Pak­istan cricket team gets govern­ment ap­proval to par­tic­i­pate in World T20

The Pak Banker - - NATIONAL - Staff Reporter

A pos­si­ble pullout of the Pak­istan cricket team from the ICC World T20 in In­dia is off the cards af­ter the In­te­rior Min­is­ter Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Fri­day ap­proved Pak­istan's par­tic­i­pa­tion in the tour­na­ment.

The Pak­istan Cricket Board (PCB) Chair­man Sha­har­yar Khan told re­porters in La­hore that the play­ers were given the pullout op­tion if they felt any se­cu­rity threat but all 15 squad mem­bers wanted to play in the tour­na­ment.

"We want crick­et­ing ties to re­main ac­tive ... Our hope is that our crick­et­ing re­la­tions [be­tween In­dia and Pak­istan] re­main in­tact," Khan said.

Mean­while, Na­jam Sethi, chair­man of the cricket board's ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee, re­vealed that the Pak­istan High Com­mis­sioner in New Delhi Ab­dul Ba­sit had met Ra­j­nath Singh, Min­is­ter of Home Affairs of In­dia, to dis­cuss the mat­ter and was sat­is­fied with the se­cu­rity ar­range­ments put in place.

"Sub­se­quently, In­te­rior Min­is­ter Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan has also ap­proved Pak­istan's par­tic­i­pa­tion in the T20 World Cup," Sethi said.

"The team is com­pletely ready and hope­fully they will fly to Dubai tonight and then from there will leave straight for In­dia," he added.

The break­through came af­ter the West Ben­gal state govern­ment is­sued a "pub­lic guar­an­tee" of se­cu­rity to Shahid Afridi's side for their match in Kolkata. Ma­mata Ban­er­jee, chief min­is­ter of West Ben­gal, as­sured in writ­ing 'fool­proof se­cu­rity' to the Pak­istan team for its match against In­dia.

Cricket As­so­ci­a­tion of Ben­gal, head­quar­tered in Kolkata, cap­i­tal city of West Ben­gal state, op­er­ates the Eden Gar­dens. "Any­body com­ing to In­dia will be pro­vided se­cu­rity. There is no doubt about it," Singh was quoted as say­ing by the Press Trust of In­dia.

Yes­ter­day, ad­dress­ing a press con­fer­ence in Is­lam­abad, In­te­rior Min­is­ter Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan had re­it­er­ated the Govern­ment of Pak­istan's de­mand of pro­vid­ing its play­ers a "pub­lic" guar­an­tee. "The In­ter­na­tional Cricket Coun­cil (ICC) and the Board of Con­trol for Cricket in In­dia (BCCI) have been very ac­com­mo­dat­ing, but it is the In­dian govern­ment's se­cu­rity as­sur­ance that mat­ters the most," Nisar had said.

The ICC has al­ready moved Pak­istan's group match against hosts In­dia to Kolkata on March 19 due to se­cu­rity con­cerns in Dharam­sala.

The first round of the World T20 started on Tues­day. The top eight-ranked na­tions, in­clud­ing Pak­istan, will join the com­pe­ti­tion from the "Su­per 10" stage which be­gins on March 15.

Pak­istan is due to play their open­ing match against a first-round qual­i­fier in Kolkata on March 16.

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