Pak govt gives go-ahead to team for World T20
Chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) executive committee, Najam Sethi, after a long meeting with Interior Minister Chaudary Nisar Ali Khan, said the government has given the go-ahead to send the team to India. “The team will fly out tonight for Dubai and onwards to Kolkata,” Sethi said.
“I have some good news for all cricket lovers, who have been waiting for a long time that the interior minister has given clearance for the team to travel to India,” he added.
Sethi said the clearance was given after “solid assurances” from the government about providing security to the Pakistan team in India and after speaking to the Pakistan High Commissioner in New Delhi.
“The High Commissioner also met with the Home Secretary in New Delhi on Friday, in which the security arrangements were discussed,” he added. The Ministry of External Affairs also issued a statement after the meeting, reiterating that security will be fool-proof for all teams” MEA spokesperson Vikas Swaroop said in a statement.
“The Home Secretary conveyed to the High Commissioner of Pakistan that all necessary arrangements are being made for all participating countries, as appropriate, including for security of all the participants concerned. Home Secretary reiterated that as in the past all participants will be looked after and there is no cause for concern,” it added.
Due to the delay in travel clearance, Pakistan’s first warm-up match against Bengal on Saturday has been cancelled but the team will take on Sri Lanka on Sunday in its second practice game. The clearance from the Pakistan government came after Nisar spoke to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who is on an official visit to Saudi Arabia.
“The PM gave approval after being briefed that the Indian Home Minister and Home Secretary had given solid assurances that the Pakistan team would be provided round the clock security in India,” an source in the PCB said.
After days of uncertainty, the decision to send the team came after getting assurances from the Indian government for providing top security to the Pakistani players, officials, media personnel and fans who will visit India for the matches.
The development came after Home Minister Rajnath Singh said Pakistan team would be given full security.
Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee also tweeted and sent a message to the PCB that top security would be provided to the visiting team in Kolkata.
Because of Pakistan’s security concerns, their marquee clash against India on March 19 has already been moved from Dharamsala to Kolkata after Himachal Pradesh CM Virbhadra Singh expressed inability to provide cover to Pak players.
“People want to see Pakistan play in the World T20 and we also wanted to send the team. But the government rightly had some concerns for the security off the team in India which have been addressed by the Indian government, ICC and BCCI,” PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan said.