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Tight security for Indian players

The Pakistani police are keeping a strict vigil on extremist elements to ensure that the much-awaited cricket series between the arch-rivals goes off smoothly.

india Updated: Mar 11, 2004 17:22 IST

Throwing a tight security cordon around the Indian cricket team, the Pakistan police are keeping a strict vigil on extremist elements to ensure that the much-awaited cricket series between the arch-rivals goes off smoothly.

Although no threats have been received from any terrorist organisation, the police were not taking any chances for a trouble-free series.

"We have not received any threats but we are keeping a vigil on terrorist elements. We do not expect any trouble right through the series. The security agencies are alert," Inspector General of Police Syed Masud Shah told reporters here today.

He said all the security arrangements were in place by the time the Indian cricket team got down at the airport yesterday.

Giving details of the security arrangements, Shah said more than 2600 personnel will be deployed for the one-dayers and Test match in Lahore while 3400 personnel will be on duty for the engagements in Rawalpindi.

About 3000 security men, including plainclothesmen, will be deployed in other venues like Peshawar and Multan.

"The reason why we have deployed more security men for the Rawalpindi matches is because the Indian team will be staying in Islamabad. We have to keep our men at two places", he said.

Shah also said the Indian cricketers were at liberty to go out of their hotel rooms for sight-seeing at various venues.

"The players are at liberty to go out of their hotels. But they just have to inform us so that we can make the necessary arrangements," the IG said.

Shah said he will be meeting Harshvardhan Azad, the chief security officer accompanying the Indian team, during the day.

"My officers have met him and discussed the arrangements. I will meet him and allay any fears lurking in their minds".

On allegations that the police often allow their own men to enter the grounds, Shah said, "I have purchased my own tickets for the matches. Nobody will be allowed to get in without a ticket. Police is not going to have a free lunch."

Asked what would be the estimated cost for the security cover, he said, "It is all within our budget. There is no extra budget."

First Published: Mar 11, 2004 17:22 IST