KARACHI: Pakistan will host two friendly matches against Palestinian footballers in hopes of reviving international sport in the country, hit hard by Taliban and Al Qaeda-linked violence, an official said Saturday.
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International sportsmen stopped coming to Pakistan after gunmen attacked the Sri Lankan cricket team bus in Lahore in March 2009, killing eight Pakistanis and wounding seven of the visiting players, and their assistant coach.
Pakistan Football Federation secretary Ahmed Lodhi said: “We are delighted to host Palestine for two friendly matches between October 14-18 and hope that the tour will send a good message to the world that our country is safe for international sports.”
Lodhi said the visit followed a Palestinian tour last year involving two matches against a Pakistan Under-22 team.
“It is a good sign that teams have found Pakistan a safe place and we look forward to hosting more teams in the future,” said Lodhi.