Shahryar Khan and other PCB officials are said to be in touch with the Pakistan Government about the blast outside Gaddafi Stadium © Getty Images
Shahryar Khan and other PCB officials are said to be in touch with the Pakistan Government about the blast outside Gaddafi Stadium © Getty Images

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) hierarchy is not happy with the timing of the disclosure made by Federal Minister for Information, Pervez Rasheed about an alleged foiled suicide bomb attack near the Gaddafi stadium in Lahore on Friday night. READ: Pakistan vs Zimbabwe 2015: Blast near Gaddafi Stadium injures four

Rasheed told Geo News channel that due to the bravery and vigilance of the policemen on duty the suicide bomber failed to penetrate the security cordon around the stadium where the second One-Day International (ODI) was taking place between Pakistan and Zimbabwe. According to the minister, the attempted attack was foiled outside the outer security cordon and a kilometer away from the stadium.

He said the blast killed two persons including a police official. Rasheed’s disclosure caused embarrassment for not only the PCB but also the senior police officials who after the blasts had said they occurred due to an explosion in a power transformer close to the stadium. READ: Zim to continue Pak tour despite terror attack outside Gadaffi Stadium during 2nd ODI

Later a police spokesman said the blast occurred due to an explosion of a gas cylinder of a rickshaw near Kalma chowk. He said originally it was thought that the rickshaw had explosives fitted in it but investigations had shown it was a gas cylinder blast. The Pakistani media also perhaps realizing the sensitivity of the moment didn’t give much coverage to the incident and played up the police version until Rasheed spoke about it.

“It is so embarrassing and we fear now that all the hard work we put into making this tour possible could go waste. As the timing of the minister’s statement was not right we wanted to talk about it after the Zimbabwe cricket team returned home on Monday,” a reliable source in the board said.

He said PCB Chairman, Shaharyar Khan and senior member Najam Sethi had both been in touch with government officials on the incident that continued to cause confusion as the police till late night were sticking to their version of the blasts. READ: Pak vs Zim 2015, 3rd ODI at Lahore, Preview: Brave visitors aim to break winless streak

The PCB after much difficulty had managed to convince the Zimbabwe cricket team to tour Pakistan. They are the first test side to come to the country since 2009. “The Chairman had a long talk with the Zimbabwe team management and assured them everything was under control and the security being provided to them was top notch,” the source said.

The Zimbabwe management announced it would continue with the tour and play the third and final one-dayer on schedule tomorrow. But the source said after the incident, security had been further stepped up with around 4,000 policemen guarding the stadium itself, and a further 2,000 along the route from the Zimbabwe team hotel to the venue. READ: Pakistan seal series by beating Zimbabwe comprehensively in second ODI at Lahore

A PCB spokesman confirmed to PTI today that after the blast steps were taken not to cause panic among the people last night. “The blasts were heard and word spread around but the people who came to watch the match remained orderly and there was no incident,” Agha Akbar said.

“The main thing is that the Zimbabwe team is continuing the tour and will play the last ODI as planned on Sunday,” he said.

Akbar said the tickets for the match were sold out as were the first four games of the tour. “They were scheduled to go shopping today which they did and the foreign broadcasters including some Indians showed remarkable spirit,” he said. READ: Wasim Akram credits PCB for Pakistan vs Zimbabwe series