Foreign cricket stars to feature in Pakistan Super League

This combination of photos shows international cricketers taking part in Pakistan Super League seventh edition. (AFP)
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Updated 26 January 2022

Foreign cricket stars to feature in Pakistan Super League

  • Afghan players Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi have been roped in by Lahore Qalandars and Karachi Kings
  • PSL’s seventh edition will start in Karachi on Thursday and run through Feb. 27

ISLAMABAD: As Pakistan’s own professional T20 cricket league, the Pakistan Super League (PSL), is set to start on Thursday, fans will see several international cricket stars participating in the country’s most popular sports event.
Launched in 2016, the PSL has been a huge success, with over 80 million people, roughly 70 percent of Pakistan’s TV-viewing public, tuned in to watch the final game of the series last year.
Besides crowds of spectators, it also attracts foreign players. Here are some of those who will compete in the tournament this year.

Rashid Khan

Lahore Qalandars' Rashid Khan arrives for practice before the start of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) T20 cricket match between Lahore Qalandars and Quetta Gladiators at the National Stadium in Karachi on February 22, 2021.  (AFP/FILE)

Considered one of the world’s best spinners, the Afghan cricketer is also one of the most sought-after players, featuring in all prominent international cricket leagues, including Australia’s Big Bash League, India’s Indian Premier League (IPL) and the PSL.
Khan, 23, is known for bowling wicket-to-wicket and his googly — a leg-spinner’s trick that makes the ball spin against his normal stock delivery — has cemented his status as an automatic pick for Afghanistan across all formats of the game.
Khan has played 56 T20I matches, grabbing 103 wickets at an average of 12.73.
Like last year, he has been roped in for the PSL by Lahore Qalandars.
Mohammad Nabi

Karachi Kings' Mohammad Nabi takes part in a practice before the start of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) T20 cricket match between Islamabad United and Karachi Kings at the National Stadium in Karachi on February 24, 2021. (AFP/FILE)

Another big name from Afghanistan, the 37-year-old all-rounder is a strong middle-order batter who also bowls flight off-spin and can make important breakthroughs.
Like Khan, Nabi is an automatic pick for Afghanistan, providing stability and depth to its batting line-up. Nabi has enjoyed a few stints over the years as captain of the Afghan cricket team, leading them into the 2015 World Cup.
He has played a total of 318 T20s, scoring 4,851 runs from them and making 14 half-centuries. He has taken an impressive 296 T20I wickets at an average of 24.13 which includes a fifer.
Nabi will play for Karachi Kings under Babar Azam’s captaincy in this year’s PSL.

Imran Tahir

Multan Sultans' Imran Tahir celebrates after the dismissal of Lahore Qalandars' Dane Vilas during the Pakistan Super League (PSL) T20 cricket match between Multan Sultans and Lahore Qalandars at the Gaddafi Cricket Stadium in Lahore on February 21, 2020. (AFP/FILE)

A Pakistani-South African cricketer, Tahir has played for 25 teams, including four English counties, three South African franchises, an IPL team, and regularly features in the PSL.
Tahir, 42, has carved a reputation for himself as one of the best limited-overs leg-spinners of his time. His trademark celebration after taking a wicket has earned Tahir a massive fan following around the world.
From the 344 T20s that Tahir has played, he has managed to take 435 wickets which include three fifers, at an average of 19.59.
Playing for defending champions Multan Sultans, Tahir will undoubtedly prove to be a potent weapon for skipper Mohammad Rizwan during this year’s tournament.

Rilee Rossouw

Multan Sultans' Rilee Rossouw arrives to bat during practice before the start of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) T20 cricket match between Peshawar Zalmi and Multan Sultans at the National Stadium in Karachi on February 23, 2021. (AFP/FILE)

A PSL stalwart, the South African cricketer returns once again to play for Multan Sultans and will be a handy batter that helps Rizwan defend the trophy. He hasn’t played much international cricket but has enjoyed a stint with the IPL’s Royal Challengers Bangalore in 2014. Two years later, he signed with Hampshire.
Rossouw, 32, improved in the shortest format of the game as the years ticked by, becoming the leading run-scorer in the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) by scoring an impressive 558 at an average of 69.75, and then winning PSL with Quetta Gladiators, Rossouw has played 225 T20s where he scored 5,534 runs at an average of 29.75 and has scored three centuries.

