Pakistan on Thursday threatened to pull out of the forthcoming ICC World Twenty20 if the BCCI failed to get security guarantees and a “public statement” from the Indian government about its participation in the mega-event.
In this regard, interior minister Nisar Ali Khan held a telephonic conversation with Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Shaharyar Khan about security of its cricketers in India.
“It was agreed the cricket team cannot be allowed to go to India until foolproof and satisfactory security is provided,” a statement from the interior ministry said.
Even as uncertainty refused to die down over the fate of the high-profile Indo-Pak World T20 match – scheduled to be held in Dharamsala on March 19 – with Himachal Pradesh’s ex-servicemen league protesting against hosting the game, Shaharyar said that the government had told the board to seek a complete report on the threat level and security plan for the Pakistan team for its matches.
“We want the BCCI to give us a clear report about the security threats to the Pakistan team and the security blueprint they have prepared for our team. We want clear guarantees for our team if we are to participate in the World Cup,” Shaharyar said.
He added, “The BCCI is giving us private assurances but we need a public statement as it is important and it should come, as there are threats and we can see them. We have written to the ICC that they should come forward and we’ve asked the Indian government to assure us and give a statement.
“If they won’t give the statement, then I see it’s very difficult to go to India. There is no deadline in making the decision but we will have to monitor till the end and can even pull out at the eleventh hour.”
Referring to the match earlier in the day, ex-servicemen league’s state chief Maj Vijay Singh Mankotia said that the “matter is non-negotiable”, a day after Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh advised BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur to sort out the issue of holding the game with families of martyrs and ex-servicemen who lost their lives in the Pathankot airbase terror attack in January.
Shaharyar said, “We have told the ICC that there is only one step that the Indian government needs to take and that is to issue a public statement that they are ready to welcome Pakistan and ensure full security for our team, which hasn’t come as yet. We also want the ICC to look into the matter and talk to the Indian government.”
“We have concerns and the threats are Pakistan-specific. Even now, the Himachal Pradesh chief minister has also said that they will not guarantee the security,” Shaharyar said during a press conference at the Gaddafi Stadium here.
The PCB has been keeping a tab on the developments in the northern state.
“Although our government has already given permission, these latest threats need to be taken seriously. Political parties like Shiv Sena (threatened us), now even the Congress has also said they will not let us play along with some other groups. Those are the ones creating agitation,” Shaharyar said.
The PCB chief said that the uncertainty surrounding Pakistan’s match at Dharamsala against India on March 19 was a matter of serious concern for them.
“The BCCI has assured us the match will go ahead but the statements coming out from India by their authorities and some politicians about not allowing Pakistan to play in Dharamsala do concern us a lot.”
“Our concerns are genuine given the situation surrounding the Dharamsala match. They are Pakistan specific threats and they bother us,” Shaharyar said.