Vol. 4 Num 113 Tue. September 16, 2003  

Heavy security for 4th ODI

About 1,000 policemen including those in riot gear, on horseback and others in plain clothes are to be deployed for Thursday's fourth one-day international between Pakistan and Bangladesh at the Rawalpindi Stadium.

Rawalpindi police officials said on Sunday that personnel from the elite force will also be on hand to ensure that no untoward incident occurs in and around the stadium.

"We are treating the match as a dress-rehearsal for the South Africa game that takes place at the same venue later in the month," one police official, who requested not to be identified told Dawn on Sunday.

South Africa, who arrive in Pakistan for a three-Test series that also includes as many one-dayers are scheduled to play an International in Rawalpindi on September 29.

"But for now we are concentrating fully on the Bangladesh match for which we have made fool-proof arrangements."

High-tech security equipment is being installed, including 10 walk-through gates and surveillance cameras, officials said. There will also be handy metal detectors, vehicle search mirrors, 30 security guards and 20 surveillance guards.

The surveillance system helped identify spectators who threw bottles on to the pitch during a Pakistan- India hockey match in 1998 in Rawalpindi, has been of great help to the police and the organisers.

"They have previously provided their equipment for cricket matches against England, Australia and New Zealand," officials said.

Meanwhile, match organisers have announced that entry into the road leading up to the stadium would be permitted only to those having tickets which go on sale from Tuesday.

Rawalpindi does not enjoy a good reputation when it comes to holding cricket matches. In 1992, the first ever game staged at Rawalpindi Stadium between Pakistan and Sri Lanka was marred by crowd trouble that prompted the police to use tear gas.

Similarly the same happened in a match against England while the last time when New Zealand toured in May 2002, there were again unruly scenes outside the venue.

But the organisers claim they are determined this time not to let that happen again as they bid to salvage Rawalpindi's reputation of being a trouble spot.