ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s High Commissioner travelled to Kolkata on Friday to attend Saturday’s World Twenty20 match between Pakistan and India after New Delhi granted him permission to do so. Other diplomats from the mission, however, were apparently denied permission.
“Glad to arrive in Kolkata, sad for those of my colleagues who wanted to come but could not,” Basit tweeted after arriving in the eastern Indian city on Friday morning.
“Looking forward to a thrilling match tomorrow (today).”
The development comes days after Indian authorities had denied five Pakistani diplomats and their families permission to visit Kolkata for the World T20 encounter, citing security reasons. Islamabad subsequently protested the move.
An official at the Pakistan High Commission had told IANS news agency earlier this week that the diplomats intended to boost the morale of national team. Earlier, after a row over security, Saturday’s match was switched from Dharamsala to Kolkata. After arriving in Kolkata on Friday, Basit met with the Pakistan team at the Taj hotel.
Imran to attend match
Cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan, who had led Pakistan to the World Cup in 1992, departed for India on Friday to attend the World T20 match in Kolkata.
“I will try my best to give them tips in light of my own experience and meet the players before the match,” Imran told reporters at his Bani Gala residence in Islamabad before leaving India.
The 63-year old told the media that skipper Shahid Afridi had sought his advice for the match and he will give suggestions and “experience-based tips’’ to win the game.
Imran will also commentate for Sky Sports.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 19th, 2016.