Lahore, Jul 12 (UNI) Former captain Aamir Sohail has urged President Pervez Musharraf to convince Australia, New Zealand and England to go ahead with their scheduled tour of Pakistan for the Champions Trophy after several players expressed their concern over security in the country.
Even though Pakistan recently hosted a successful Asia Cup, the dilemma, however, continues as players have been expressing their reluctance to tour the strife-torn nation.
A deadly suicide blast in Rawalpindi, one of three venues for the Champions Trophy to be played between September 11-28, has not helped the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) either.
Sohail said Musharraf a patron of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) - must play a ''lead'' role and speak to his counterparts in the competing countries.
''I feel it is the duty of the president to speak to individual countries and convince them to come over and play in Pakistan where there are no safety problems,'' Sohail said.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) earlier this week said it is awaiting a security report on the Asia Cup and is following a process during which they would not compromise the safety of players.
Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds has already said that he was yet to be convinced that Pakistan would be a safe venue for the Champions Trophy.
''My feelings haven't changed a great deal,'' said Symonds, who first raised objections about Australia's scheduled Test tour of Pakistan in April, which was eventually postponed following a wave of suicide bombings.
''I don't mind the odd game of cricket for Australia, but it is only a game at the end of the day, and putting yourself in a position where you're not safe, to me is ridiculous,'' Symonds said.
Sohail claimed that Pakistan was paying the price of being at the forefront of the war against terrorism.
''What is happening in our country is basically the result of Pakistan leading this war against terror,'' said Sohail.
The former left-handed batsman, who played 47 Tests and 156 one-day matches for Pakistan added that, ''Countries such as Australia and England are our allies in the war on terror, yet they are not supporting us here,'' He further made a point saying that, ''if the tournament isn't held here because of these reasons it will be a really sad day for Pakistan cricket,'' adding, ''it is an unfair price for us to pay.'' UNI XC RAR DS1148