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World T20: PCB confirms government clearance, Pakistan to play in India

Speed News Desk | Updated on: 14 February 2017, 5:53 IST

PCB chief Najam Sethi has said that the Pakistan government has given the clearance for the Pakistani team to travel to India, after assurances of full security were provided by the Indian government.

Earlier, it was reported that the Pakistan government has in principle cleared the national cricket team to fly to India for the ICC World T20 after Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was contacted in Saudia Arabia for the final approval.

Reliable sources confirmed that a decision has been taken in principle in the meeting between the Interior minister, Chaudhary Nisar Ali Khan and a senior official of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Najam Sethi in Lahore.

The sources said the meeting was still in progress and a formal announcement would be made after it was over.

After days of uncertainty and statements and counter statements the decision to send the team came after getting direct assurances from the Indian government for providing top security to the Pakistani players, officials, media personnel and fans who visit the country.

The positive development came after Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh said earlier on Friday that Pakistan team would be given full security and that the World T20 would be held smoothly and teams should travel to India without any security concerns.

Bengal Chief Minister Mamta Banerjee also tweeted and sent a message to the Pakistan Cricket Board that top security would be provided to the visiting team in Kolkata. The ICC has already shifted the Pakistan and India match on March 19 to Kolkata from Dharamsala due to security concerns.

Pakistan interior minister Chaudhary Nisar Ali Khan has given the clearance in principle after speaking to the PM on telephone and updating him about the assurances coming from India. Earlier PCB Chairman Shaharyar Khan had said that if Pakistan didn t go to India for the World T20 it could incur losses of around US $15 million.

India on Friday assured Pakistan of full security to its cricket team that will take part in the world T20 in two venues in India before the last stage matches. The assurance was given to Pakistan High Commissioner to India Abdul Basit when he called on Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi on Friday.

Sources in the Home Ministry said the Home Secretary assured Basit of extending full security for the Pakistani cricket team. "Pakistan's main concern has been addressed. They had objected to Dharamshala venue and it has been changed now. The Pakistan team will play only in Kolkata (two matches) and Mohali (two matches)," they said.

After the meeting Basit told media that Mehrishi has given full assurance to him and he will send his recommendations to Islamabad and that they will take the "final call."

When asked if the Pakistan team will come to play in India, Basit said: "We always want that to happen. Let's see if Islamabad accepts my recommendations." India-Pakistan meetings are always positive, he said when he was asked about his meeting with the Home Secretary.

A controversy had erupted over Pakistan playing in Dharamshala with the Congress government in the state asking BCCI to address concerns of the families of security personnel martyred in terror attacks in India by elements who infiltrate from across the border.

The issue led to shifting of the India-Pakistan match from Dharamshala in Himachal Pradesh to Kolkata.

First published: 11 March 2016, 18:15 IST