Dhaka: Bangladesh's proposed tour of Pakistan is unlikely to go ahead after a court ordered the plans be suspended for a month due to security concerns, dealing a blow to hopes of reviving international cricket in the troubled nation.
A two-member high court panel gave the order on Thursday to the government and Bangladesh Cricket Board in response to the intervention of a petitioner concerned about the team's security. Bangladesh had been scheduled to play a one-day international on April 29 followed by a Twenty20 match the next day.
Pakistan hasn't hosted a Test-playing team since gunmen attacked the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore on March 2009, killing six police persons and wounding several members of the team.
The court questioned the legality of the decision to send the Bangladesh team to Pakistan. Local media reported that the decision was made unilaterally by board president AH Mustafa Kamal despite some opposition. Kamal was not available for comment. The Pakistan Cricket Board released a statement expressing its "extreme concern" about the ruling.
"It is astonishing to note that a matter lacking any legal issue has been dragged into the court by petitioners who appear to have vested interests and want to jeopardize Pakistan-Bangladesh cricketing relations," the statement read. "The matter before the court prima facie does not contain any legal issue."
Former Pakistan coach Mohsin Khan said he thought the postponement was strange."During this whole period I thought there was uncertainty but this postponement will definitely hurt Pakistan's sincere efforts to revive cricket in Pakistan," Khan said.
PCB chief operating officer Subhan Ahmed agreed the postponement would damage Pakistan's attempts to revive home internationals and leave a gap in the team's calendar. "We do not have any alternate plans because teams are busy in international cricket and we cannot arrange any team in such a short trip," said Ahmed, still hoping Bangladesh can tour after the court case.
PCB chairman Zaka Ashraf and chief operating officer Subhan Ahmed had met with interior minister Rehman Malik in Islamabad on Thursday before the ruling to finalize arrangements for Bangladesh's three-day visit. About 2,000 policemen were going to be posted on the routes to be taken by the Bangladesh team in Lahore, while the federal government had planned to provide helicopters and metal scanners for the region.