ICC postpone women's World Cup qualifiers in Pakistan

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KARACHI, Nov 6 (Reuters) Security concerns have persuaded the International Cricket Council (ICC) to postpone women's World Cup qualifiers in Lahore this month, officials said today.

Malcolm Speed, the ICC chief executive, said in a statement it was deeply regrettable that the ICC had to take the decision.

''However the heightened state of tension within the country over the past few days represents a change in circumstances that we have to duty to consider,'' he said.

''Safety and security of all participants is a priority and on the basis of independent advice we have received as well as the material concerns expressed by many of the participating countries we concluded it is not appropriate to stage the tournament at this time.'' Pakistan's military ruler President Pervez Musharraf declared a state of emergency at the weekend and detained hundreds of political opponents.

The qualifiers for next year's World Cup in Australia were due to be held from November. 19 to 25 with the Netherlands, South Africa, Scotland, Zimbabwe, Papua New Guinea, Ireland, Bermuda and Pakistan taking part.

Earlier this week, an ICC delegation visiting Lahore for an assessment visit ahead of the 2008 Champions Trophy in Pakistan cut short their visit and said they would return later.

REUTERS AB RK2310

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