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New tour of Pakistan announced -

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ELEANOR HALL: The Australian Cricket Team has announced it will be touring Pakistan next year and
in 2010.

This year's tour was postponed because of security concerns over a series of bombings in Pakistan.
But Cricket Australia says it's hopeful that the country's political tensions will be calm by next
year.

Some global terrorism experts though say the tour announcement is premature.

Rachael Brown has our reports.

RACHAEL BROWN: What a difference a year makes. Well, at least Cricket Australia hopes so.

Last month, it called off its tour of Pakistan, the same day two bombs ripped through the city of
Lahore, the home of Pakistan's Cricket Board.

It postponed its March-April 2008 tour indefinitely, but today Cricket Australia's Michael Brown
says the date's been set.

MICHAEL BROWN: We've reached agreement with the Pakistan Cricket Board to play our rescheduled
matches in April, May of 2009, and then to follow up again with our three test matches in 2010. We
need to look at our busy schedule to find spots where we can fulfil our obligations under Future
Tours Program, and those opportunities presented itself.

Unfortunately though, we'd normally go and play all our matches in one hit, that isn't possible so
we were able to split the tours and we've done so, and obviously we'll look more closely at the
safety and security issues as we get closer to the date.

RACHAEL BROWN: What are your contingency plans if the current climate hasn't lifted by April, May
next year?

MICHAEL BROWN: We don't have a contingency plan as such, it's a little early from the date to be
making any final decisions in terms of what would happen if the tour didn't go ahead, but we are
certainly are approaching the tour with optimism, we're looking forward to playing, and we'll
follow all the checks and balances that we'd normally have in place and hopefully the matches will
go ahead.

RACHAEL BROWN: Are you confident today's announcement will help patch up relations with the
Pakistan Cricket Board?

MICHAEL BROWN: I think we've had an outstanding relationship with the Pakistan Cricket Board and I
note in the press release that their chairman Dr Nasim Ashraf had said was very disappointed that
we weren't able to play as originally scheduled but thrilled that we would be able to come twice to
continue to build on the strong desire that we've had to have good bi-lateral relations with the
Pakistan and their cricket community.

RACHAEL BROWN: And was it also legally crucial to set a date, considering the massive fines, I
think, up to $US2 million, if Australia didn't meet its obligations under the Future Tours Program?

MICHAEL BROWN: No, there's no legal obligation in that sense here. Whilst we are obligated to
fulfil our tour commitments, the tour was postponed by mutual agreement, and on that same basis we
have then formalised a time for us to play and we look forward to playing those matches.

RACHAEL BROWN: David Wright-Neville from Monash University's Global Terrorism Research Centre says
today's announcement was needed to appease disquiet in south Asian ranks, but he says it's
premature.

DAVID WRIGHT-NEVILLE: I certainly think that it's too early to say whether or not the security
situation in Pakistan will have stabilised by then. The election and the return to democracy, or
the almost return to democracy in Pakistan, I think will play a role in helping to bed-down the
country and deal with the problem posed by extremist violence there.

And one of the ways that they will try to exploit that is through trying to rally support for a
belligerent anti-Western stance. And so in some minds in Pakistan, the Australian cricket team will
stand as a symbol of the West - and as a symbol of the West it is a legitimate target.

RACHAEL BROWN: And given the entrenched tensions that you speak of, security can never be 100 per
cent guaranteed, can it?

DAVID WRIGHT NEVILLE: Absolutely, security cannot be 100 per cent guaranteed in a place like
Pakistan. It really is a very difficult environment in which to operate at the moment. There are so
many conflicting and parallel forces at work and it will remain a gamble.

ELEANOR HALL: David Wright-Neville is from Monash University's Global Terrorism Research Centre. He
was speaking to Rachael Brown.