Pakistan vows full security for Champions Trophy

Thursday, June 12, 2008

An International Cricket Council official said Thursday that Pakistan's government had made stringent security arrangements for the upcoming biennial Champions Trophy.

Pakistan hosts the Champions Trophy from September 11 to 28 with top eight Test playing countries -- Australia, South Africa, India, England, Pakistan, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and the West Indies -- competing.

The matches will be staged in Karachi, Lahore and Rawalpindi, cities that have been hit by several suicide attacks over the past year before a lull in recent months.

"The government of Pakistan has taken comprehensive measures to ensure foolproof security for ICC (International Cricket Council) Champions Trophy and have constituted high powered committees to oversee the arrangements,"
ICC director for event management Ahmad Farooq said in a statement.

A meeting took place between officials from the interior ministry, the Pakistan Cricket Board and ICC event management in Islamabad on Tuesday to oversee the arrangements, he said.

"The interior ministry offered its full cooperation to ensure immaculate security during the high-profile event and established high-level committees which will be headed by some very senior officials,"
Farooq said.

This will be the first time that Pakistan has staged a major sporting event since hosting a quadrangular tournament in 1997. Pakistan also co-hosted matches of the 1996 World Cup with India and Sri Lanka.

Foreign teams have been reluctant to tour Pakistan in the wake of the 2001 invasion of neighbouring Afghanistan and ensuing war against terrorism.

Australia put off their March-April tour to the trouble-hit country this year over security fears. They agreed to split the postponed tour in 2009 and 2010 after elections and the formation of a new government have seen improved security.

Pakistan will have an opportunity for a dress rehearsal of the Champions Trophy when they host the six-nation Asia Cup in Lahore and Karachi from June 24-July 6.

India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Hong Kong and United Arab Emirates will also feature in the Asia Cup.

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