House full everywhere
From his 10th floor office in central Karachi, Shehryar Ahmed is trying to coax the person at the other end of the line to get him two tickets for the Big Game. It's not going too well. On the walls around Shehryar (Sherry to his approximately 11,000 friends), are album covers, concert posters and citations for Junoon — he's the guitar-playing manager of the band. After a while, Sherry sort of gives up: "I've given away thousands of passes for our shows, and look what I have to do for two lousy tickets."
Across town, Hasan Hamayun has just had a wonderful idea. Waiting at Karachi port are 20,000 litres of Haagen Dazs ice-cream. The consignment came in early - the brand was to launch in Pakistan on the 30th - and Hasan who is the franchisee, now wants his ice-cream in the stadium on match day. Provided it isn't simply too late, and provided the authorities are convinced that ice-cream does not pose a security hazard he'll have his stall.
India v Pakistan is Karachi's first international in 15 years, and everyone's interested. Legally, tickets were sold out within 48 hours of the counters opening on Sunday. Now even the black market is close to shutting shop. Tickets range from Rs 100 to 1,800 and you can safely multiply by five if you want one.
Do not try at the National Stadium: it was taken over by the paramilitary Pakistan Rangers on Thursday afternoon. Karachi may be short of tickets, but not of securitymen. There will be about 3,000 of them in and around the stadium. Each of the 15-odd enclosures will have an SSP-rank officer in charge. And Central Security Control will be located bang under the Indian dressing room.
But for the between 25-30,000 (Pakistan is enchantingly vague about specifics like ticket sales/prices and hotel tariffs) who will have precious bar-coded tickets, the gates open at 6.30 a.m. on Saturday.