Pakistan v England, 1st Test, Multan November 10, 2005

Security tight for Multan

AFP



Police watch England train in Multan ahead of the first Test © Getty Images

Pakistan will deploy 3,000 policemen and a team of sniffer dogs to ensure tight security for England during the first Test in Multan. Uniformed and plainclothes police officers will cordon off the stadium in the central city - where a car bomb killed 40 people in October 2004 - for all five days of the game, which starts on Saturday.

"We have made arrangements for tight security round the clock," Munir Ahmed Chishtie, head of Multan's police security team, told reporters. England agreed to the tour only after the Pakistani government assured them a level of security normally only reserved for heads of state.

Even then they refused to play a Test in the volatile southern city of Karachi. The England team arrived in Multan on Wednesday morning but had to wait for a practice session at the stadium until the sniffer dogs and security personnel had given the ground the all-clear. "We don't want to take any risks," Chistie said, "These dogs will sniff the whole stadium before play starts on every day of the Test."

The road to the team's five-star hotel will be blocked for ordinary traffic until they leave the city. Security has been a major issue for a number of touring teams in recent years with Australia and West Indies refusing to play their series in Pakistan. But Pakistani cricket authorities hope the country's image will improve after hosting England, the only non-Asian team apart from South Africa to play a full series in the country for five years.

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