India-Pakistan series not far away, Khar says
Abu Dhabi: Pakistan Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar wants an India-Pakistan cricket series to be held at the earliest opportunity. She even revealed that India is very enthusiastic to play this series.
Khar, who strongly believes that cricket can bring peace and friendship between the two countries, is on a mission to ensure that this series happens at the earliest through talks with the Indian government
Khar, who was at the Zayed Cricket Stadium for the third Twenty20 match between Pakistan and England on Monday, said: "We have been talking about cricket's return to Pakistan especially with India. Our prime minister has always talked about the resumption and India is also very enthusiastic.
"The only problem is scheduling and that is why there have been problems. We have always believed in cricket diplomacy, and there is a harmony in cultures of both the countries. We both are good at cricket and people on both the sides love the game. Pakistan is bonded by cricket and we need that unity at the moment."
When asked whether conditions are conducive for return of international teams to play in Pakistan, Khar said: "I think the conditions are as conducive as anywhere else. You must have seen that the situation in Pakistan has improved considerably in the last few months. It is a fact that 2009 and 2008 were bad years but in 2011 and 2012 a lot of normalcy has come back. I don't think there is as much of a security risk as is perceived.
Khar went on to mention that cricket being a high-profile event needs more security.
"International polo players come to Pakistan and they go unnoticed and that is why they can afford to come. The high profile of cricket obviously makes the difference. For cricketers we can provide the type of security that is required. Cricket plays a huge role in bringing people of both the countries together," she said.
Khar also revealed that all efforts are being made by the Pakistan Cricket Board for resumption of the India series.
"The PCB chairman has written letters to India and when I was in India I noticed a great deal of keenness on the part of India and the International Cricket Council.
"I remember that Manmohan Singh even said that it is a great way to go and if both the governments feel it's a great way then we should go that way. Let me clearly articulate that Pakistan government not only supports but also is pushing so that international cricket could be played among all countries."