Alex Hales

Islamabad United's Alex Hales warms up before the start of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) T20 cricket match between Islamabad United and Quetta Gladiators at the National Stadium in Karachi on March 2, 2021. (AFP/FILE)

Alex Hales, 31, is one of the world’s most talented openers.
In 2018, he committed himself solely to limited-overs cricket by signing a white-ball only contract with Nottinghamshire and playing IPL for Sunrisers Hyderabad. He had averaged 27.28 in his 11 Tests, and prospects of further opportunities were minimal, although he did signal his intention to reconsider his future after the 2019 World Cup.
In the 327 T20s that Hales has played, he has scored over 9,000 runs at an average of 30.95 and scored five centuries.
In this year’s edition of the PSL, he has been included as a mentor for the Islamabad United squad.

Southern Pakistan bans drones over fear of attacks on foreign missions

Updated 12 sec ago

Southern Pakistan bans drones over fear of attacks on foreign missions

  • Series of deadly attacks, including on Chinese nationals, shook Karachi in past three weeks
  • Additional personnel deployed to secure consulates in the city

KARACHI: The government of Sindh has banned the use of drones and strengthened security of foreign missions following a threat alert in the southern Pakistani province, police said on Saturday.

The capital of Sindh, Karachi, came under a series of deadly attacks, including on Chinese nationals, in the past three weeks.

On April 26, a female suicide bomber killed Chinese teachers and their Pakistani driver at Karachi University. On May 12, the Sindhudesh Revolutionary Army (SRA), a dissident faction fighting for independence in the province of Sindh, killed one and injured seven in a bomb blast in downtown Saddar area of the city. On May 16, one person was killed and 11 injured when a bomb ripped through a market near New Memon Masjid in Karachi’s busy Kharadar area.

On Friday, the province’s home department issued a notification banning the flying of drones, as it said that “the terrorist may use low flying drone/unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to target foreign Missions, residences of diplomats and important government buildings.”

Senior Superintendent of Police Arif Aziz, spokesperson of Karachi police, told Arab News the law enforcement agency had also increased the number of security personnel outside foreign diplomatic missions.

“The security of consulates in Karachi has been tightened by deploying additional force,” he said, adding that there was a security alert for the entire city, and Special Security Unit and Rapid Response Force teams were on standby in every zone.

“In the past few weeks there had been a couple of attacks, and to stop such acts in future, a huge deployment of plain-clothes officers has also been made,” he added. “These will keep an eye and will be in touch with uniformed officers who will act upon receiving alerts.”

Court extends Pakistan PM’s bail in money-laundering case

Updated 21 May 2022

Court extends Pakistan PM’s bail in money-laundering case

  • FIA special court in Lahore adjourns hearing in the $80 million case until May 28
  • Sharif and his sons were booked by Federal Investigation Agency in November 2020

ISLAMABAD: A Pakistani court on Saturday extended bail for Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and his son in a Rs16 billion ($80 million) money laundering case.

Sharif, his sons Hamza, who is chief minister of Punjab province, and Suleman, who resides in London, were booked by Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) in November 2020 under various sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act and Anti Money Laundering Act.

They were set to be indicted in the case in the previous hearing on May 14 but it was delayed because the prime minister was in the UK and postponed his return to the country in order to visit the UAE to offer condolences over the death of its ailing president.

Sharif and Hamza appeared before the FIA special court in Lahore for the first time since assuming office in April.

While the presiding judge adjourned the hearing and extended their bail until May 28, he issued bailable arrest warrants for three other accused in the case, including Suleman, who did not appear in court.

The prime minister said during the hearing that the case against him was “political,” Dawn daily reported.

“Shehbaz, while speaking in the court, said that the United Kingdom's National Crime Agency (NCA) had conducted an investigation for nearly two years but could not find ‘even one rupee of corruption’ against him.”

He added that the NCA was asked by the former Pakistani government to probe him.

Sharif, who became prime minister last month after his immediate predecessor, Imran Khan, was ousted in a no-confidence vote. 

He is the president of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party and the younger brother of PMLN-N supremo Nawaz Sharif — three-time prime minister who was barred by the Supreme Court in 2017 from holding public office and went abroad on medical bail after serving a few months of a 10-year jail corruption sentence.

