1971: As chaos erupted in Dhaka, one Pakistani cameraman was there to capture it all

Roquibul Hassan batting against the touring International Eleven on 26th February, 1971 with the ‘Joy Bangla ‘sticker on his bat. (Photo: Collected)
Short Url
Updated 05 March 2021

1971: As chaos erupted in Dhaka, one Pakistani cameraman was there to capture it all

  • A cricket match between Pakistan and World XI turned violent after a National Assembly session in Dhaka was called off, unleashing protests
  • The incident took place after the country held its first general election in December 1970 that was won by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s Awami League party 

KARACHI: Fifty years ago, Akbar Hussain walked into Dhaka Cricket Stadium with his Bell and Howell camera to film a four-day test match between Pakistan and World XI.
The crowd was cheering, and everyone looked excited. But then the mood suddenly changed and the match was called off amid violence as two prominent Pakistani cricketers, Wasim Bari and Sarfraz Nawaz, were trying to build a partnership.
“I was not sure what was happening,” Hussain told Arab News, speaking about the incident that took place on March 1, 1971.
Just months ago, Pakistan had held its first general elections, in December 1970, which were won by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s Awami League party.
Passions were still running high, though things otherwise looked normal to Hussain who could not figure out why everyone around him had become so furious.
“They set tents on fire and started pelting stones at players who rushed to the dressing room to save their lives,” he said. “Several shops were burnt outside the stadium as rioting continued.”
Hussain, who at the time worked as a cameraman with the Dhaka television station before moving to Karachi in 1973, later discovered that the provocation was caused by a radio broadcast about the cancelation of a National Assembly session scheduled in Dhaka. Crowds of people came out in the streets of Dhaka in protest and stores and business centers in the city closed down. The cricket match being held in Dhaka stadium between BCCP and International XI was suspended as audiences left to take part in the protests.




Akbar Hussain, a former cameraman of Dhaka TV, speaks to Arab News at his residence in Karachi, Pakistan, on February 28, 2021. (AN Photo) 

Ghulam Mujtaba, a former banker who was also among the audience, said it was “total chaos.”
“The stadium where people were rooting for their favorite players a little while ago was now on fire,” he told Arab News. “The news bulletin had turned the sporting arena into a battlefield after the radio announcement spread like a wildfire among people.”
Intikhab Alam, the skipper of the Pakistan team that came under attack, recollected the “horrible story” while talking to Arab News, saying he had just returned to the pavilion when the rioting began.
“The World XI was fielding, so its players ran to take refuge,” he said. “Some of them went to their dressing room, others came to ours. For about two hours, we could not get out of the stadium.”

The foreign cricketers reached the Intercontinental Hotel where they were staying. Things were difficult for Pakistani players, however, since their accommodation was a little removed from the stadium and they had to temporarily stay at a nearby guest house.
“The phone lines were dead,” Alam recalled. “Our team remained there until midnight and reached the hotel at 1.”
The former Pakistani skipper added that World XI was lucky to board an empty PIA flight departing for Lahore.
“We got stuck and could not go out of our hotel,” he added.
The situation lasted several days until necessary arrangements were made to ensure the safe movement of local cricketers.
“Our jeep was escorted by a police truck that took us to the airport, that was hardly 20 minutes away from our hotel,” he said. “However, our journey continued for about two hours since the network of roads was littered with smashed cars and burning tires,” he said.
Alam said this was still not the end of the team’s agony.
Since Pakistani flights were not allowed to move through the Indian airspace, Pakistan’s cricket squad had to take a detour and go to Sri Lanka first.
Just as the plane touched down at the Colombo airport, its tire burst. The Pakistan team was yet to play its last test match with World XI in Lahore but almost missed the contest.
“The airlines added extra seats for us on the connecting flight to Lahore after we reached Karachi,” the former Pakistan cricket captain said. “By the time we reached our destination, the match had been postponed due to rain. That is how we managed to play the game.”
Despite the shocking incident, he continued, the two teams were still willing to finish the series.
“Sportsmen think differently,” Alam said. “They try to send out the message of peace and are willing to play in difficult circumstances to make that happen.”


Challenge accepted: Saudi national cricket team invites Peshawar Zalmi to play in kingdom

Updated 11 April 2021

Challenge accepted: Saudi national cricket team invites Peshawar Zalmi to play in kingdom

  • Peshawar Zalmi owner hinted last week of taking his team to Saudi Arabia for a friendly match
  • Arab News has been selected as the official media partner of the Saudi cricket team

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s national cricket team has accepted the challenge by the Pakistan cricket franchise Peshawar Zalmi inviting them for a friendly game.

