When Miranshah said no to terrorism – and yes to cricket

21st September might just have been another ordinary day for the entire world, but it was not so ordinary for the people of Pakistan, especially Miranshah.

The beautiful town of Miranshah lies on the banks of the Tochi River bounded by the foothills of the Hindu Kush mountains. It is one of the most important areas of Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan (FATA) being the administrative headquarters of the North Waziristan Agency.

Miranshah had been a part of news every other day, mostly because of drone and air strikes targeting alleged militants. But now times have changed.

Terrorists and militants have been kicked out of North Waziristan after year’s long and tireless efforts by Pakistan Army. Development schemes are underway and FATA is on path of peace, prosperity and a beautiful future.

An exciting International T20 Cricket Match was arranged on 21st September 2017 between Pakistan XI and British Media XI to celebrate restoration of peace in North Waziristan with the support of Pakistan Army, Pakistan Cricket Board and Pakistan Super League Franchise Peshawar Zalmi.

The T20 cricket match was played at Younus Khan Cricket Stadium Miranshah.

Pakistan XI comprised of renowned cricket stars including Inzamam Ul Haq, Shahid Afridi, Younus Khan and Kamran Akmal. The UK team included journalists, lawyers, businessmen and academics.

The UK Media XI was visiting Pakistan with an aim to promote soft image of Pakistan as a peace loving and sporting nation.

The cricket match started with the cheers of more than 20,000 spectators, including children and tribal elders.

The national anthem of Pakistan was sung by each and every spectator along with the cricket team and army officials.

Happiness was evident from the faces of the spectators as they witnessed their favorite cricketers playing in front of them.

A few people waved signs proclaiming “Say no to terrorism” and “We want peace”.

Pakistan scored 254 runs, while the UK batsmen could only reach 120 for seven wickets in the allotted 20 overs. The match, a part of the series titled “Peace Cup”, was true evidence of prevalence of peacetime in Pakistan.

Efforts of Pakistan Army for restoration of peace should never be forgotten. This nation is indebted to the sacrifices of Pakistan Army jawans who laid their lives for a flourishing and peaceful Pakistan.

Other sporting events should also be encouraged to promote the image of Pakistan as a safe, hospitable and peace-loving nation.

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