Demanding that the Pakistan cricket team should not not be allowed to play in the World Twenty20 match against India on 19 March, the Anti-Terrorist Front threatened that it would dig the pitch to protest the holding of the match at Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) stadium.
In a meeting with the interior minister at the PM House, Sharif directed him to ensure “fool-proof security measures for the team in coordination with the Pakistani high commissioner in Delhi”.
Earlier, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh had expressed his aversion to the Indo-Pak match in his state after the ex-servicemen and families of slain army officials opposed to stage a match involving Pakistan in the wake of the recent Pathankot attacks. He said that during a telephonic conversation with Board member and IPL chairman Rajeev Shukla, he has assured the latter of adequate security. We can delay our team’s departure till we are sure that they will be safe in India.
“A three-member security team will depart for India on Monday to look into the security situation”, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan told a press conference in Islamabad.
The government had initially granted the PCB permission to play in India, but the board has chose to put the visit on hold until they are guaranteed foolproof security. He also called for India to publicly acknowledge Pakistan’s participation in the tournament and to also promise full security to their cricket team.
State Transport Minister G S Bali had issued an ultimatum to the BCCI, saying that if the match is not cancelled, it will lead to a massive agitation.
But the BCCI and the Indian government have sought to ease concerns over security, with Rajnath Singh stating that central para-military forces will be deputed to provide security during the match if the state administration is unable to do so.
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