Islamabad: The uncertainty over Pakistan’s participation in the World Twenty20 Championship finally ended on Friday after the country’s cricket team got government clearance to travel to India following assurances of security from the host nation.
Chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board’s executive committee, Najam Sethi, after a long meeting with Interior Minister Chaudary Nisar Ali Khan, said that 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 Indian 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 today in which the security arrangements were discussed,” he added.
India’s Ministry of External Affairs also issued a statement after the meeting, reiterating that security will be fool-proof for all participating teams.
“The High Commissioner of Pakistan met Home Secretary today in connection with the forthcoming ICC World T20 tournament in India. The discussions were positive,” the 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 tomorrow has been cancelled but the team will take on Sri Lanka on Sunday in its second practice game.