LAHORE - Punjab Interior Minister Col (R) Shujah Khanzada has said that the upcoming Zimbabwe cricket series will be tranquil and oraganised in a successful way.

Talking to the reporters here at National Hockey Stadium (NHS) Sunday, Khanzada said: “By organising the Zimbabwe series in a peaceful and successful way, we will be able to send a positive message to the entire world that Pakistan is a safe and peaceful country and is able to host every kind of international sports activity.”

The minister said it was a great opportunity to improve the country’s image. “We don’t want to waste this golden opportunity. After this series, the sports teams from other countries will also take inspiration from Zimbabwe cricket team which would certainly be a significant success for us,” he added. To a query, the minister replied: “Pakistan has been passing through a tough time but we are quite firm to rebuild our image as a peaceful country.”

Punjab Minister for Sports and Education Rana Mashhood Ahmed Khan has urged the Pakistan sports lovers to welcome the guest team cordially and affably and show them our hospitality and real image in a best possible manner.”

Replying to a query, Mashhood said that all the departments and forces were on one page in this crucial time. “It’s time to show our performance, unity and commitment,” he said. “A record number of tickets have been sold and we are quite buoyant that the Gaddafi Stadium will be full of cricket enthusiasts during this historic series,” he added.

He said it’s not the first occasion for the country to hold an international sports event. “In the recent past, we have organised Punjab Youth Festival events quite lucratively so we are pretty confident of successfully holding this international cricket series against Zimbabwe after a gap of six years,” he concluded.

Earlier in a high-profile meeting, Punjab Interior Minister Col (R) Shujah Khanzada, Sports Minister Rana Mashhood, top security officials and bureaucrats reviewed the security and administrative arrangements of the upcoming Pakistan-Zimbabwe cricket series scheduled to begin on May 22.

The participants discussed the security measures, traffic plan, VIP and general public routes, parking and general administrative arrangements thoroughly during the meeting. The participants of the meeting unanimously agreed that top level security and administrative measures will be made for the guest team.

Police also conducted a dress rehearsal of security arrangements. The Zimbabwean team has been promised security similar to that offered a head of state, with 6,000 officers involved.