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South Africa continue tour after Karachi blasts

LAHORE, Oct 19 (Reuters) South Africa will continue their cricket tour of Pakistan despite the twin blasts today that killed 133 people in a rally for former premier Benazir Bhutto in Karachi.

Bhutto's motorcade was attacked as it edged through hundreds of thousands of well-wishers who had gathered to welcome her back after years of self-imposed exile. Bhutto was unhurt by the deadliest bombing in Pakistan's violent history.

South Africa's manager Logan Naidoo told a news conference that the team were satisfied with security arrangements for them, but reserved the right to review the situation if needed.

''We are satisfied so far. The security arrangements put in place are pleasing and acceptable to the South African team,'' Naidoo said.

''So we will definitely continue the tour, but we will be keeping tabs on what is happening in the country for rest of the tour.

''If anything changes, we will meet again with the PCB (Pakistan Cricket Board) and security officials and reassess our position and then we will make a decision if anything has to be changed.'' Sources in the Pakistan board said there was a possibility of South Africa wanting the final one-day international at Karachi on Oct 29 shifted to another venue.

The sources said South Africa, who have four more one-day games in Lahore (October 20), Faisalabad (October 23), Multan (October 26) and Karachi wanted the last match shifted to Lahore.

Zakir Khan, director of cricket operations of the PCB, said the tour would continue as planned and that there would be no change in the itinerary including the Karachi match.

But later he confirmed that a high-level meeting would be held in the capital with top government officials in Islamabad tomorrow to discuss the situation in Karachi.

''Any discussions on the Karachi situation would be known by tomorrow evening,'' Khan said.

Naidoo said the team came to Pakistan knowing the security situation well and knew there would be no free movement for them and that they had to be security conscious.

''Our own security people visited Pakistan and are continuously with us and keep us posted all the time. Nothing has changed but they have raised the security levels,'' Naidoo said.


Story first published: Friday, October 19, 2007, 20:09 [IST]
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