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April 19, 2012
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has sent the ICC a 70-page security plan of Pakistan's proposed limited-overs games against Bangladesh in Lahore, slated for later this month.
According to the plan, the visitors will be provided presidential-level security, with 2000 policemen patrolling the route from hotel to stadium, and about 1200 policemen present at the stadium while the team is at the venue. The PCB has scheduled a meeting for Friday, to be attended by the various security agencies involved in the exercise.
The PCB had delayed sending the security plan to the ICC because of issues between the federal government and the Punjab state government. Now, the issue appears to have been resolved. Top officials met under senior Punjab police officer Sohail Khan and formulated the security plan that was handed over to the PCB in the morning.
While the series is still facing hurdles, the PCB has approved the printing of tickets and they will go on sale next week - before April 25 - through a cooperative bank. They will be priced between 200 and 2000 Pakistan rupees.
The series holds great importance as it would be the first instance of two Full Members playing in Pakistan since the attack on the Sri Lanka team bus in March 2009. Pakistan and Bangladesh, after reaching a consensus on the short tour, had informed the ICC that they will play one ODI and one Twenty20 International at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore. The matches are scheduled for April 29 and 30.
The ICC's response to the security report will not have any direct bearing on the tour itself - bilateral series are decided by the countries involved and the ICC's remit is restricted to assessing the safety of its officials. After studying the report, the ICC will only confirm whether or not their officials will be present at the matches.
Last week, the ICC had stated that its Anti-Corruption and Security Unit, on receiving the security plan from the PCB, may consider outsourcing a company for an independent assessment of the security measures planned in order to determine the safety of its officials and staff; only after that would it decide on deploying its officials.
In March, the ICC had introduced a "special dispensation" to be made only in "exceptional circumstances" in order to ensure that bilateral series take place even if the ruling body has determined it "unsafe" to appoint its officials for such series. This would allow such series to be manned by "non-neutral match officials", a departure from the ICC's Standard Playing Conditions.
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