New Delhi: A day after ICC decided to change the India-Pak tie venue from Dharamsala to Kolkata, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) today said that it will not send its teams (men and women) for the ICC World Twenty20 tournament till it gets an assurance in writing from the Government of Indian on security for the players and fans.
According to media reports, Islamabad has insisted that teams are unlikely to participate in the tournament without safety assurance from New Delhi.
The Pakistani men's cricket team is in Lahore and the women's team is in Karachi, waiting for word on whether they will fly to India to play in the tournament.
The latest development comes a day after the PCB welcomed the ICC’s decision to shift the much-anticipated match against fierce rivals India from Dharamsala to Kolkata on March 19. "Both men and women teams (departure) have been deferred. I have also informed this to the government because it has asked for my opinion," PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan said.
ICC CEO Dave Richardson announcing the decision on Wednesday said, “The match will be played at the historic Eden Gardens ground where the final of the tournament will also be held.”
Pakistan will begin their World T20 campaign on March 16 when they will play their first match against a qualifier at Kolkata's Eden Gardens. They then play India on March 19, at the same venue.
In Dharamsala, ex-servicemen had protested against the match, alleging that allowing Pakistan to play here would hurt the sentiments of the families of soldiers of the state killed in operations against Pakistani terrorists.
BCCI must make alternate arrangements for Pakistani fans: Daily
The responsibility of making alternate arrangements for Pakistani fans who have already made ticket purchases and hotel reservations at Dharamsala fall on BCCI, said a Pakistani daily after the India, Pakistan match was shifted to Kolkata.
An editorial "Dharamshala fiasco" in The Nation on Thursday said that cricket fans around the world waited with bated breath for the conclusion of the Pakistan security team’s report on the Dharamshala cricket venue.
"While India has been unable to guarantee safety in the northern state, it is willing to move the Pakistan-India clash to Eden Gardens in Kolkata - and the ICC’s announcement has finally put rest to fears of Pakistan choosing to sit out of the tournament."
The daily said that commentators have rightly touched upon the issues in India that this crisis revealed; "rising intolerance, militant responses to problems and a political culture built around hating Pakistan".
"Yet not enough have touched upon the culpability of the Indian state in this matter and the consequences they must face by all norms of propriety," it added.
The editorial said that after Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh started creating problems at the 11th hour, "no one from the Congress - the supposedly secular party he belongs to - made any real effort to convince him otherwise".
"Similarly if the provincial authorities were unwilling to provide security, why didn’t the federal authorities step in. No effort was made by the federation or any political party to diffuse what was essentially a political problem - created solely to score points in their own constituency," it noted.
As for BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India), "whose lack of planning and foresight led to this unwanted situation, it is not going to be reprimanded by the ICC".
It said that "the responsibility of making alternative arrangements for those fans - especially Pakistani - who had already made ticket purchases and hotel reservations also fall on BCCI".
"If they have the funds to host the World Cup, they have funds to reimburse fans who have been disadvantaged without any fault of their own."