PM Nawaz orders security assessment before Pakistan’s World T20 participation

Published March 4, 2016
In this photo, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif gestures during a media briefing. — AFP/File
In this photo, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif gestures during a media briefing. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Friday ordered Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali to ‘send a team to India’ to assess measures adopted for Pakistan cricketers’ security for the World T20.

A decision on Pakistan’s participation in the World T20, being hosted by India from March 8 to April 3, hinges on a clearance report by the security team, read a statement released from the premier’s office.

A final decision on whether Pakistan’s cricket team will fly to India will be made after a report is submitted by the ‘security team’, said the statement.

In a meeting with Nisar at the Prime Minister House, Nawaz directed to ensure “fool proof security measures for the team in coordination with the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi”.

The development came after the chief minister of the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh, Virbhadra Singh, called for the India-Pakistan World T20 tie to be moved to another venue ‘out of respect for those killed in the assault by militants on an Indian air force base in Pathankot’.

He threatened to not provide security for Pakistan’s players at the Himachal Pradesh cricket ground in the Himalayan town of Dharamsala where the clash is due to take place on March 19.

But yesterday, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) secretary Anurag Thakur was optimistic that the match will go ahead as per schedule.

He had a meeting with Singh and was positive that the state government would not have any reservations in hosting the much-anticipated encounter.

The statement issued by the prime minister also sought a report from the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on the team’s dismal performance in the Asia Cup T20.

Earlier today, the PCB took on board Test captain Misbah-ul-Haq and veteran batsman Younis Khan to examine Pakistan’s disastrous Asia Cup T20 campaign and the ‘confused’ team selection for the World T20.

PCB chief Shaharyar Khan slammed the team’s performance but said that it was too late to make sweeping changes ahead of the World Cup.

Pakistan lost to arch rival India and host Bangladesh, and only managed to beat United Arab Emirates, raising serious doubts about their potential to challenge for the title in the tournament.

Shaharyar said everyone from the coach to those involved in the selection process would be held accountable but added that there would be no knee-jerk reaction.

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