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PCB to arrange ICC task force, Pakistan premier meeting

Pakistan might even meet premier Gillani in mid-August to get his assurance on top class security measures.

cricket Updated: Jul 31, 2008 21:47 IST

Pakistani cricket officials will try to arrange a meeting between International Cricket Council 's (ICC) special task force and Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gillani next month in their bid to pave the way for a successful Champions Trophy in September.

According to a report in 'The News' Thursday, a special task force has been formed by the ICC to help allay security fears surrounding the Champions Trophy.

Pakistan might even meet premier Gillani in mid-August to get his assurance on top class security measures.

The paper quoted a senior Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) official as saying that the Board is considering to arrange a meeting of the task force with the premier "if possible" to show its members that there is complete government commitment for a "safe and successful" Champions Trophy.

"The task force will be meeting top-level government officials on its visit to Pakistan and if possible we will also arrange for a meeting with the Prime Minister," said Shafqat Naghmi, PCB's chief operating officer.

The dates of the task force's visit to Pakistan are yet to be ascertained but it is expected that this high-powered delegation would come here in the middle of August.

The eight-member task force was appointed by the ICC after a teleconference earlier this month to oversee the security situation in Pakistan ahead of the Champions Trophy.

The task forcet is headed by David Morgan, the ICC president and includes Sharad Pawar, the ICC vice-president, Haroon Lorgat, ICC's chief executive, IS Bindra, ICC's principal advisor,

Tim May, the chief executive of the Federation of International Cricketers' Association (FICA), representatives from the event's broadcasters and the ICC's security consultants.

The task force was formed earlier this month after the ICC decided to go ahead with the Champions Trophy in Pakistan in spite of concerns over security from the boards of Australia, England and New Zealand.

The decision was greeted with protests from various players' associations and there were warnings that top players, fearing for their safety, could boycott the tournament if it is allowed to go ahead in Pakistan.

The task force's primary job is to ensure that ample measures are taken for the safety of the players.

Naghmi said that Pakistan would play its due role in assuaging those fears.
"We are already doing our homework for the trip (of the special task force)," said Naghmi. "Once the dates are confirmed by the ICC, we will start setting up a series of meetings between the task force and top officials from the interior ministry and the security agencies," he added.

Naghmi said that Pakistan will leave no stone unturned in their bid to hold a successful Champions Trophy.

"We are working overtime to deliver a memorable Champions Trophy," he said adding that the PCB has the backing from the government.

"We are very fortunate that the government is totally behind us," he said pointing out that president Pervez Musharraf - PCB's chief patron - and Gillani have both thrown their weight behind the Board.

Members of the task force will be meeting Rehman Malik, the Prime Minister's security advisor and other top-ranking officials. Their visit could end with a meeting with Gillani.

"We want to send a clear signal to the cricket world that every possible measure is being taken to make the Champions Trophy a grand success," concluded Naghmi.