Pakistan will assess on ground the security measures in place ahead of the forthcoming World T20 in India before clearing the participation of its team in the cricket tournament later this month, an official said.
A statement from the prime minister’s office on Friday said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif told Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali to “send a team to India” to assess the security measures for the national cricket team before they participate in the World Twenty20 championship in the neighbouring country.
The prime minister kept the decision of sending the national team to India on hold till the report of the team was submitted.
“The final decision on whether Pakistan’s cricket team will fly to India will be made after a report is submitted by the ‘security team’,” the statement said.
In a meeting with the interior minister at the PM House, Sharif directed him to ensure “fool-proof security measures for the team in coordination with the Pakistani high commissioner in Delhi”.
The highly anticipated Super 10 Group 2 clash between the two arch-rivals is scheduled to be held in Dharamsala on March 19. But it has sparked a controversy in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh as Dharamsala is located in Kangra district which is home to a large number of retired and serving personnel of the Indian Army.
The issue had sparked a war of words between Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) secretary Anurag Thakur. They later held a meeting to sort out the issue.
While Virbhadra Singh had sent a letter to union Home Minister Rajnath Singh asserting that the state government will not be able to provide security during the game, former chief minister Shanta Kumar in his letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said that the match should not be allowed at Dharamsala as Kangra district is home to hundreds of valiant jawans, martyrs and ex-servicemen.
State Transport Minister G.S. Bali had also issued an ultimatum to the BCCI, asserting that if the match is not cancelled, it will lead to a massive agitation.
Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Shaharyar Khan had on Thursday threatened to pull out of the T20 format’s pinnacle event if they failed to get clarity about the security situation from the Indian government.
But the BCCI and the Indian government on Friday sought to ease concerns over security, with Rajnath Singh stating that central para-military forces will be deputed to provide security during the match if the state administration is unable to do so.