The owner of one of Pakistan’s most popular cricket franchises, Peshawar Zalmi, hinted last week of taking his team to Saudi Arabia for a friendly match, soon after news emerged that Arab News had been selected as the official media partner of the Saudi cricket team.

READ MORE

Arab News, Saudi Arabia’s leading English language daily, has been selected by the Saudi cricket federation to be the national team’s official media partner. Read more here.

Javed Afridi’s successful franchise is represented by cricketing legends like former West Indian skipper Daren Sammy, South African star batsman Hashim Amla, and Pakistan all rounders Wahab Riaz and Shoaib Malik, and others from the world’s biggest test playing teams.

“Best wishes to cricket KSA. How about Peshawar Zalmi VS KSA in Saudi,” Afridi wrote on Twitter.

Responding to it the Saudi Arabian Cricket Federation (SACF) told Arab News: “We thank Afridi for the wonderful gesture, good wishes to the Saudi national cricket team and appreciation. We look forward to a lot of cooperation with all great cricket playing countries, such as Pakistan.

“As far as invitation to play a friendly game is concerned, we accept the challenge and look forward to playing the game at a mutually agreed date and place, here in Saudi Arabia," said Nadeem Nadwi, General Manager, SACF.

SACF, established in 2020, has lined up a series of major programs focused on promoting the game in the Kingdom and things are set to change rapidly.

In an exclusive interview with Arab News last week, SACF chairman Prince Saud Bin Mishal Al-Saud revealed the game-changing plans for cricket, outlining a series of major initiatives that will increase participation at community, club, and international level.

Among those competitions is the National Cricket Championship, played across 11 cities and part of four programs that SACF signed with the Saudi Sports For All Federation. Launched in February 2021, it is to date the largest cricket tournament held in the history of Saudi Arabia.

Moreover, there will be a corporate cricket tournament launched in October and November, a cricket league for expatriate workers, and a social cricket program introduced in various cities. Throughout the year, SACF is planning to have 20,000 participants taking part in these programs.

The federation has signed several deals and MoUs with governmental, semi-governmental, and non-governmental entities setting out plans to raise awareness of the game, increase cricket facilities nationwide, and introduce the sport to Saudi youth through school programs.


World must recognize Pakistan's commitment to regional stability, says top general

Updated 10 April 2021

World must recognize Pakistan's commitment to regional stability, says top general

  • General Nadeem Raza asks the international community to take notice of rights violations in Indian-administered Kashmir
  • Says the nation has high expectations of the country's armed forces while addressing a graduation ceremony at the Pakistan Military Academy

ISLAMABAD: Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC) General Nadeem Raza said Saturday the world must recognize Pakistan's consistent peace overtures to its eastern neighbor and take notice of rights violations in Indian-administered Kashmir while addressing graduating cadets at the Pakistan Military Academy, Kakul.
According to an official statement released by the military media wing, ISPR, Raza said his country was committed to peace and had made significant contributions to regional stability.
He also maintained that the whole nation stood united against the menace of extremism and had high expectations of the Pakistani armed forces.
The CJCSC made these observations during his visit to the country's premier military training institution where he reviewed the graduation parade of the 143rd PMA Long Course.
Among those who successfully completed the rigorous training also included young cadets from Iraq, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Nepal.
Raza advised all PMA graduates, including members of the 17th Lady Cadet Course, to keep themselves abreast with latest challenges.
"The only way to meet these challenges is through professional prowess and dedication as the Nation pins high hopes on Armed Forces of Pakistan," the ISPR statement quoted him as saying.


Rizwan steers Pakistan to their highest-winning T20 run chase

Updated 10 April 2021

Rizwan steers Pakistan to their highest-winning T20 run chase

  • Pakistan's previous highest T20 chase was 188 against Australia in Harare in 2018
  • Rizwan made an unbeaten 74 as Pakistan chased down a target of 189 with one ball to spare

JOHANNESBURG: Opening batsman Mohammad Rizwan steered Pakistan to their highest winning run chase as they beat South Africa by four wickets in the first Twenty20 international at the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg on Saturday.
Rizwan made an unbeaten 74 as Pakistan chased down a target of 189 with one ball to spare.

