Page last updated at 12:39 GMT, Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Bangladesh sports tours on hold

Bangladesh batsman Junaid Siddique
Bangladesh want to rearrange the Pakistan tour for later in the year

Bangladesh has indefinitely postponed all tours by foreign sports teams because of security concerns.

The government says it is still trying to deal with the aftermath of a bloody border guard mutiny last month and cannot guarantee security.

The move means a cricket tour by Pakistan due is indefinitely postponed.

The tour was due to begin at the end of this month but dates were put on hold after an attack on Sri Lanka's cricket team in the Pakistani city of Lahore.

'Hunting rebels'

Sports Minister Ahad Ali Sarkar said late on Tuesday that the government had put on hold tours by foreign sports teams because all security resources were focused on the investigation and manhunt after the mutiny.

"We have had to suspend the [Pakistan] tour for the time being because of security concerns," the AFP news agency quoted Mr Sarkar as saying.

"Our law enforcement agencies are at the moment hunting rebels wanted for last month's mutiny in Dhaka so it's not possible for us to give fool-proof security to the Pakistani cricket team," he said.

Mourners in Dhaka
Bangladesh's government has been shaken by the mutiny

At least 74 people were killed in the mutiny. Hundreds of guardsmen were later arrested, but hundreds more are still sought.

The Pakistan team had been scheduled to play two Twenty20 matches and five one-day internationals in Bangladesh.

"The Bangladesh Cricket Board is trying to work out a new schedule with the Pakistani cricket authorities," board spokesman Rabeed Imam told AFP.

Reports suggested that may be some time between October and December.

Pakistan captain Younus Khan said he was very disappointed by the decision.

"It is a great setback especially when we needed practice for the Australia series," he said, AFP reported.

"We had some newcomers in the team for Bangladesh who we wanted to try out."


Bangladesh's government says it suspects that the mutiny by the Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) was not a simple revolt over pay, as the mutineers themselves said, but perhaps part of a wider conspiracy.

The rebels surrendered after 33 hours but they killed at least 56 of their officers, including their commander. His wife and a number of other officers' wives were also killed.

Correspondents say the government has undoubtedly been shaken by the mutiny.

The army has stepped up security at about a dozen strategic buildings in Dhaka, including the official residence of the prime minister.

The government has also asked the FBI to investigate whether the soldiers who mutinied had links to any foreign groups.

The BBC's Mark Dummett in Dhaka says the decision to postpone the Pakistan tour is another blow for cricket in South Asia following the Lahore attack.

Up to 14 militants shot dead six policemen and a driver and injured eight Sri Lankan Tour members in the attack.

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