Pakistan teams awaiting security clearance: Shaharyar
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) decided to delay giving go ahead to national men and women teams to travel to India for the ICC World T20 till the time the Indian cricket board (BCCI), their government and the ICC not fully addressed the reservations of the PCB over specific security threats to Pakistan teams in India.
Addressing a press conference just half an hour after ICC chief executive David Richardson announced in Delhi that the scheduled World T20 match in Dharamshala between Pakistan and India on March 19 has been shifted to Kolkata, PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan read out a written statement which said: "The PCB welcomes ICC's decision of shifting the World T20 Pakistan-India game scheduled in Dharamshala on March 19 to Kolkata.
"The PCB had earlier conveyed to both the ICC and the BCCI of its constwraints to play in Dharamshala based on the recommendations of the security delegation of Pakistan that visited India recently.
"The PCB has also today conveyed to the ICC and the BCCI that our government is expecting an assurance to Pakistan against specific threats to the Pakistan cricket team from various political parties and groups during the tour. "Pending this assurance and in accordance with the recommendation by the security dele- gation, the PCB has decided to defer the departure of Pakistan men and women teams to India," said Shaharyar.
He further said that BCCI president Shashank Manohar had also contacted him in the morning on Wednesday to confirm that in a decision jointly taken by the BCCI and the ICC, they had decided to shift the match from Dharamshala to either Kolkata or Mohali.
Manhohar agreed that it did not look appropriate to host the match in Dharamshala after their chief minister had said he could not take the responsibility of the security of the Pakistan team there.
However, Shaharyar said he reminded Manohar and the ICC that as threats were Pakistan specific and came from India's main political parties like Congress Party, Shiv Sena, Aam Admi Party and now a group of retired servicemen, therefore the PCB could not send the cricket teams there until the time that complete and foolproof security for them was guaranteed.
He said it was the PCB which demanded the assurance from the BCCI, ICC and the Indian government and not the government of Pakistan. "The threats are Pakistan-specific and not against New Zealand, Australia or other teams. So we are delaying the departure [of teams] until an assurance from the Indian side is received which I expect to get soon," Shaharyar said.