Pakistan chief optimistic of renewing ties with India

KARACHI (Reuters) - Pakistan officials are hoping this month's mini home series against Bangladesh will finally convince neighbouring India to renew bilateral cricket ties between the two Asian cricket powerhouses.

Bangladesh will become the first foreign team to play full internationals in Pakistan since March 2009 when Sri Lankan cricketers and officials were attacked by gunmen in Lahore.

Foreign teams have shunned Pakistan since the attack, which killed six Pakistani policemen, meaning they have had to play their "home" matches at neutral venues.

"We are hopeful that after Bangladesh play in Pakistan it will lead to more international matches in the country," Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Zaka Ashraf told a news conference on Wednesday.

"(Pakistan) President Asif Zardari's visit to India should come as a breakthrough in the revival of Indo-Pak cricket."

India have frozen all bilateral cricket ties with Pakistan since 166 people were killed during a three-day siege in Mumbai in 2008. The only gunman arrested following the attacks is a Pakistani national.

"I am hopeful of bilateral ties with India being resumed soon because I had a very constructive meeting with the BCCI President Srinivasan and his attitude was very positive," added Ashraf.

"We are now very confident that we can organise the series without security issues."

Bangladesh will play a one-day international on April 29 and a Twenty20 match the next day in Lahore.

(Editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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