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Half-day work for all Pak govt offices for WC semi-final

Last updated: 29 March, 2011
Islamabad, March 29 (PTI) 20:21 IST

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani today announced a half working day for government offices tomorrow so that people could watch the cricket World Cup semi-final between arch-rivals India and Pakistan at Mohali.

A statement issued by Gilani's office this evening said the Prime Minister had announced a "half-day for tomorrow so that the people could watch the Pakistan-India cricket semi-final".
All government offices will close at noon tomorrow, the statement said.

Attendance at all government and private offices is expected to be thin tomorrow due to the people's interest in the game that will showcase one of the world's most intense sporting rivalries.

In a related development, Interior Minister Rehman Malik said there was "no need to create hype" over the World Cup semi-final as such a development would put unnecessary pressure on the players.

"It is just a game and not war between Pakistan and India. We should keep our team's morale high and creating hype creates a negative impact on our players' performance," he told reporters outside parliament.

Malik said the whole country is praying for the victory of the Pakistani team and the players should focus on their performance.

Cricket diplomacy has brought Pakistan and India closer and improved relations between the two countries are key to regional peace, he said.

"I will accompany Prime Minister Gilani during his visit to India, which will help boost the morale of the player and the relationship between the two countries," he said, referring to Gilani's decision to accept his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh's invitation to watch the match at Mohali.

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