The Sharifs have always said the cases against them are politically motivated and driven by now ex-PM Khan who won power in 2018 vowing to root out corruption among what he cast as a venal political elite.

Close ex-PM Khan aide, former rights minister Shireen Mazari arrested in Islamabad — family

Updated 21 May 2022

Close ex-PM Khan aide, former rights minister Shireen Mazari arrested in Islamabad — family

  • Officials of the Punjab Anti-Corruption Establishment tell local media Mazari in custody
  • Members of Khan's PTI party condemn arrest, urge supporters to gather in protest

ISLAMABAD: Former human rights minister Shireen Mazari was "beaten and taken away by male police officers," her daughter said on Saturday, while anti-corruption police in Punjab province told local media the close aide of ex-Prime Minister Khan was in custody.

Local media widely reported that Mazari, who was human rights minister from August 2018 till April 10, 2022, was arrested from outside her residence in Islamabad.

Mazari has recently been highly critical of Pakistan's all-powerful army, writing in daily social media posts about the military's alleged role in last month's ouster of Khan in a no-confidence vote. The army has repeatedly said it does not interfere in politics and urged media and political figures in at least two recent press releases not to drag the military into "political discourse."

"Male police officers have beaten and taken my mother away," Mazari's daughter, Imaan Zainab Mazari-Hazir, said on Twitter. "All I have been told is that Anti-Corruption Wing Lahore has taken her."



Officials of the Punjab Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) confirmed to the Dawn daily that Mazari had been taken into custody.

In a video posted on Twitter by journalist Asma Shirazi, Mazari-Hazir said she did not have any details of the case except that her mother was picked up by "vagabonds."

"I warn this government: I will come after them if they do this," she said.



Mazari's arrest comes at a time when ex-PM Khan's party is gearing up for an anti-government march to Islamabad to force the new government of PM Shehbaz Sharif to announce fresh election.

Khan, who last month became the first Pakistani prime minister to be ousted through a no-confidence vote, has blamed his removal on the United States. US officials have repeatedly denied the allegation. Khan and his supporters have also expressed resentment that the army did not block the opposition's bid to oust him.

Members of Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party condemned Mazari's arrest and alleged manhandling by police.

"Strongly condemn the illegal and brutal kidnapping of Dr Shireen Mazari. She was manhandled and mistreated which is shameful," former education minister Shafqat Mehmood said on Twitter.

"There will [be] protest against this arrest in Lahore. Everyone to reach liberty roundabout at 8."

Shahbaz Gill, a Khan advisor, urged party workers to gather at the Kohsar police station in Islamabad.

"Shireen Mazari is a brave daughter of this nation. As a professor, most of the senior officers of our forces are her students. She has been teaching them," Gill said.

"She is highly respected for her human rights services. The final phase has begun. God willing, truth and freedom will succeed."

Pakistan president asks PM to reconsider advice to appoint new Punjab governor 

Updated 21 May 2022

Pakistan president asks PM to reconsider advice to appoint new Punjab governor 

  • Earlier this month, President Alvi rejected PM Sharif’s advice to remove key Imran Khan ally as governor 
  • Punjab chief minister’s fate also hangs in balance as electoral body de-seats 25 provincial lawmakers 

ISLAMABAD: President Arif Alvi on Saturday conveyed to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to reconsider his advice to appoint a new governor of Pakistan’s most populous Punjab province, saying Omar Sarfraz Cheema “still holds the office of the governor and there is no occasion to propose a new appointment,” the president’s office said.

Cheema, a member of ex-PM Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, was appointed Punjab governor last month amid a no-confidence motion filed against Khan in parliament, which saw many of his allies, including then governor Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar, jumping ship and joining the opposition. Khan was subsequently ousted from office in the no-trust vote and Sharif appointed the new PM by parliament.

In early May, the Sharif-led government sent a summary to the president, also a close Khan aide, to remove Cheema, nominating a senior ruling party leader Baligh-ur-Rehman as his replacement.

President Alvi had on May 9 rejected the summary of the prime minister, but Cheema was removed from the post the same day, with a Cabinet Division notification stating he had ceased to hold the office on the advice of PM Sharif sent to the president on two occasions.

