International cricket returned to Pakistan with an ODI series in 2015 that saw the home side taking on Zimbabwe. But for the longest time, top-level cricket teams remained hesitant to tour the strife-torn country. The memories of the 2009 terror attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team bus which was en route to the stadium in order to take part in an ongoing Test, remained fresh in everyone's mind.
Finally, more than 10 years after that appalling incident, Test cricket made a comeback to the South Asian country. The first Test of the series against Sri Lanka proved to be an unsatisfying affair as most of the game was washed out due to rain. But the second match turned out to be a more wholesome affair and ended in a thumping victory for the home side.
However, the success of hosting this series seems to have got to the head of Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Ehsan Mani. After the conclusion of the second Test, he claimed that his country is a safer venue for teams to tour than neighbouring India.
"We have proved that Pakistan is safe, if someone isn't coming then they should prove that it's unsafe. At this time, India is a far greater security risk than Pakistan," the PCB chief was reported as saying by the website cricketpakistan.com.pk.
"No one should now doubt security arrangements in Pakistan after successful Sri Lanka Test series. This is a turning point for revival of Test cricket in Pakistan. Media and fans played an important role in portraying positive image of Pakistan worldwide," he further added.
What Mani seems to be forgetting is the fact that an exceptionally high level of security had to be provided in order to ensure that Sri Lankans felt comfortable. He is also getting ahead of himself in thinking that countries such as Australia and England would happily tour the nation. Getting Sri Lankans over is one thing but to get non-Asian sides into Pakistan is many levels higher an accomplishment.
Mani did talk about the teams that he is optimistic about hosting in the future. "We're in talks with Bangladesh board. Not only Bangladesh, all the teams should have no doubt that PCB will host its home series in Pakistan only. I'm hopeful that Bangladesh will tour Pakistan because there's no reason of not touring. If Sri Lanka can tour Pakistan then, why not others?"
When talking about India being unsafe, the PCB chairman may have been hinting at several protests taking place in India over the CAA. However, such protests have taken place even in countries like USA and England in the past. Besides, with Pakistan, the danger isn't from protests but from armed terrorists, some of whom they have been harbouring themselves.