World T20: Team to assess security of Pakistani cricketers in India

PM seeks report on abysmal performance in Asia Cup


Abdul Manan March 04, 2016
PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has directed Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan to dispatch a team to India to assess the measures adopted for the security of Pakistan’s cricketers during the Twenty20 World Cup.

The prime minister passed on the instruction to the interior minister during a meeting with him on Friday

Nawaz, who is the chief patron of the Pakistan Cricket Board, has also sought a report on Pakistan’s abysmal performance in the Asia Cup.

The decision on Pakistan’s participation in the World T20, which is being hosted by India from March 8 to April 3, hinges on the security team’s clearance report, said a statement issued by the PM House.

The premier has directed the security czar to ensure foolproof security for the cricket team in coordination with the High Commission of Pakistan in New Delhi. The arch-rivals are set to face each other on March 19 in Dharamsala.

Nawaz directed the interior ministry to send a security team to India to report on the security measures in place before a final decision is made on Pakistan’s participation.

On March 2 the interior minister had expressed concern over India’s response on the security issue and linked the possibility of the Pakistani team’s tour with agreeable assurances.

On February 29, PCB chairman Shahryar Khan had said they had conveyed their security concerns to the International Cricket Council.

However, Virbhadra Singh, chief minister of India’s northern state of Himachal Pradesh, refused to provide security to the Pakistani team. He suggested that the March 19 match be moved from Dharamsala to another venue or be cancelled.

Sources at the PM House said Nawaz and Nisar had agreed to send the cricket team to India no matter what. They said that although there are some strong dissenting voices within the federal government that do not wish to send the team to India, the premier wants the Pakistani cricketers to go.

Insiders claimed that the decision of sending a security team to India ahead of the Pakistani team was a mere formality, adding that the security team would recommend measures for improving the cricketers’ security.

PCB executive committee head Najam Sethi, as well as the PCB chairman, concur with PM Nawaz as regards sending the Pakistani team to India.

Sources said Sethi — who was tasked by the premier to revive cricket in Pakistan and to engage India on many issues on his behalf — had strongly proposed that Nawaz send the Pakistani team to India come what may.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 5th, 2016.

 

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