Federal Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed has said that a bomb explosion in Lahore’s New Anarkali Market was likely aimed at disrupting the seventh edition of the Pakistan Super League and the upcoming visit by the Australian team.
However, Pakistan will provide foolproof security to the cricketers, he said.
The PLS7 commence on January 27 while the Australian tour has been planned for March-April this year.
The Aussies will be touring Pakistan after 24 years to play three test matches, three one-day internationals and a Twenty20 international. The matches will be played in Karachi, Lahore and Rawalpindi.
Speaking exclusively to SAMAA TV’s Abbas Shabbir, Sheikh Rasheed said cricket teams were being offered elaborate security with the help of the Pakistan Army, Rangers and other forces.
The enemy is trying to destabilize Pakistan after peace has returned to the country, he said.
“One of the motives behind the blast could be to create obstacles for the PSL and the Australian visit but we would not let that happen.”
He said that Pakistan would defeat terrorists as it did in the past.
In response to a question about the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Rasheed said that the Afghan Taliban desired a negotiated settlement between Pakistan and the TTP but it has not happened yet. The doors for the talks have not been closed but the ceasefire has also ended, the interior minister said.
Rasheed, a seasoned politician, said he was unaware of the rumours that a new presidential form of government would be introduced in Pakistan.
He said Imran Khan will complete his five-year term.
At least three people, including a nine-year-old boy, were killed and 26 wounded in a bomb explosion in New Anarkali Market on Thursday.