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Pak expected to get clearance; likely to fly to India today


Karachi : Suspense over Pakistan’s participation in the World Twenty20 is expected to be over today with the country’s government likely to clear its national cricket team’s departure to India for the mega-event.

The Chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board Shaharyar Khan told PTI that a detailed report has been sent to the Interior Ministry on the security assurances received from the ICC and the BCCI.

“We have also informed the ministry about assurances coming from the Bengal Chief Minister who is keen to see Pakistan play in Kolkata,” he said.

Shaharyar expects the ministry to take a final decision in a few hours as they have also been briefed about the security situation and arrangements for the Pakistan team by the Pakistan High Commissioner in New Delhi.

He said the assurances given by Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh that Pakistan would be given full security and the World T20 would be held smoothly, are positive developments.

The ministry yesterday said it would not send the team to India until the Indian government gave out a written  assurance for providing complete security to the Pakistan team to deal with Pakistan specific threats in India.

A source told PTI that the logistics department of the PCB was already making preparations to get the team on a flight to either New Delhi or Kolkata by this evening or night.

“The logistics department is in touch with the ICC and coordinating travel plans with them,” he said.

The men’s and women’s players in Lahore and Karachi have also been told to be ready for a quick departure.

Shaharyar also told the media that if Pakistan didn’t go to India for the World T20 it could incur losses of around USD 15 million, which was a big amount at this time.

The ICC has already shifted the Indo-Pak match on March 19 to Kolkata from Dharamsala due to security concerns.

Meanwhile, in Islamabad, the Interior ministry said in a statement that consultations have been going on between the Pakistan Cricket Board and interior minister, while Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi was also in touch with the Indian government over the issue of security of the team.

“PCB executive committee chairman Najam Sethi will meet Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan at 4pm while at the same time in India (4pm India time), High Commissioner Abdul Basit will meet Indian interior secretary,” it said.

Pakistan’s interior minister is also in touch with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who is in Saudi Arabia on official visit.

“The decision on whether to send the team will be taken by the evening,” it said.

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