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Lahore prepares for PSL final amid high security

Lahore Prepares For PSL Final Amid High Security The Gaddafi Stadium will host the final of the second season of the PSL on March 5 AFP

Over the last fortnight the security presence in Lahore has increased significantly, after a spate of bombings rocked Pakistan’s second largest city and other parts of the country too in February . The Gaddafi Stadium, situated in the Nishtar sports complex, has been off limits to the general public over the last three days . On March 5, however, it won’t be.

An estimated 18,000 tickets have already been sold for the PSL final between Peshawar Zalmi and Quetta Gladiators – a full house is expected on Sunday – as the PCB attempts to bring high-profile cricket involving some overseas players back to Pakistan.

Though the PSL had maintained from the start that this year’s final would be held in Pakistan, the bombings over the last month had caused uncertainty .

At least 13 people were killed and more than 80 injured in a blast near the Punjab assembly in Lahore on February 13, while more than 80 died after a bomb went off at a shrine in the Sindh province on February 16.

To safeguard the PSL final, over 10,000 security personnel have been deployed, including Punjab police, and Pakistan’s paramilitary force – Rangers . The Nishtar Park compound has been protected by huge metal gates, and spectators will be able to enter the Gaddafi Stadium only after three layers of security checks, some of which take place at a two-kilometre protective perimeter around the venue . The first layer of checks – after the five areas marked for parking – can be passed only after verification of the person’s original national identity card.

The entire complex has also been set up with a new range of scanners, high definition facial-recognition CCTV systems, and police control centres . No public vehicle is allowed within a kilometre of the sports complex, and entry will be on foot from Liberty roundabout and Ferozpur Road, through extensive security layers . Surrounding roads connected to the complex will be closed for traffic and alternative routes have been given by the Lahore traffic police.

A makeshift hospital facility has also been built within the hockey stadium adjacent to the cricket stadium in case of emergency . The opening ceremony is scheduled for 6pm and the match for 8pm.

“The entire city will function normally, and there will be less inconvenience, but for the sake of the people’s safety we have to have a tight security programme in place,” Rana Sana Ullah, the Punjab law minister, told reporters at Gaddafi Stadium.

A rehearsal of the security drills was also carried out between the airport and the teams’ hotel on Mall Road, and from the hotel to the stadium, using the PCB’s bullet-proof buses . All these arrangements are being presented to foreign security advisors in a bid to inform other cricket-playing countries about the measures put in place by the PCB.

The uncertainty over which foreign players will turn out1 for Peshawar and Quetta in the final is almost at an end, with the teams being asked to make up the numbers by choosing for a pool of foreign cricketers who are willing to play in Lahore . Quetta’s Kevin Pietersen, Luke Wright, Tymal Mills and Rilee Rossouw have already pulled out of the final2, but Peshawar’s four overseas players are likely to travel to Lahore . It is believed that the foreign players will be offered separate payments – some as high as $50,000 – for playing in Pakistan.

The origin of this present phase of security concerns over playing international cricket in Pakistan dates back to the attack on the Sri Lankan team3 in Lahore in March 2009 .

Pakistan have been forced to play their home matches at offshore venues – primarily in the UAE – ever since.

Zimbabwe agreed to tour Pakistan4 for a limited-overs series in 2015, but even with extensive security measures in place for that visit there was a bomb attack during the second ODI5 . The blast occurred at the first checkpoint about 800 metres away from the stadium, killing two people, including a sub-inspector . Zimbabwe stayed on to finish the series, but the tour did not lead to a change in perception of the security conditions in Pakistan.

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo’s Pakistan correspondent

ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

References

  1. ^ uncertainty over which foreign players will turn out (www.espncricinfo.com)
  2. ^ already pulled out of the final (www.espncricinfo.com)
  3. ^ attack on the Sri Lankan team (www.espncricinfo.com)
  4. ^ agreed to tour Pakistan (www.espncricinfo.com)
  5. ^ bomb attack during the second ODI (www.espncricinfo.com)

Improved security measures demanded at vandal-hit Fife school

Improved security measures at a vandal-hit Fife school should be discussed as a matter of urgency, according to local parents. Pitcoudie Primary School in Glenrothes has been targeted by vandals and thieves in the past month, with police currently probing the theft of nine laptop computers with an estimated value of more than 8,000. The break-in by two hooded men on November 20 came just days after the school s community garden was targeted by local youths.

