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'Ireland interest in Pakistan tour'

Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Shaharyar Khan claims Ireland are interested in a tour of the country as the nation marks the sixth anniversary of the attack on a Sri Lankan team bus.

On March 3, 2009, a terrorist attack in Lahore on the Sri Lanka team bus left six police officers and a driver dead and several players and officials injured.

Pakistan have since been banned from hosting international teams and instead play their home games in neutral venues in the United Arab Emirates.

Hopes are slowly being raised of a lift in sanctions, though, after Afghanistan and Kenya sent teams in 2013 and 2014 respectively, with Ireland seemingly keen to tour although Shaharyar claimed the Netherlands were hanging back over a planned trip.

In quotes published on www.pcb.com.pk, Shaharyar told reporters: "We are trying our best to get top teams in - top 10 teams. I have been told by some teams that if one or two make the trip then they too will follow suit.

"The way to open doors is that we bring small Associate teams. With Netherlands, it was around 90 per cent confirmed they will come but that disaster that happened in Lahore (an attack on a police station in mid-February), for that reason they held back saying they can't come now. So Netherlands stalled.

"Ireland are interested, Namibia want to come, Kenya have come, Afghanistan have come, and in this way we are trying to get Nepal to come over as well.

"If Associate members come, God willing the doors will open slowly. People will know our stadiums and the accommodation are secure. The hope is that those (top 10) teams will start coming.

"Even Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are saying they are ready to send their Under-19 and A teams."

It was also announced that Pakistan chief cricket selector Moin Khan has not been removed from his duties despite the controversy surrounding his visit to a casino in New Zealand.

Moin was ordered back to Pakistan and an inquiry ordered into the events in Christchurch, although he claimed he had simply visited the place to have lunch with his wife and friends.

Shaharyar said: "M oin met me today, we spoke for around half-an-hour, 40 minutes. I asked him to clarify what exactly happened.

"He told me he went (to the casino), there was a restaurant there. He sat down with his wife and there were probably one or two friends with them. They went there and ate food, and after eating food they came back to the hotel. They did not gamble or do anything like that - neither him nor his wife.

"He admitted to me that he made a mistake, that it was inappropriate he went to a casino to eat food. He said he has admitted to that and also that he has apologised to the nation and everyone for the trouble caused.

"He should have taken care and not gone to a place like that which may cause embarrassment - embarrassment to him, to me, and even it caused a sensation (in Pakistan). He admitted he made a mistake and he apologised.

"The status quo remains. He is the chief selector, he is not going back to Australia. After the World Cup is finished we will deliberate over many things."

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