July 05, 2017

Bouncers not tolerable: PM

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, while expressing his pleasure over Pakistan cricket team’s marvels during the ICC Champions Trophy, said due to the policies of the PML-N government, Pakistan now enjoyed the status of a fast developing country among the comity of nations.

The prime minister was addressing a reception hosted by him to welcome the Pakistan cricket team triumphant at the ICC Champions Trophy at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) on Tuesday. He expressed the hope that the team would continue to put up its form in future.

The prime minister lauded the performance of the national team and addressed them as ‘leaders, heroes and the prime minister of the country.’ He said they only held titles but the players like them were the real heroes who had made the nation proud. “Like the whole nation, I have the same desire to meet you,” he added.

The premier said when he used to play cricket, he would not tolerate too many bouncers and would send them for fours and sixes whenever he got the chance and sometimes was caught at the boundary.

The prime minister Nawaz also ridiculed the PanamaLeaks and JIT inquiry by narrating a decades old incident when he used to live in downtown Lahore and his cricket team was thrown out of the ground by the students of the institute where the match was being played since theground belonged to that institute. “Even today, I feel the pain of that subversion more than what PanamaLeaks could have given to me and the JIT is inflicting,” he said amid laughter in a lighter tone.

The prime minister also praised PCB Chairman Shaheryar Khan by narrating his long time acquaintance. He thanked the PCB chairman for apprising the gathering about his performance in a friendly match held in Harare, Zimbabwe, in 1990 during the Commonwealth summit. “I scored 36 runs and remained not out by hitting boundaries in a friendly match played by UK premier and Maldives president, besides other heads of state,” he added.

During his address Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said that Pakistan could overtake developed world in growth and prosperity if stability and continuity was ensured for next decade. He said the country has started the march at faster pace on the path of progress and development as the result of the efforts of the incumbent government.

He maintained that due to the policies of Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) government, Pakistan now enjoyed the status of a fast developing country among the comity of nations. He recalled that when the PML-N came to power in 2013, the country was at the brink of default and some people were apprehensive that it could default within six months while power shortages and terrorism were plaguing the people. But Pakistan embarked upon a journey of progress and prosperity with several development initiatives taken by his government, boosting its power, energy and infrastructure sectors, he added.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was in upbeat dispensation and enjoyed the ceremony for about three hours in a relaxed manner. His speech was punctuated with profuse clapping time and again on his cracking jokes and lighter sentences. The premier assured the people that his government would continue patronage of sports in the country.

Earlier, the Pakistan team led by skipper Sarfraz Ahmed was introduced to the prime minister. The team was warmly received by federal ministers Professor Ahsan Iqbal, Senator Muhammad Ishaq Dar, Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Marriyum Aurangzeb, Abid Sher Ali, and Adviser to the Prime Minister Irfan Siddiqui and others on arrival at the PMO. Leader of the House in Senate Raja Muhammad Zafarul Haq, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafique, federal cabinet members and a number of parliamentarians were also present on the occasion.

The reception was attended by Pakistan Cricket Board Chairman Sheheryar Khan, Executive Committee Chairman Najam Sethi, Chief Selector Inzimamul Haq and former national cricket stars.

The prime minister said that the power sector was now witnessing an unprecedented boom with the establishment of new power plants. Similarly, a vast network of roads and motorways was being laid, he said, mentioning the Lahore to Karachi motorway and six-lane Hyderabad-Sukkar-Multan-Lahore motorway.

He said Gwadar and Khunjerab were also being linked through roads at the cost of about 1,000 billion rupees. The country’s growth rate was on the surge, which would soon touch the mark of 6 percent, he added.

The prime minister said the backbone of terrorists had been broken and informed the gathering that he was told by the Azad Kashmir prime minister and the Gilgit-Baltistan chief minister about the influx of visitors thronging the scenic valleys. He said such a phenomenon was being observed during the last few months as visitors were arriving in Neelum and Leepa valleys and Khunjerab Pass. He said such prospects were also infusing new spirit into the sports activities in the country.

The prime minister said Pakistan had its self respect and advised Najam Sethi not to beg any foreign team to come and play here.

Expressing his confidence, he said time was not far off when all the international cricket teams would line up to play with Pakistan team at its homeland. He asked the cricket authorities not to beg any country for playing match in Pakistan since we are self-respecting nation. “But whosoever comes here for playing we must welcome them wholeheartedly,” he said.

The PM recounted his childhood memories regarding the cricket game and the tips which were given to him for improving his batting. He said scarcity of playgrounds was the main issue, which were usually occupied by teams of grown-up people. He assured that playgrounds with allied facilities would be constructed at all the union councils to offer facilities to the young budding players.

The prime minister announced to decorate all the players and four senior cricketers Inzimamul Haq, Younis Khan, Misbahul Haq and Shahid Afridi with Pride of Performance. He gave away Rs10 million each to members of the team including Muhammad Azhar Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Muhammad Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Muhammad Hafeez, Sarfraz Ahmad, Shadab Khan, Syed Amad Waseem, Muhammad Aamir, Muhammad Junaid Khan, Hasan Ali, Ahmad Shahzad, Haris Sohail, Roman Raees, Wahab Riaz and Faheem Ashraf.

Chief Selector Inzamamul Haq was given Rs10 million while bowling coach Azhar Mahmood was given Rs5 million, team manager Talat Mahmood, Media Manager Raza Rasheed, Social Media Manager Aun Muhammad Zaidi, in-charge tour operations Shahid Aslam, cricket analyst Muhammad Talha Ejaz and Security Manager Azhar Arif were given rupees twenty five hundred thousand, Director Media Amjad Hussain, Selector Wajahat ullah Wasti, GM International Usman Wahla, Selector Tauseef Ahmad and Selector Waseem Ahmad were given rupees one million each. Head coach John Michael Arthur, Fielding Coach Grant Trafford Luden, Batting Coach Grant William Flower and Fielding Coach Stephen John Rixon were given rupees five million each, physical therapists Shane Andrew Hayes and Masseur, Donald Dave Albert were given rupees twenty five hundred thousand each.


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