Quetta Blast: Pakistan's current captain and former skipper Shahid Afridi, among others, were rushed to safety to the dressing room after an explosion reportedly took place a few miles down the road from a stadium in Quetta on Sunday. An exhibition match between Sarfaraz Ahmed’s Quetta Gladiators and Babar Azam's Peshawar Zalmi was stopped at the Bugti Stadium after a blast in the Police Lines area. Five people have been injured in the explosion.
"As soon as the explosion happened, as a precautionary measure, the match was stopped and players were taken to the dressing room for a while. Later, after the green signal, the match resumed," a police official said. As per reports, the rescue work had been completed and the injured were taken to a hospital. The spectators had also gathered in big numbers to watch the match. However, in a statement on Sunday, the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the attack. It stated that the security officials were targeted in the blast.
Quetta did not witness sports activity in the last several years due to the fragile security situation and the constant threat of terror attacks. The exhibition match between Quetta Gladiators and Peshawar Zalmi was organised by the PCB after Baloch fans put pressure that Quetta shall also get the status of a PSL venue. However, the nature of the explosion is not clear. The TTP has increased terror attacks in recent days. Last week, 80 people were killed in a suicide attack in the police lines in Peshawar.
Notably, Pakistan Cricket will witness PSL 2023 being kicked off on February 13. The first match will be played between Multan Sultans and Lahore Qalandars at the Multan Cricket Stadium. The Playoffs will be played from 15th March, while the final will be held at the Gaddafi Stadium on 19th March.
(Inputs from PTI)