NEW YORK: (APP) American print and electronic media carried reports of the Pakistan Super League final in Lahore on Sunday, highlighting the presence of thousands of enthusiastic cricket fans despite lingering security concerns.
"Given security fears, the Pakistan Super League games have been played in the United Arab Emirates, and the decision to host the final match of the series in Lahore became a polarizing issue as some politicians opposed the idea,"
The New York Times correspondent, Salman Masood, wrote.
"Concerns for the safety of players and fans on Sunday were high. Last month, Pakistan staggered through a series of deadly suicide bombings, and threats of future attacks have left widespread anxiety. An attack on a Sufi shrine alone killed more than 80 people.
"But Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the Pakistan Army chief, Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa, decided to go forward with the final match in Lahore, seeing it as an opportunity to bring cricket with international players back to the country," the dispatch said.
"At least 8,000 police officers and soldiers provided security at the Sunday match. Enthusiastic spectators lined up hours ahead of the event to get through security cordons. Inside the stadium, the atmosphere was electric, even carnival-like."
The media also featured a statement by Darren Sammy, who captained the winning team Peshawar Zalmi, which he made before the elated crowd.
"The atmosphere was great. This win means a lot," Sammy said during the presentation ceremony.
"It was a great experience being in Lahore. I thank the supporters and Pakistan."
Meanwhile, Michael Kugelman, an American expert on South Asia at the Woodrow Wilson Center, who often criticizes Pakistan's policies, said in a tweet, "I've been an analyst of #Pakistan for 10 years. I can't recall witnessing such pure euphoria & patriotism. A great scene!"