Terrorists may attack cricketers in India too: Nasim Ashraf

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/p/pcb-logo.jpg' class='caption'> The attack on the Sri Lankan players is part of a bigger conspiracy to isolate Pakistan in international cricket, feels former PCB chief Nasim Ashraf.

Updated: March 14, 2009 16:13 IST
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The attack on the Sri Lankan players in Lahore is part of a bigger conspiracy to isolate Pakistan in international cricket and if the terrorists succeed in their mission, they would carry out similar operations in India and other Asian countries, fears former Pakistan Cricket Board Chairman Nasim Ashraf.

Ashraf said if Asian countries, particularly India, didn't support Pakistan cricket at this critical juncture, terrorists could also try to target cricket in their countries to scare away foreign teams and players.

"The attack on the Sri Lankan team in Lahore is clearly a part of a bigger conspiracy by elements to isolate Pakistan as a sporting nation. There is no guarantee that they will not target other Asian countries as well," said Ashraf who resigned as the PCB Chairman in August last year.

"If such elements succeed in their aim of turning Pakistan into a no-go country for foreign teams in terms of security, there is no guarantee they will not try to do the same with India as well and try to scare teams away from playing in India," he said.

Ashraf said it was imperative for India and other Asian countries to support Pakistan and ensure that the 2011 World Cup matches were not shifted out of the country.

"If India and other Asian countries stand by Pakistan cricket I have no doubt it will not be long before international cricket is revived in Pakistan but it will take at least 12 to 18 months for this to happen.

"I would advise the Pakistan board to concentrate on keeping their share of the World Cup matches and for this intense lobbying and a government diplomatic offensive is required," he said.

Ashraf said PCB must now start working with the International Cricket Council on preparing a uniform security plan which is acceptable to all countries.

"Pakistan needs to take steps to ease apprehensions about the security among other countries and India can play its role in helping Pakistan do this," he added.

He said despite the political tensions between India and Pakistan, it was necessary for both cricket boards to work together to ensure the subcontinent does not become a no-go area in international cricket.

Ashraf also called on the government to hold an impartial inquiry into the incident with the Sri Lankan team and spare no effort to bring the culprits to justice.

"And if security mistakes were made we must admit them and ensure they don't happen again," he added.

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