Pakistan cricketer Rahatullah gunned down

Published: Friday, February 15, 2008, 3:35 [IST]
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Lahore: Pakistan's promising young seamer Rahatullah was gunned down by unknown assailants in Peshawar on Tuesday.

Rahatullah, a right-arm seamer of Pakistan U-19 side, was shot dead on his way to Arbab Niaz Stadium to join his NWFP squad for a provincial match, reports Urdu daily Jang.

Peshwar-based 18-year-old budding paceman had toured with Pak Colts to India and Australia last year.

It is not known who was responsible for Rahatullah's death in the volatile area of the country but the news will further unsettle Cricket Australia, which has indicated it will pull out of the tour if it believes its players are not safe.

CA and the Australian Cricketers' Association will wait until after Monday's scheduled elections in Pakistan before sending a delegation to assess security arrangements there, but Australian captain Ricky Ponting said he and his teammates were worried about the tour's going ahead.

"There is no doubt at all that in our dressing room there are some concerns, and anybody that would be touring Pakistan at the moment, whether they be a cricketer or a day-to-day citizen, would have concerns," Ponting said.

Some Australian players have reportedly vowed to boycott the tour if CA rules the tour will go ahead, although CA, the ACA and player managers played down that threat.

Meanwhile PCB has given reassurance and offered complete support to the aggrieved family of late U-19s cricketer.

The Chairman PCB, Dr Nasim Ashraf had a telephonic contact with the father of late Rahatullah on Tuesday. Dr Ashraf extended his heartfelt condolences and reassured him that the Board would provide full support to the family in the whole investigation process ensuring that a prompt and just action is taken against the assailants who are at this point, unknown.

The Chairman also instructed the PCB"s regional representative Anwar Zeb to visit the family of Rahatullah and hand over an amount of Rs 100,000 to meet their urgent needs. Since the late cricketer was included in the list of twenty getting the regional retainership from PCB, the Chairman has also instructed the management to continue disbursing the monthly compensation to his family till the time his one-year contract expires.


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