming to play takes courage to a whole different level.
Pakistan has made high security arrangements for the safety of the team. Knowing the loopholes during the turbulent Sri Lankan team attack back in March 2009. The Pakistan board has made sure nothing untoward happens this time.
But a low-intensity explosion recently in Lahore which killed a policeman after suicide bombers were spotted has shaken the spirit a little. But Zimbabweans have not backed out yet.
In Pakistan, Azad Kashmir – the autonomous territory under Pakistan’s control is a very peaceful place. With almost no terror-related incidents and relative safety than Pakistan, it is secure from the scourge of violence. With picturesque valleys (half of the Paradise on Earth) and historical places. It’s important to get it on the tourist map. There can be no bigger opportunity than hosting an international cricket team in Azad Kashmir.
I mean how can the PCB not host cricket at such breathtaking stadiums? A little touch up and it will be truly world class.
There are many advantages to this initiative if taken up by the higher authorities. One, it will help in stablishing tourist economy and opening up Azad Kashmir to the world. That will greatly benefit the local economy and boost employment prospects. Plus it will also allow smooth hoisting of international cricket matches for Pakistan in Kashmir. In turn creating infrastructure for Kashmiris in Azad Kashmir.
PCB had recently included Azad Kashmir Cricket Association in its first class system. International matches should now come to AJK. Moreover, Kashmiris are diehard fans of the Pakistani cricket team on the both sides of the line. It will also expose them to the glamour and glitz of Pakistan cricket in real time. At the end of the day benefiting Pakistan cricket and the local Kashmir economy as well.