Pakistan threatens boycott after Aussies cancel tour

Published: Friday, August 9, 2002, 23:53 [IST]
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Islamabad: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Friday revived threats to boycott Australia after the Aussies cancelled a tour of Pakistan in October over security fears.

"We are deeply disappointed and feel that it's a decision enforced on the Australian Board by their government, foreign office and High Commission (embassy) in Pakistan," PCB chairman Lieutenant General Tauqir Zia told reporters. "Now we will consider all our options including a boycott." The Australian Cricket Board (ACB) announced earlier Friday that it had cancelled the tour on fears for players' safety after a string of attacks on Westerners in Pakistan. ACB chairman Bob Merriman said that recent advice from a range of Australian government sources had clearly identified an increasing security risk for the Australian team in Pakistan. Zia responded, "I don't know what I would have done had I been in the ACB's shoes but we could have provided them the security comfort." He warned, "We will activate the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) to consider an Asian boycott (of Australia)." Asia's four Test-playing nations - India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh - signed an agreement in Sharjah in April vowing to boycott any country that refuses to tour any one of them. The PCB chief last week first threatened to lead an Asian boycott of Australia if the October tour failed to go ahead. But he later played down the threat. "Nobody in Pakistan would have hit the Australians," Zia added Friday. "By cancelling the tour you are bowing against terrorism." The security concerns were heightened further on Friday by a grenade attack on a chapel at a Christian hospital in which at least three Pakistani medical staff were killed. The incident followed an attack Monday on a Christian school for the children of foreign aid workers, which prompted fears that foreigners may continue to be targeted by political extremists. In calling off the tour, Australia hinted they would be willing to play Pakistan at a neutral venue. "Since our President Pervez Musharraf was also involved in the matter we would take any advice from him on playing at a neutral venue," Zia said.

ACB cancels Pak tour in wake of fresh attack

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