Planters and two benches including a memorial to pupil Logan Carrie, who was killed crossing the A92 last year, were destroyed. Fed up mums and dads have now had enough of seeing their youngsters come home heartbroken and have demanded firm action. Councillor Fiona Grant said: Members of the public tell me that several suggestions for improved security were vetoed on human rights grounds or expense.

I will be pressing Fife Council to prioritise the rights of innocent school children not to see their garden space or memorial area vandalised over the rights of a member of the public who chooses to walk through school grounds.

As for expense, repairing damage and replacing items costs anyway, improved security should be considered spend to save.

I look forward to working with the school community, police and council staff to better protect the school.

Local MSP Jenny Gilruth said she was saddened and appalled to hear what had happened.

I have made contact with the school itself to express my sympathies and I have also been liaising with Police Scotland, she said.

I would urge anyone in my constituency who has any information to come forward and inform the police immediately so that the culprits can be caught. Local woman Alison McIntyre, 46, whose youngest son Ronnie, 7, is in primary 3 at Pitcoudie said: I think there needs to be some sort of meeting to sort out the security.

There is CCTV there but they are saying it s rubbish and it s really grainy, so why can t they upgrade it ? What s the point in having it then?

I ve heard about the human rights argument but if these people are breaking into a primary school they need to be held responsible for their actions and feel ashamed.

Neil Finnie, Fife Council s senior compliance officer, said: Fife Council takes the issue of vandalism in our schools extremely seriously, as it can cause real disruption in our school communities.

We are already looking at what next steps to take in response to the recent vandalism at Pitcoudie, including measures to prevent future incidents wherever possible.

Fife Council continues to work with the school community, parents and police to better protect the school and we are examining appropriate crime prevention tactics.

Vandalism to any of our schools is completely unacceptable and it is very disappointing for pupils and the local community.

We urge anyone who sees any untoward activity to contact Police Scotland.

Gunman situation

BobBanerjee

When shots are fired the instinct for the majority of us without years of military or police training is to panic, writes Bob Banerjee, pictured, Senior Director, Global Training and Knowledge at Qognify. The decision to run or hide can be the difference between life and death. In our society these situations are thankfully rare, but at this time we are all of course highly sensitive to the fact that they do happen.

I recently spent some time with the ALiCE Training Institute, an organisation that was set up in the US to help improve the chance of survival in active shooter situations, by providing proactive advice and training to schools, corporations and government organisations. Recently, there has been a shift in the recommendations ALiCE makes when faced with this rare, but potential situation. Whereas hiding was once advocated as an effective survival strategy, it is now recommended that a person in this horrifying situation run away or evacuate.

This shift is the result of a disturbing trend that shooters have become much more efficient in reaching their goal of maximising casualties. The Sandy Hook and Columbine tragedies in the US spanned six minutes. Historically, a shooter would ve spent 90 minutes to get a similar causality count. In addition, most victims of an active shooting are shot at point blank range, while hiding under a desk or crouching in a corner by a low-skilled shooter. Knowing this makes running away a more effective survival strategy. Throughout the day it struck me how the advice the advice ALiCE provides to individuals (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate) could also have huge value in helping security professionals charged with operating systems that are in place to help detect and manage such an incident, to plan for such an eventuality. Here are some examples of how that might work:

Alert

Nothing makes people aware about unfolding situations as efficiently as situation management technology. By continuously monitoring sensors such as gun-shot detection and panic alarms, once triggered, it automatically notifies all relevant stakeholders, including first responders.

Lockdown

While lockdowns are no longer considered the default response, in some situations they are necessary. In the event that one is necessary, a situation management solution that is integrated with access control systems would enable an automatic and instantaneous lockdown.

Inform

Keeping responders updated with real-time information is critical. Situation management solutions can provide a gunman s location and description, while mass notification and inter-agency messaging capabilities effectively disseminate these important details. Additionally, video surveillance and analytics can be key in providing real-time information.

Counter

In most cases, it is the gunman that ends the incident, which is accelerated when he believes the police are on to him. So instead of waiting for the police to arrive and speak to him over the PA, an automated message could be played giving the same impression, ending the incident faster and reducing his accuracy via the distraction.

Evacuate

Although it is the last letter in ALiCE, it is the primary strategy and based on the premise that you can t be killed if you are not there. With location-addressable PA systems, specific guidance can be given. This would be governed by embedded SOPs in the situation management platform and common sense from its operator.