Dubai: Pakistan cricket chief Shaharyar Khan opened the second edition of the Pakistan Super League on Thursday, describing the glitzy Twenty20 event as key to paving the way for his country's return to hosting international series.
Pakistan has been a no-go zone for all of their major rivals since a terror attack on the Sri Lanka team bus in Lahore in March 2009.
The Pakistan city is due to host the PSL final on March 5 after all the qualifying games are completed in the United Arab Emirates, the team's home-from-home for international cricket for the last eight years.
"We are staging the second edition of the PSL with the aim of staging the final in Lahore on March 5," said PCB chairman Khan as he welcomed fans to the Dubai Stadium. "The success of the PSL will open the gates for teams to start coming into Pakistan."
Zimbabwe played a one-day series in 2015 but the likes of Australia, England, India and the West Indies have all stayed away from Pakistan.
Meanwhile, the second edition of the five-team PSL kicked off with dancing, a light show and music by Jamaican reggae star Shaggy.
The opening ceremony started with the national anthems of host country the United Arab Emirates and Pakistan before the crowd was entertained by a group of drummers and songs from all four provinces of Pakistan.
All five captains of the participating teams signed a bat with the oath 'to play clean and fair' written on it before the teams marched past.
After the opening ceremony, title holders Islamabad United were taking on Peshawar Zalmi. Karachi Kings, Quetta Gladiators and Lahore Qalandars are the other teams in the tournament.