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Pakistan Allows Cricket Team To Play In India After Safety Guaranteed

Pakistan on March 11 cleared the national cricket team to participate in the World Twenty20 tournament after host India addressed concerns about the safety of Pakistani players.

Pakistan had delayed the team's departure for India earlier this week, citing threats against players from Hindu religious extremists. Uncertainty about whether Pakistan would participate threatened to further sour relations between the south Asian rivals.

Pakistan had said its men's and women's teams would travel to India only after New Delhi gave a public guarantee of their safety.

The much-anticipated March 19 clash with India was shifted to Kolkata after Pakistan raised security concerns over the original venue, Dharamsala.

Outside of international tournaments, cricket matches between the two countries have been suspended since gunmen killed 166 people in Mumbai in 2008, a rampage which India blames on Pakistani militants.

Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Shaharyar Khan told reporters in Lahore that the cricketers were given the option to pull out if they felt any security threat, but all 15 squad members wanted to play.

"We want cricketing ties to remain active... Our hope is that our cricketing relations [with India] remain intact," he said.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP

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