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In the PSL 2024 final, Palestinian flags proudly wave

Palestinian flags, initially confiscated from numerous spectators at the entry points and seating areas, were ultimately displayed in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) event. This symbol of resistance against Israel’s actions in Gaza was openly exhibited at Karachi’s National Bank Stadium on Monday evening, showcasing a moment of freedom and expression.

During the victory lap following Islamabad United’s third PSL title win against Multan Sultans, the players displayed flags, including those representing Palestinian solidarity. This gesture was made in response to previous incidents where fans were not allowed to bring Palestinian flags and related banners into the stadiums during the ninth season of PSL.

In Lahore, a woman was pressured by security officials to relinquish such banners, while in Karachi, two videos circulated on social media showing police officers confiscating Palestinian flags from supporters in the stands.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) initially remained unresponsive to the matter after it surfaced on social media for the first time. Following the election of their new chairman, Mohsin Naqvi, the issue was redirected towards provincial governments.

During a press conference at the final match, Naqvi stated, “Matters concerning law and order fall under the jurisdiction of provincial governments, who have the authority to take necessary actions. As the chairman, I am unable to instruct the interior minister on how to proceed.”

Regarding law and order, the PCB chief, who is also the federal interior minister, mentioned that he cannot provide a policy; it is the province’s jurisdiction, and he cannot interfere.

In contrast, Islamabad United’s captain, Shadab Khan, openly shared his perspective on the significance of the team carrying Palestinian flags during their victory lap. He stated, “It was extremely important for all of us, and we made this decision together in the post-match press conference.”

“I appreciate the chance provided by God for us to address the Palestine situation. Similarly, United’s actions echoed those of numerous global sports enthusiasts. They have publicly demonstrated their dissent by showcasing banners and fan displays in various arenas. Notably, such protests were observed during recent Scottish Premiership games supported by Celtic fans and also at the recently concluded Asian Cup in Qatar.”

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