Their previous highest T20 chase was 188 against Australia in Harare in 2018.

The match swung in the last four overs of the two innings.
South Africa could score only 29 in their last four overs, while Pakistan thrashed 52 off the last 3.5 overs

BRIEF SCORES

South Africa 188-6 in 20 overs (A. Markram 51, H. Klaasen 50; Mohammad Nawaz 2-21, Hasan Ali 2-28)

Pakistan 189-6 in 19.5 overs (Mohammad Rizwan 74 not out, Faheem Ashraf 30; B. Hendricks 3-32, T. Shamsi 2-29)

RESULT

Pakistan won by 4 wickets

Series: Pakistan lead the four-match series 1-0

Toss: South Africa


Major opposition party leads in re-election in Pakistani town of Daska

Updated 11 April 2021

Major opposition party leads in re-election in Pakistani town of Daska

  • Local news channels claim the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz is winning the contest in Punjab's NA-75 constituency
  • The Election Commission of Pakistan held a by-poll in the area last February but later declared it null and void

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s local news channels claimed Saturday the opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party was winning a closely watched electoral contest for a National Assembly seat in Punjab that fell vacant after the death of an opposition lawmaker Syed Iftikharul Hassan Shah last year.
Tens of thousands of people voted to elect their new representative in a re-election held earlier in the day for the NA-75 seat from Daska, a small town in Sialkot district.
The country’s election authorities held a by-poll in the area last February, but later declared the contest null and void due to widespread irregularities that the PML-N blamed on the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party.
The Election Commission of Pakistan suspected back in February that the results of 20 polling stations had been falsified.
Saturday’s electoral contest was largely believed to be between PML-N candidate Nosheen Iftikhar and PTI ticket holder Ali Asjad Malhi, though there were other politicians who also participated in it.
Pakistani election authorities informed a local news channel earlier in the day they had tried to provide a free and fair environment to hold a transparent election.
“Rangers are on patrol duty, ensuring the transportation of election staff and material, while army troops have been stationed in Daska Stadium and will be available on call,” Dawn newspaper reported. “To make the conduct of the re-poll transparent, CCTV cameras have been installed at 47 sensitive polling stations, out of a total 360.”


Pakistan among nations subject to quarantine in Ireland starting April 15

Updated 10 April 2021

Pakistan among nations subject to quarantine in Ireland starting April 15

  • Dublin joined neighboring Britain in bringing in the regime for people from countries deemed "high risk"
  • Strict lockdown in Ireland has turned one of the world's highest incidence rates of COVID-19 into one of Europe's lowest

DUBLIN: Ireland added Pakistan, Turkey, United States, Canada, Belgium, France and Italy to its list of countries where arrivals will be subject to mandatory hotel quarantine, tightening some of Europe's toughest travel restrictions to try to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Ireland, the only one of the European Union's 27 countries to introduce a hotel quarantine, announced it will also require all arrivals to have booked a COVID-19 test for five days after landing in addition to one taken in the days before travelling.

It followed neighbouring Britain in bringing in the regime for people from countries deemed "high risk" or those without a negative COVID-19 test. However, Britain has so far resisted calls for the inclusion of some European countries.

A strict lockdown in Ireland since late December has turned one of the world's highest incidence rates of COVID-19 into one of Europe's lowest.

Elsewhere in the continent, Norway requires a forced stay in a quarantine hotel for at least a week for anyone coming from abroad who does not own property, or can borrow the use of a property, in the country.

Armenia, Bangladesh, Bermuda, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Curacao, Kenya, Luxembourg, Maldives and Ukraine will also be subject to quarantine in Ireland starting April 15, the health ministry said in a statement.

Israel, Albania and Saint Lucia were removed, having been added just over a week ago, meaning arrivals from more than 70 countries must quarantine for up to 14 days in a hotel room, or leave after 10 if they test negative for COVID-19.

The government initially stopped short of a recommendation by health officials last week to add a number of EU countries where large numbers of Irish nationals live, citing potential legal challenges around the bloc's freedom of movement rules.

Hotel quarantine rules are planned to be in place for only a few months, Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said this week. Tourism groups have criticised the government for not providing an exit plan on how they would unwind the measures.

"We can see a permanent pathway out of this pandemic but can't allow variants of concern to set us back on the progress we have made," Donnelly said in a statement on Friday.