Oz professor warns against Pak tour

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Melbourne, Feb 10 (UNI) Giving the thumbs-down to the proposed tour to Pakistan, Professor Clive Williams of Macquarie University's Centre for Policing, Intelligence and Counter-Terrorism warned Cricket Australia (CA) its players might become a target for attacks in the troubled South Asian nation.

''It is a fairly volatile situation in Pakistan at the moment,'' Williams said, adding that the involment of Australian troops in the war in Afghanistan could mean Ricky Ponting's men will become a target for possible attacks.

''It is not really clear where things will go. I don't think it would be advisable to go, it would be very dangerous. We have got troops in Afghanistan, and while Pakistan are cricket lovers, one way to create news and instability would be to target foreign visitors, especially given we have got an involvement in the war,'' Williams was quoted as saying by the Sydney Morning Herald.

The CA is due to send a mission to Pakistan to review the security situation and decide whether the proposed tour will get the green light or not.

''The security issues in Pakistan are not the fault of the PCB.

They are keen to go to every length they can to ensure this series goes ahead, and we have got nothing but absolute respect for them.

But we cannot go there if our advice tells us it would not be safe to do so,'' Cricket Australia Spokesman Peter Young said.

The Australian tour of Pakistan, scheduled to start in March, was thrown into uncertainty after the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto triggered widespread violence in the South Asian country.

UNI XC AB RS1425

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