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Pak Min assures security to Ban team

Associated Press
Jan 03, 2012 at 06:51pm IST

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Islamabad: Pakistan's interior minister on Tuesday promised comprehensive security to the Bangladesh cricket team if it becomes the first international side to tour the country in more than three years. "I welcome the Bangladesh (cricket) team," Rehman Malik said.

Malik has already talked to Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Zaka Ashraf about the proposed visit of Bangladesh in April and the minister will meet with the PCB chief on Wednesday.

"I will assure him (Ashraf) full security," Malik said. "I am designing a special task force, which will do a security survey."

Pak Minister assures security to Ban team

Bangladesh can become the first international side to tour the country in more than three years.

Foreign cricket teams have stopped touring Pakistan since March 2009, after an attack on the Sri Lankan team bus in which six police officials and a van driver were killed.

Last month, China's hockey team toured Pakistan and played matches in Karachi, Lahore and Faisalabad without any untoward incident.

Malik said the tour of the Chinese hockey team had given him confidence that the security situation has improved in Pakistan.

"This is a fact that the situation has improved and we will take all measures to improve it further," Malik said.

Last month Ashraf briefed Bangladesh Cricket Board officials on the proposed tour in the hope that it can revive international cricket in Pakistan. A security delegation from Bangladesh is also scheduled to visit Pakistan later this month.

United Arab Emirates has been Pakistan's main 'home' venue over the last three years and will host test matches, one-day internationals and twenty20s against England in January and February.

Although the itinerary of the Bangladesh tour is yet to be finalized, Ashraf had said that even a few international matches in Pakistan would help in removing the security fears of other foreign teams.

Malik said that visiting teams will be provided with "box security", which means they would travel in bulletproof and bombproof buses and be cordoned by four other bulletproof, bombproof vehicles.

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