diana baig, women's cricket world cup, icc women's world cup, 2013 women's world cu, women's world cup pakistan, sana mir, mohtashim rasheed, pakistan women's cricket team cuttack
The Pakistan women's cricket team. -Photo by Sara Faruqi/Dawn.com

GUJRANWALA: Pakistan cricket chief Zaka Ashraf on Tuesday expressed confidence that Indian authorities would provide security to his women's team in the up-coming World Cup.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) shifted Pakistan's matches from Mumbai to Cuttack following threats by the right-wing Shiv Sena party. The tournament is to be held from Jan 31 to Feb 17.

“ICC is responsible for providing security to Pakistan women's team and we have confidence on the ICC and we are in touch with them over the issue,” Ashraf told reporters in the city of Gujranwala.

Despite the change in venue, two other right-wing parties -- Bajrang Dal and Kalinga Sena -- have also threatened to disrupt Pakistan's matches in Cuttack. But Ashraf said he is confident that the ICC will handle the situation.

Pakistan team will fly to India on January 26.

“I think sports and politics should not be mixed and it's disappointing when such issues come up,” said Ashraf.

Tensions between India and Pakistan were heightened early this month by a series of cross-border exchanges in disputed Kashmir in which four soldiers were killed. India says that one of its soldiers was beheaded.

Nine Pakistani players were also withdrawn from a new field hockey league in India and were forced to return home in the wake of protests following border tension between the arch-rivals.

Pakistan, placed in Group B along with Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, will play their matches in Cuttack. England, India, Sri Lanka and the West Indies are in Group A.

The two countries had recently revived their bilateral cricketing ties with Pakistan team crossing the border to play two Twenty20 and three one-day internationals - their first tour of India in five years.

Ashraf hoped bilateral ties will continue.

“India agreed to the tour after our persuasion and I hope the ties will continue,” said Ashraf.

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