Cricket fans want Gaddafi’s name removed from Lahore stadium
By Rizwan Khatik - Wed Sep 28, 8:24 am
LAHORE: Regardless of cricket’s future in Pakistan, there is a growing movement to get embattled Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s name removed from the Lahore cricket stadium, which is the country’s largest stadium.
In 1974, a young Colonel Gaddafi, five years into his rule, while speaking at the 2nd Islamic Summit Conference in Lahore offered his support for Pakistan’s controversial pursuit of nuclear weapons and won further fans in the country when he described Pakistan as “the fort of Islam”.
Pakistan’s then prime minister, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto renamed the Lahore Cricket Stadium to Muammar Gaddafi Cricket Stadium in honour of the Libyan dictator.
Thrityseven years later Gadaffi’s statues cast in gold have been torn down in Tripoli but his still stands proudly atop the majestic cricket stadium in Lahore.
Now there is a discontent among Pakistanis to get the Libyan’s name removed from the Lahore stadium.
“We have tolerated this ridiculous name now for about 37 years. As we watch the scenes of horrific violence visited by the madman upon the Libyan people, let us at least do them the courtesy of removing their tormentor’s name from our biggest stadium,” Farooq Tirmizi wrote on the web page of the Express Tribune newspaper. ”
Saad Shafqat, writing in leading daily Dawn newspaper, said there was no place for an honorarium for Gaddafi.
“It is clear beyond a shadow of doubt that this name has to go … the man had truly nasty and evil designs. Lahore’s great Test centre is no ordinary stadium. It is a travesty for it to carry the name that it does. It is the headquarters of the Pakistan Cricket Board, which makes it not just the spiritual but also the official home of Pakistan cricket,” said Shafqat.
Online support is growing to rename the stadium after Pakistani umpire Aleem Dar, this month named the International Cricket Council’s umpire of the year for the third successive season or former captain Imran Khan. But Imran’s role in Pakistani politics rules him out.
Fans also want the stadium to be named after country’s first cricket captain, Abdul Hafeez Kardar, while some want to see the stadium named simply as Lahore Cricket Ground.