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Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Nasim Ashraf is hopeful of hosting Zimbabwe and Australia despite the volatile situation in the country.

Pakistan is reeling from the after-effects of Thursday's assassination of former premier Benazir Bhutto, a situation which has raised security fears for both sets of tourists.

Zimbabwe are scheduled to arrive on January 14 for a five-match one-day series,

which starts on January 26, while Australia's tour is due to begin in March.

Ashraf hopes both tours will continue, but has had no official communication

with the respective boards.

He told The News: "We have received no official word from Australia or Zimbabwe and believe that both the tours of Pakistan are on.

"All cricket matters have taken a back seat. The situation in the country is tense but we hope that normality will be restored in the coming days."

At the weekend Andrew Symonds expressed his doubts about touring Pakistan, stating he does not want to put himself at risk.

Australia have not played a Test in Pakistan since 1998 with their three-Test tour in 2002 moved to Sri Lanka and the United Arab Emirates because of security issues.

Cricket Australia are unlikely to sanction the tour should the upcoming elections in Pakistan not go ahead as planned.
 
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