Toronto, Canada – KARACHI (Reuters) - British boxer Amir Khan will try to convince England's cricketers to tour Pakistan in a bid to bring international sport back to a country that has been hit by a series of militant attacks, he said on Thursday.
The WBA world light-welterweight champion, who is of Pakistani descent, is in Pakistan at a boxing tournament -- the country's first international sporting event since militants attacked the Sri Lanka cricket team in Lahore last March.
"It is great to be back in the land of my forefathers. I want to do something for Pakistan sports," Khan, who is not competing in the tournament, told a news conference.
"I know many English cricketers, including Andrew Flintoff, and I will speak to them and tell them that a country like Pakistan with a rich sports history needs the support of the international community at this time."
Khan said he would also try to organize a professional fight in Pakistan. "The fact that I am in Pakistan will hopefully send out the right message to other sportsmen," he said.
Six Pakistani policemen and a driver were killed while six Sri Lankan cricketers and two team officials were injured when the team bus was ambushed in Lahore last year, leading to the cancellation of other sporting events in the country.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) moved last year's Champions Trophy out of Pakistan and said it would do the same for matches at the 2011 World Cup.
Taliban militants have been carrying out bombings that have spread from their strongholds along a lawless northwest tribal belt to major cities.
Pakistan has laid on heavy security for the boxing tournament, which began a day after a suicide bomber killed more than 90 people at a local volleyball match in northwest Pakistan last week.
"Pakistan has a great tradition of sports and Pakistani sportsmen have excelled internationally. It is unfortunate the security situation in the country has badly affected sports in Pakistan," said Khan.
"The world needs to support Pakistan at this time. It should not be left alone."
(Editing by Sonia Oxley)