Abu Dhabi:Former captain Ramiz Raja urged India to send its cricket team to Pakistan, saying the two countries need each other's backing.
India is scheduled to visit Pakistan for three Tests, five one-day internationals and a Twenty20 between January and February next year but the tour is already in doubt over security fears in the host country.
The cancellation of a low-profile Indian junior hockey team increased doubts over the high-profile cricket series, revived four years ago after a break caused by political tensions.
Raja, now a widely travelled television commentator, believed the security situation was acceptable.
"I see it as a tough situation for not only Pakistan but for world cricket but frankly speaking the security situation in major Pakistan cities like Lahore and Karachi is not that bad, so I think Indian must tour," Raja told AFP.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Thursday said it may consider shifting the series to the neutral United Arab Emirates or England if the Indian government were to block the tour -- an option Raja described as negative.
"Shifting the India series will have multiple effects, more negative because neutral Tests are dead as there is no public interest and the charm of an Indo-Pak match is that their public savour it.
"Shifting will also set a wrong precedent for other teams who are already reluctant on touring Pakistan so India must back Pakistan as they have backed us on the Champions Trophy and we lent support on the Indian Cricket League issue."
The International Cricket Council (ICC) was forced to put off September's elite eight-nation Champions Trophy in Pakistan after South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and England raised security fears.
The ICC rescheduled the event for September and October next year but said Pakistan's home series against India would be a test for the host country to stage the elite event.
Pakistan has been considered a danger zone by foreign teams since the 9-11 attacks on the Unites States in 2001. Pakistan had to relocate its two home series -- against the West Indies and Australia -- to neutral venues in 2002.
Raja, then a member of the PCB Council, defended the move six years ago.
"We were forced to shift the series because there was a financial crunch at that time. Now if the board has money in their coffers then it would not be wise to shift the series," said Raja.
The Abu Dhabi Cricket Council and the England and Wales Cricket Board have already offered to host Pakistan's series.