Dean Jones arrives in Lahore after visa row

Published December 20, 2015
Dean Jones had last week signed up as head coach of Pakistan Super League franchise Islamabad United – AFP/File
Dean Jones had last week signed up as head coach of Pakistan Super League franchise Islamabad United – AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: Former Australian batsman Dean Jones finally arrived in Pakistan on Sunday night to take over as coach of a team in the new Twenty20 league after landing earlier without a valid visa, officials said.

Jones arrived from Dubai Saturday night but was refused entry because he had no valid visa for Pakistan and returned to the emirate.

“Jones has arrived at Lahore via a flight from Dubai,” an immigration official at Lahore airport, told AFP.

“This time his visa and other travel documents were complete,” he said.

Earlier, a Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) official had told Dawn.com that Jones had come to Pakistan to attend a PSL event , but did not have a 'valid visa' for Pakistan.

The official added that Jones has been coming to Pakistan regularly for his commentating job with PTV Sports and that he is "welcome as long as his visa is valid."

In a statement sent to media, the FIA had said:

“Today, on 19.12.2015 a passanger namely Dean Mervyn Jones (Austrailian National) arrived by Flight No. EK614 without Pakistani visa. The passanger has been declared inadmissible and deported back by the same flight to the port of origin.

“He is a well known figure and was reportedly invited by PCB.

“He arrived without Pakistani visa and no permission letter of VOA, BVOA, LP was sent by Interior to waive visa condition.

In present case deportation of the said person was the only option left with FIA immigration, thus he has been deported.”

But Jones said on Twitter that he was “not deported” and will be coming to Lahore later tonight. He said he held a visa and that his “paperwork was incomplete due to recent changes in visa policy.”

Last week, in a video message on Facebook, Jones said: “I’ve just signed as the head coach for the Islamabad United team and I look forward to seeing the draft and picking some fantastic players for our team.”

Action ordered against airline

Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan later issued a statement saying action will be taken against the airline that flew Jones to Pakistan without a visa.

"Foreign airlines must face the same sort of legal action Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) faces in other countries if it violates the law," Nisar said.

The statement said no foreigner can enter Pakistan without a visa and the impression that the Interior Ministry can allow an individual to enter the country without visa is entirely incorrect.

"Every airline, before flying foreigners to Pakistan must know the the laws, rules and regulations of the country and obey them," said the interior minister.

The former Australian cricketer is not new to controversy: He was sacked from a commentating job in 2006 after referring to South African Muslim batsman Hashim Amla as a “terrorist”.

Jones, who admitted making the comment and apologised, was on a TV commentary team covering the second Test between Sri Lanka and South Africa in Colombo.

Read: Jones sacked for insulting Amla.

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