Politicians appreciate World XI tour across political chasm

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–PTI toes the line, avoid ‘phateechar’ repeat

LAHORE: With the successful conclusion of the three-game T-20 series between Pakistan and the visiting World XI team this Friday, a number of prominent people have come out to support the efforts of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and congratulate the nation over the return of cricket to the country.

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) seems to have warmed to the idea of international cricket returning to the country, even if it is under the administration of their political enemies. Whether it’s because Imran Khan genuinely couldn’t call the World XI ‘phateechar’ as he did to the foreign players playing the PSL final earlier this year, or due to the backlash the PTI chairman faced over it, it was refreshing.

PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi was quick to tweet out a statement saying “Congratulations Team Pakistan on winning Independence Cup against World XI. Great to see International Cricket returning to Pakistan.”

And while he always tries to maintain being non-aligned, the PTI’s posterboy Hamza Ali Abbasi also appreciated the efforts of the PCB, going so far as to give credit to Najam Sethi, who the PTI is otherwise at odds with.

“One step closer to bring back int’l cricket to Pakistan. Thank you security forces, Najam Sethi & PCB. Let’s unite to celebrate. Mubarik Pakistan” the actor tweeted.

The statements are a refreshing change considering how politicised the PSL final had become earlier this year. And while a number of citizens have complained about the lackluster contingency arrangements in the City for commuters, politicians and the people seem united in their joy over the return of cricket to Pakistan.

Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif also lauded the successful conclusion of the t20 series, thanking all the relevant government authorities, the players, and the spectators.

“Pleasure hosting World XI in Lahore. Greatly appreciate all spectators & govt departments that contributed to successful conduct of this series,” he said in a social media statement.

Praise also came from the PPP’s Naz Baloch who tweeted “Cricket and peace won, defeating the fear of terrorism. Congrats team Pakistan! Thanks @ICC, World XI players, for reviving Int’l cricket in Pak.”

Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah was a little more critical, not explicitly saying anything against the tournament but expressing his dissatisfaction that no matches were being played in Karachi, where he thinks the security situation is better than Lahore.

However, it is hoped that the CM will be sated some if the idea to host the final of PSL 3 in Karachi goes according to plan.