ICC shifts venue to Kolkata; PCB welcomes; Team departure tied with security assurance
Islamabad/New Delhi—Following a crucial meeting between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Pakistan has decided not to participate in World Cup Twenty20 until India assures to provide full security to Pakistani team.
The Interior Ministry has apprised India in written over the decision of Pakistan.
“Pakistan team will not depart to participate in World Cup T20 until high-level Indian officials ensure security for the team,” the ministry said and added that Pakistan wants written security assurance from India.
The decision was taken following a meeting between Nisar Ali Khan and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in Islamabad on Wednesday.
Sources privy to the details of the meeting said, the interior minister also presented initial report prepared by the Pakistan security team in India to the Premier.
The two-member Pakistan security delegation comprising senior director of the Federal Investigation Agency Lahore, Dr Usman Anwar and Pakistan Cricket Board Chief Security officer, Col. (R) Azam Khan went to Amritsar (India) from Lahore on Monday to assess the situation at Dharamsala ahead of the Pakistan India clash in that town on March 19.
Meanwhile, owing to security concerns, the International Cricket Council on Wednesday moved the venue for India-Pakistan World T20 match to Kolkata from Dharamsala.
The ICC made a formal announcement at a hurriedly convened press conference in New Delhi.
Announcing the decision, ICC Chief Executive David Richardson said: “The decision has been taken following consultation with the BCCI, the relevant state associations, the ICC and BCCI security consultant and other relevant authorities.
“The decision to relocate the match has been made for security reasons. The concerns initially arose following alleged public comments recently reported by the Chief Minister of Hamachal Pradesh, warning of demonstration and attempts to disrupt the peaceful conduct of the match.
“Our concerns relate both to uncertainty as to the level of those threats as well as the level of commitment to implement any security plan developed to mitigate such treats.
“As far as those who have purchased tickets online for the match, they will be offered the choice of a full refund or the opportunity to exchange their tickets for ones for the Kolkata match.
“Finally, I would like to confirm that the ICC has been assured by all relevant state authorities that all adequate security measure are in place and will be implemented to ensure that the event is staged in a safe and secure environment for all stakeholders.”
Richardson further said that no disciplinary action was under consideration against the cricket association of Himachal Pradesh at this stage.
Welcoming the ICCs’ decision to shift March 19 match to Kolkata, Pakistan Cricket Board Chairman Shaharyar Khan maintained that team’s departure was still linked with security assurance from the Indian government.