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Pak's good show in WC will benefit country: interior minister

world Updated: Feb 19, 2011 10:20 IST
Rehman Malik

Pakistan's interior minister Rehman Malik believes that a good performance from the national team in the World Cup will pave the way for foreign teams to return to Pakistan.

Malik said cricket was the lifeline for majority of Pakistanis and they were expecting a lot from the team in the World Cup.

"We have faced many issues in the last one year but I think this is the time for our team to do well and give joy to people. Their good performances will also play a role in eventually convincing foreign teams to play in Pakistan," Malik told reporters at the Islamabad sports complex.

Assuring full security, Malik said he would invite the foreign teams to start visiting Pakistan again.

"I assure them of full proof security if they come to Pakistan. Cricket is the passion for so many Pakistanis and a unifying factor. It is important for us to have international cricket at home," he said when asked how it felt to see Pakistan not hosting World Cup matches.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) moved away 14 matches of the World Cup from Pakistan in 2009 after militants attacked the Sri Lankan team in Lahore earlier in March the same year.

Six Pakistani policemen and a van driver were killed in the attack, which also led to teams refusing to tour Pakistan because of security concerns.

Since then Pakistan has played its "home" series at neutral venues.

The interior minister hoped that the national team would not disappoint their fans in the World Cup which was a big event.

"I hope they do well. These cricketers also have to play the role of our ambassadors in the World Cup and whenever they play abroad," he noted.

Though Pakistan is not one of the World Cup hosts but a World Cup frenzy has already started in the country with television channels giving great hype to the event, major companies using the World Cup to launch special campaigns and shopkeepers making money by selling unofficial and official merchandise of the World Cup.