ISLAMABAD // The Pakistan prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said that security would be stepped up to persuade India to go ahead with their scheduled tour of Pakistan in January. "The game of cricket is loved by the people of both India and Pakistan and the government (of Pakistan) will ensure proper security arrangements for organising the forthcoming Pak-India cricket series," Gilani said. The prime minister met with the Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Ejaz Butt, and promised to ask the Indian prime minister to allow the Indian team to visit Pakistan.
India are scheduled to play three Tests, five one-day internationals and a Twenty20 international against Pakistan during it's Jan 4-Feb 19 tour. However, the tour was put in doubt earlier this month when the Indian government cited security concerns in preventing its hockey team visiting its neighbour. "This is a very high profile tour and Indian government would be provided assurance regarding their security concerns," Gilani added.
Security worries meant that Pakistan did not play a Test match at home this year. Australia postponed their tour in March, then in September the Champions Trophy one-day tournament was also postponed. A one-day series against the West Indies earlier this month was played in Abu Dhabi. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) said the status of the Pakistan tour was contingent on government security assessments.
"The tour will be finalised only when we get the clearance from the government. Nothing can be confirmed before that," the BCCI president Shashank Manohar said. *AP