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“Tensions mount between PCB and Punjab government over PSL security costs”

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The fate of Pakistan Super League (PSL) matches scheduled to be held in Lahore and Rawalpindi remains undecided due to a deadlock between the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and the Punjab government. The Punjab government has demanded Rs450 million from the PCB for security arrangements in Lahore and Rawalpindi for the matches. However, the PCB has refused to pay more than the Rs50 million that has already been paid for providing food to the security officials during the matches.

The PCB is wary that paying such a huge amount would set a precedent for the future, and the government would ask for it in every international series. The issue has not been resolved, and the specter of matches being shifted to Karachi remains. Lahore, Rawalpindi, and Multan, which have already hosted their quota of five matches, were allotted 28 out of 37 games of the eighth PSL season.

During the meeting between the PCB chairman and the Punjab government, the PCB reminded the government that when international cricket resumed in Pakistan, the federal and provincial governments had taken the responsibility of providing security during the matches in their respective jurisdictions, and they were bound to fulfill that commitment. The PCB also informed the delegation that the Punjab government would earn Rs700 million from the different provincial taxes from the PSL matches.

Sources in the Punjab government stated that the PCB “has been asked to contribute and rationalize the cost being estimated at Rs1.25 billion that includes Rs800 million just to light up the routes from the team hotels to the stadiums in Lahore and Rawalpindi.” The Punjab government suggested the PCB use Rs250 million to purchase lights that would become an asset along with a warranty of 10 years. However, a PCB official said there was no link between the lights and the budget as it had always been done by the provincial government in the past.

The Punjab government maintains that it has its limitations and cannot afford to spend Rs500-800 million on holding matches of the PSL. The government argues that “an elected government could spare and spend budget, but this was not possible for the caretaker setup.” Punjab information minister Amir Mir agreed that there was a standoff between the PCB and the government.

The deadlock over the payment for security arrangements for the PSL matches in Lahore and Rawalpindi has led to uncertainty about the fate of these matches. The PCB has refused to pay more than the amount that has already been paid, while the Punjab government has demanded a much higher amount. The government has suggested the PCB use Rs250 million to purchase lights that would become an asset, but the PCB is unconvinced. The standoff has not been resolved, and it remains to be seen whether the PSL matches in Lahore and Rawalpindi will go ahead as planned or whether they will be shifted to Karachi.

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