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Pakistan drops Abbottabad as match venue

The Pakistan Cricket Board has decided against holding a match in a coming one-day series against Afghanistan at Abbottabad, the town where Osama bin Laden was killed earlier this month, it said today.

cricket Updated: May 19, 2011 23:12 IST

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has decided against holding a match in a coming one-day series against Afghanistan at Abbottabad, the town where Osama bin Laden was killed earlier this month, it said on Thursday.

The PCB said on Wednesday that Abbottabad would host the third match of the Pakistan A and Afghanistan series on May 29, but reversed its decision after chairman Ijaz Butt met with interior minister Rehman Malik.

Abbottabad, a sleepy garrison town, became the focus of worldwide media attention after US forces killed al Qaeda leader bin Laden in a late night raid on May 2.

"It made no sense to anyone given the focus of the world media on the town and because of the security issues involved in it," said Mian Azmat Hussain, a senior official in the Karachi City Cricket Association.

The PCB chief met with Malik to discuss security arrangements for the coming series.

"The itinerary of Afghanistan national team tour to Pakistan has been rescheduled. The new itinerary is (the) first match at Islamabad on May 25, second match at Rawalpindi on May 27 and third match on May 29 at Faisalabad," the PCB said in a statement.

The PCB gave no reasons for the decision to drop Abbottabad as a venue but a PCB source told Reuters the decision was taken on the advice of the interior minister.

"They were some security issues and it was felt it would be better if Afghanistan played in Islamabad instead of Abbottabad," the source said.

Afghanistan is the first foreign team to play an official match in Pakistan since militants attacked the Sri Lankan team in Lahore in March 2009.

Six Pakistani policemen and a van driver were killed and five Sri Lankan players wounded.