South Africa demand Karachi security guarantees

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FAISALABAD, Pakistan, Oct 23 (Reuters) South Africa want guarantees over the safety of their players for Monday's fifth and final one-dayer against Pakistan in Karachi.

The visitors are sending a top security consultant to see if the city is safe after Friday's assassination attempt on former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto which killed 139 of her supporters.

At least one suicide bomber attacked Bhutto, who was returning from eight years of self-imposed exile, as she rode in a truck through Karachi streets packed with hundreds of thousands of people welcoming her home.

''In terms of what's happening in Karachi at the moment we are concerned,'' South Africa manager Logan Naidoo told reporters after his team's six-wicket defeat in Faisalabad today. ''We want guarantees it is safe for the players.

''We (also) want to leave it open until the last minute because we want to play in Karachi. By sending our security consultant to Karachi and getting PCB (Pakistan Cricket Board) security to work with him we are just exploring avenues how to make it safer.'' The two teams have discussed moving the game to Lahore although Pakistan are worried about the impact a change in venue would have on future tours.

''If the match is shifted we are concerned it could have adverse effects on tours by other teams in the coming months,'' said PCB chief operating officer Shafqat Naghmi.

South Africa are 2-1 down in the five-match series. The fourth game is in Multan on Friday.

REUTERS TB PM2155

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