LAHORE - Pakistan expressed disappointment Wednesday after Ireland cancelled a scheduled tour following a militant siege on Karachi airport that left 37 people dead, dashing hopes of reviving international cricket following a five year hiatus.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) spokesman Agha Akbar told this scribe that arrangements for a three-match series with associate team Ireland were close to being finalised. "Ireland team was due to play three one-day matches in Lahore in the first week of September and a lot of effort had gone into convincing them. But all efforts have gone in vain again," he said.

Sunday night's attacks on Karachi airport left 37 people dead including 10 militants. Pakistan has been a ‘no go’ location for international squads ever since terrorists attacked the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore in March 2009. The attacks, which killed eight people and injured seven visiting players, forced Pakistan to play all its home matches in neutral venues within the United Arab Emirates. The PCB had twice convinced Bangladesh to tour them in 2012 but the short, limited-over series failed to take off because of security fears.

PCB said England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) had helped in their latest efforts to see an international squad tour the troubled country. Cricket Ireland confirmed the talks were in advance stage. "Cricket Ireland and the PCB were in advanced discussions to play three ODIs in Pakistan in September," Cricket Ireland's spokesperson Barry Chambers said.

"These discussions had taken place between the respective chairmen and CEOs over the past three weeks, and had involved contact with ICC, governments, and security advisors. There had been a preliminary agreement to play three games subject to a security review by credible experts, and agreement from the players and staff, which would have been the next stage of the process. With the recent tragic events at Karachi Airport, the series will now be deferred to a later date."

"Cricket Ireland is obviously very keen to secure as many fixtures as possible against Full Members, and these proposed games would have been very beneficial ahead of the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup," Chambers said.

The PCB last month sent an invitation to Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) for a short series in Pakistan after their president Mahinda Rajapakse assured he will send the team. The SLC said it would consider and reply on the invitation after consultations but reports suggest no series will take place this year.