Abbottabad removed as venue of Pak-Afghanistan series

Lahore: A day after announcing that Abbottabad, where Al-Qaida terrorist Osama bin Laden was killed by US forces, would host a One-day match against Afghanistan, the PCB on Thursday dropped the town from the itinerary of the cricket series.

The PCB announced a revised itinerary for the tour and replaced Abbottabad with Islamabad.

The PCB decision of allotting the match to Abbottabad had raised eyebrows with many questioning the wisdom behind such a decision.

The sleepy town was a small holiday resort till early this month but became popular worldwide after Osama bin Laden`s killing.

The decision to change the itinerary came after PCB Chairman Ijaz Butt met with the interior minister Rehman Malik in Islamabad.

"Apparently Malik advised Butt that it would be difficult to ensure foolproof security for the teams in Abbottabad plus the match would attract unwarranted attention because of the Osama incident," one well informed source said.

The Afghanistan team will now play its first match on May 25 at Islamabad followed by the second at Rawalpindi on May 27 and the third and final game against the Pakistan A side at Faisalabad on May 29.

The tour by the Afghanistan team has assumed significance because they are the first foreign team, which will play representative matches in Pakistan since the attack on the Sri Lankan team in March 2009.

That attack, which left six Pakistani policemen and a van driver dead and five Sri Lankan players wounded, isolated the country as an international venue and since then no team has toured the country because of security and safety concerns.