Islamabad: President Asif Zardari has said that the revival of bilateral cricket ties with India will help improve people to people level contacts between the two countries.
“People of both countries want to see their teams play against each other and it is a good sign that they are now set to revive bilateral ties this year,” Zardari was quoted as saying by his spokesman after the Pakistan Cricket Board Chairman Zaka Ashraf called on him in Islamabad.
Zardari is credited with playing a significant role in convincing the Indian government to encourage the BCCI to revive bilateral cricket ties with Pakistan.
Zardari had spoken about the importance of bilateral ties when he made a short visit to India this year and cricket matters were further discussed between the foreign secretaries of both countries in New Delhi.
In Pakistan cricket, Zardari, in his capacity as chief patron of the PCB, appoints the board chairman directly.
Sources said that Ashraf had briefed the President on his recent discussions with the Indian board and on arrangements being made for the series.
Interestingly enough, former PCB Chairman Ijaz Butt yesterday jumped into the fray to claim that he had also played an important role in the revival of bilateral ties.
“A lot of people are involved and need to be given credit for this positive development. I had advised the present chairman on Indo-Pak ties and his approach eventually paid off,” Butt said.
Butt was PCB chairman when the Mumbai terror attacks took place in November 2008 after which India suspended bilateral cricket ties with Pakistan.