ICC to continue to monitor security in Pakistan

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Lahore, Jun 19 (UNI) Giving an all-clear signal to Pakistan for hosting the Champions trophy this year, the International Cricket Council (ICC) said it will continue to monitor security for the next few months in the troubled nation.

''At this point of time we are comfortable with the decision that Pakistan has the ability to host the Champions Trophy but we will continue to monitor security as it is fluid like anywhere in the world,'' ICC acting chief executive Dave Richardson said yesterday ahead of the launching ceremony of the biennial event which Pakistan hosts from September 11-28.

The ICC last month assessed the security arrangements in Lahore, Karachi and Rawalpindi which will host the matches and a report will be put before its board meeting starting in Dubai on June 29.

However, Richardson said if things do change over the next few months the tournament could be staged somewhere else.

''It is impossible to say that any country would be the final to host an event.

''Things can change and I think it is wrong to say that there is any question of a deadline but our board will take a decision on that,'' Richardson said.

Touring Pakistan has been a security concern for several foreign teams, especially Australia which postponed its March-April tour this year after a series of suicide bomb blasts.

Richardson, a former South African wicketkeeper-batsman, admitted that there might still be security concerns in Pakistan.

''I think that it is safe to say that there may be some players, organisations and member countries who might express some concerns from time to time over the safety situation in Pakistan,'' he said.

''It must be remembered that safety and security of players, teams, official and spectators is always the concern of the ICC.

This one is no exception, the ICC will take no chance on safety and security of those stakeholders,'' he added.

Meanwhile, PCB chief operating officer Shafqat Naghmi said Pakistan would do every bit to ensure a successful tournament.

''The Pakistan government has promised foolproof security arrangements, so we are up to it and since people are passionate about cricket, the event will be well attended and successful,'' said Naghmi.

In case the tournament has to be shifted from Pakistan, Sri Lanka is the alternate venue.

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