Pakistan will send a team to India to asses the security for its players ahead of the T20 World Cup. Pakistan’s participation in the tournament that begins on March 8 still remains uncertain as Islamabad will take a final call only after security in India is reviewed.
“The situation now is that only after this security team gives the okay can we send the team to India,” said Pakistan Cricket Board Chairman Shaharyar Khan.
Pakistani government had earlier given a go ahead for their team’s participation in the month-long event but they will now wait for the security team submit its report. This despite repeated assurances of foolproof security by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
The decision to send a security team to India was taken after a meeting between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan in Islamabad.
“The Prime Minister directed the Interior Minister to ensure foolproof security measures for the cricket team in India in coordination with Pakistani High Commissioner in Delhi,” the Interior Ministry said in a statement.
The BCCI had assured foolproof security to Pakistan, a day after the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) threatened to pull out of the tournament citing safety concerns.
“As far as the BCCI is concerned, foolproof security will be provided to Pakistan. They should not worry about the security arrangements. Now the decision has to be taken by the PCB (if they want to come or not). They are accountable to the ICC (world body). The PCB should decide on the matter but we will be providing foolproof security to their players,” BCCI’s Rajeev Shukla said.
“How can we talk on behalf of the government,” questioned Shukla when he was asked about PCB’s request of a written assurance from the Indian government.
There is still no clarity if the much-awaited match between India and Pakistan in Dharamsala scheduled for March 19 will take place.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh also agreed to provide central paramilitary forces to ensure security for the March 19 clash.
“If the (Himachal Pradesh) Chief Minister asks for security forces, we will provide,” Singh had said.
BCCI Secretary and BJP MP Anurag Thakur met Himachal CM Virbhadra Singh, Congressman Shukla and said he was hopeful of the match will still take place in Dharamshala. Congressman Shukla also spoke to the CM on the matter.
“I have spoken to the HP CM and he has assured us of putting all the necessary arrangements in place,” Shukla had said.
Himachal Pradesh’s ex-servicemen are protesting against the game citing the Pathankot terror attack that killed seven Indian soldiers earlier this year.
“We sympathise with the protesters and that is why on bilateral matches with Pakistan, we have not taken any decision. But this is a world event. Because of the humongous logistical challenge, it is difficult to change the venue now”.
(With inputs from PTI)