India should visit Pakistan to defeat terrorism, says PCB chief

By Omar Khalid,IANS,

Karachi : Pakistan’s cricket chief Ijaz Butt Friday urged India to travel to Pakistan for the Test and ODI series and not succumb to the terror attacks in both countries.

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“I must say that India should come here and play the series. That would be a clear message to the terrorists that they will never win,” Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Butt told reporters here Friday condemning the terrorist attacks in Mumbai.

Butt said the final decision over India’s tour of Pakistan in Jan-Feb next year now rests with the governments of the two countries.

“I condemn the terrorist attacks in Mumbai and I am sad over the tragic loss of lives there,” Butt said.

The PCB chief was scheduled to visit India Dec 2 to convince them to play the series but has cancelled the trip in the wake of the Mumbai attacks.

“We were very confident before what happened in Mumbai that India will come here for the series but things have changed,” he said.

“Nothing is in the control of the two cricket boards because it’s now up to the governments of Pakistan and India to decide (the fate of the tour),” he stressed.

India is scheduled to tour Pakistan from Jan 5 to play three Tests, five One-day Internationals and a Twenty20 International. But the tour has been in doubt for the last few weeks because of security apprehensions.

Butt said that Pakistan desperately wants to hosts India and said that as a last resort, was even willing to shift the series to offshore venues.

“We are aware that playing at offshore venue will result in heavy losses but our boys need to play against top teams. We can’t go on playing weaker teams like Zimbabwe and Bangladesh,” he said referring to the fact that Pakistan has played most of their cricket in 2008 against lower-ranked teams.

Butt, a former Pakistan Test opener, said that he would be meeting Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president Shashank Manohar on the sidelines of the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) meeting Dec 5 in Colombo to discuss the home series against India. Butt will formally take over as the president of the ACC during the Colombo meeting.