The Minister for Pakistan’s Inter-Provincial Coordination (IPC), Riaz Hussain Pirzada, has said that the International Tennis Federation’s (ITF) decision to allow Pakistan to play their Davis Cup tie against Iran at home in Islamabad is a “major breakthrough” for the revival of international sport in the country.
Pakistan has received the go ahead to host its first Davis Cup match for 12 years, after being forced to play at neutral venues due to security fears.
The tie is scheduled to be played between February 3 and 5 with a venue to be confirmed.
International sporting events have rarely been held in the country which has fought a homegrown Islamist insurgency for years, with foreign teams citing security fears as a reason not to play there.
A 2009 militant attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team bus in Lahore is one example of why fears arose.
The cricketers were on their way to play the third day of the second test when gunmen attacked their vehicle.
Six members of the Sri Lanka national cricket team were injured while six Pakistani policemen and two civilians were killed.
Pakistan had been due to co-host the 2011 Cricket World Cup with India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, but ultimately lost the rights to stage matches at the tournament.
Security concerns have led to the Pakistani side not playing a home match in six years, with them instead hosting games in all formats of cricket in the United Arab Emirates.
This did not prevent the country from becoming the world number one side in test cricket, for the first time since the International Cricket Council (ICC) introduced their new ranking system, earlier this month.
“It is a good sign for our sports,” Pirzada told the media after the Davis Cup decision.
“The year 2017 will begin with holding of this international event.
“I am sure this would open doors for all type of sports activities in the country.”
Pakistan last hosted a Davis Cup tie in Islamabad against New Zealand in 2004.
By Max Winters
Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz.