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March 3, 2012
Mustafa Kamal, the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) president, has said he will work with PCB chairman Zaka Ashraf at the ICC level to return international cricket to Pakistan. Kamal was speaking in Islamabad, after meeting with Pakistan's Interior Minister Rehman Malik to discuss security issues regarding Bangladesh's proposed tour in April.
Although no formal decision was taken at the meeting, the delegation from Bangladesh was briefed about the security arrangements the Pakistan government would make and Kamal was optimistic about the limited-overs series going ahead. The delegation will inspect facilities in Lahore and Karachi before returning home on March 5 to submit a report to the Bangladesh government.
"Now I am here to make a commitment that both Mr Zaka and I will work together to make things right at the ICC level," Kamal said. "We have our endeavour and always will work hand in hand to convince our other colleagues in the ICC to bring back cricket to Pakistan at the earliest.
"I am here with a positive frame of mind and I want us to be in a position to convince our ICC board members, so that they also agree to play in Pakistan as early as possible."
The ICC was not part of the meeting between the BCB and the Pakistan ministry and they will carry out a separate assessment of the security situation if the tour is confirmed. Malik assured the Bangladesh delegation of the security their team would be given, saying the government had taken "total political ownership" of the series.
"I have given full assurances regarding security, they will visit two stadiums, let them have a look at all those arrangements which we are proposing," Malik said in Islamabad. "I assured him [Kamal] from my side, on behalf of the government, that we have taken total political ownership of this match.
"I've also given him the prerogative that if he wants to add or subtract [to security arrangements] we will do it. We will show our capabilities, and of course then it comes to the planning, the road map, security parameters as to how we're going to take care of things. So all those things at international standard, they all will be met."
Two members from the Bangladesh delegation went to Karachi to witness the security arrangements that would be put in place should a match go ahead at the National Stadium there.
There are two itineraries proposed at present: one is a three-ODI series and the other is two ODIs and one Twenty20 international to be completed in a week in April. Lahore's Gaddafi Stadium and Karachi's National Stadium are the potential venues.
"This is the first step, and I am sure they will be fully satisfied with the security plan being given by the ministry and by the provinces of Sindh and Punjab," Ashraf said, "And when they go back home, they go back home fully satisfied."
It is three years to the day that terrorists with guns attacked the bus carrying the Sri Lankan team to the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore, and several players and officials were wounded. Since then, no international side apart from Afghanistan, has toured Pakistan. They were removed as co-hosts of the 2011 World Cup and have been playing their home bilateral series at offshore venues such as England, New Zealand and the UAE.
Edited by George Binoy
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