“Referring to President’s Secretariat’s earlier communication, dated May 09, 2022, the President reiterated that ‘the Governor shall hold office during the pleasure of the President,’ as envisaged by Article 101 (2) of the Constitution,” a statement from the president’s office said.

“He added that the present circumstances demanded that the incumbent Governor should continue to hold that position.”

A governor in Pakistan is the appointed head of state of a province. He or she is appointed by the president on the advice of the prime minister and can serve for a tenure that lasts up to five years.

The president made a reference to the Punjab governor’s letter, dated April 23, and a May 4 report, which highlighted that the change in loyalties of the members of the Punjab Assembly during the election of the Punjab chief minister and cobbling of the majority by “illegal means had generated serious governance issues in the province as well as violated the Article 63-A of the Constitution.”

President Alvi said the principled stance of the governor had been vindicated by the Supreme Court of Pakistan. The top court on May 17 ruled that dissident lawmakers of a party could not cast their vote as it interpreted Article 63-A of the constitution, which relates to the disqualification of parliamentarians for voting, or abstaining from voting, against the party guidelines.

President Alvi said the stance of Governor Cheema was further augmented by the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) decision, declaring the defection of 25 provincial lawmakers in the election of chief minister as the “worst form of betraying the electorate and party’s policy.”

The ECP on Friday de-seated 25 dissident legislators belonging to Khan’s party, who had defected and voted for opposition candidate Hamza Shehbaz in the election for the Punjab chief minister’s slot last month.

With these 25 lawmakers no longer members of the House, Shehbaz, who won the April 16 election for the chief minister, has lost his majority in the Punjab Assembly, raising questions about the status of his government.

“In view of the above-mentioned facts, the president asked the prime minister to reconsider his advice with regard to the appointment of a new Governor Punjab in accordance with Article 48 (1) of the Constitution,” the statement from the president’s office added.

Mob torches police station, stones murder suspect to death in northwest Pakistan 

Updated 21 May 2022

Mob torches police station, stones murder suspect to death in northwest Pakistan 

  • More than 1,000 people attacked the police station in Bajaur’s Nawagai area on Friday 
  • Additional police contingents have since been deployed in Nawagai, 24 suspects arrested 

PESHAWAR: A mob set fire to a police station and stoned a murder suspect to death in Pakistan’s northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province on Friday, a top police officer said.
The Nawagai police received a complaint on Wednesday that a man named Abdul Ghafoor had gone missing in Bara Kamangara village in Bajaur tribal district, with relatives accusing Abdul Rasheed of kidnapping him.
District Police Officer (DPO) Abdul Samad Khan told Arab News a police team was constituted that found body of the missing person in a remote area the same day. The police managed to arrest the murder suspect on Thursday.
“On Friday, around 1,200 people forced their way into the police station and set fire to it,” Khan said. “The law enforcers present inside fired shots in the air to disperse the crowd, but the mob broke the lockup’s door, dragged the suspect out and stoned him to death.”
Malik Farmanullah, a local tribal elder, said the killing has sent shock waves across the district and put a question mark on the role of police. He called the incident purely an “outcome of personal grudge” between the two families.
“The infuriated mob believed it would never get justice if the matter reached the courts,” Farmanullah said.
Arab News made repeated attempts, but could not reach the family of the deceased for comments.
Irfanullah Khan, an MPhil scholar and an expert on tribal affairs, linked the incident to the absence of a multipronged government strategy and procedural delays in the merger of Bajaur, one of seven districts of the erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), with KP province.
“Police and judicial systems are not fully functional in the erstwhile FATA, despite the fact that the restive areas were merged with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in 2018,” he said. 
“The process of FATA-KP merger goes at a snail’s pace, which is a constant source of trouble for locals.”
The government merged the tribal districts with KP to bring relief to the restive region, which borders Afghanistan and has long endured the presence of militant groups and military operations against them.
But despite political and legal mainstreaming of the region of over 5 million residents, development is slow, with many not having access to most basic services, including health and education.
Soon after the incident, according to DPO Khan, additional police contingents were called in to bring the tense situation under control and arrest the perpetrators.
“We have detained 28 suspects who had a lead role in storming the police station,” he said. “The incident occurred at a time when most of the policemen were out on duty.”
The DPO said police officials were holding talks with local elders to ensure calm in the area and thwart any untoward incident. The police were investigating the matter from different angles and it would be too early to conclude anything, he added.