The Pakistan government has constituted a three-member security delegation, headed by a senior director of the Federal Investigation Agency, to assess the security arrangements for the Pakistan men and women’s team in India for the upcoming World T20. The delegation will visit India on Monday and make a final call on Wednesday.
The government had initially given the green light to the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to allow the team to tour India for the mega event, but the Board has decided to put the visit on hold until they are assured foolproof security. The change in the stand from the PCB was promoted after the Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh said that the government would find it difficult to provide the security arrangments for the high-octane India-Pakistan encounter scheduled in Dharamsala on March 19.
Pakistan Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Khan announced at a press gathering in Islamabad that the three-member team comprises Usman Anwar of the FIA, a PCB official and an official from the Pakistan High Commission in India. He said that the Indian government should ensure the security of the Pakistan team because the World T20 is an international tournament.
“I have asked the PCB chairman to wait, and the team can wait until the security clearance is assured,” the minister added.
“We can delay our team’s departure till we are sure that they will be safe in India. If the security team’s initial report is positive, our cricket team will leave for India as per schedule on Wednesday otherwise, we may delay the team’s departure. We not only want our team’s security in hotels and on routes but want our players to play cricket without any worries in grounds where thousands of people will accumulate for the match. We will only give a green signal for the team to go to India once we get a security clearance.”
The PCB has so far adopted a cautious approach to the cloud over Pakistan’s participation and the concern about the team’s security in India. PCB Chairman Shaharyar Khan has said that the threats against Pakistan team are specific, and the team will only leave for India subject to the security clearance.
He also called for the Indian government to acknowledge Pakistan’s participation in the World T20 and to assure the team of full security. Pakistan’s men and women cricket teams will leave from Lahore on Wednesday, subject to the security clearance from the 3-man delegation.