NATIONAL

Pakistan to issue over 8,000 visas to cricket fans

ISLAMABAD, FEB. 26. Pakistan will issue over 8,250 visas to Indian cricket fans for the India-Pakistan cricket series beginning on March 10.

The Pakistan Interior secretary, Tasneem Noorani, has been quoted as telling reporters in Karachi that the decision was taken at a meeting attended by the Foreign Secretary, Riaz Khokar, the Pakistan Cricket Board chairman, Shaharyar Khan, and officials of the Interior Ministry. The meeting also reviewed the security arrangements.

The first of the five one-day internationals is scheduled at Karachi for March 13. The remaining matches will be held at Rawalpindi (March 16), Peshawar (March 19) and Lahore (March 21 and 23).

Mr. Noorani said that the Ministry had worked out the details with the PCB for issue of visas to the Indian fans. The PCB is expecting a large number of visitors from across the border for the series and has received a very good response on the websites through which tickets went on sale on Wednesday.

He said that 2,500 visas each would be issued for the two one-day games in Lahore, 1,500 for Karachi, 1,000 for Rawalpindi and 750 for Peshawar. "The fans will first buy the tickets through the PCB sites and then produce the confirmation of their booking to our consulate in New Delhi to get visas," he said.

The issue had figured at the meeting of India-Pakistan Foreign Secretaries here.