Pakistan to buy bulletproof buses for cricket teams


Pakistani cricket chiefs have approved the purchase of bulletproof buses as part of efforts to persuade foreign teams to return the country.

Pakistani police gather beside the wreckage of a police van after masked gunmen attacked the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore on March 3 2009. (AFP)

No international team has played in Pakistan since the March 2009 attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team bus in Lahore, which left eight people dead and seven visiting players wounded.

But the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) hopes internationals could be revived as early as next year following the successful staging of two exhibition matches in Karachi involving an International World XI in Karachi at the weekend.

The PCB governing board met in Abbottabad – the garrison town north of Islamabad where Osama bin Laden was killed in a US raid last year – to agree to buy the armoured transport.

"To ensure best security protocols for the international teams, the board unanimously approved the purchase of bulletproof buses to enable the PCB to achieve higher security measures for the visiting teams," a PCB release said.

The board was also updated on the construction of a stadium in Islamabad, which would also have accommodation facilities for the teams in order to provide them better security.

"This stadium, when complete, with a capacity of 50 000, will be the biggest cricket stadium in Pakistan. For this purpose the PCB has already taken over a piece of land measuring 14 hectares in Islamabad," the release said. The board is hoping the new ground and hotel complex will be ready for use next year. – AFP

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