Pakistan threatens to pull out of World T20 in India amid security concerns

Karachi: Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Shaharyar Khan has warned that his country will pull out of the next month’s World T20 if they do not receive a clear confirmation about the necessary security to their players from the Indian government.

The 81-year-old said that they have already received the permission from the Pakistan government to travel to India and that they were only waiting for the Indian Government’s assurance about the security.

“I spoke to the BCCI and they are giving us a private assurance, claiming that it’s all about internal politics, nothing else, and that Pakistan should come. But a public statement is important and it should come, as there are threats and we can see them. We have written to the ICC that they should come forward and we’ve asked the Indian government to assure us and give a statement. If they won’t give the statement, then I see it’s very difficult to go to India. There is no deadline in making the decision but we will have to monitor till the end and can even pull out at the eleventh hour,” Shahryar was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.

The PCB chairman insisted that they had already informed the ICC about the Pakistan-specific threats within India that needed to be taken seriously.

“We have concerns and the threats are Pakistan-specific. Even now, the Himachal Pradesh chief minister has also said that they will not guarantee the security. We have been informing the ICC on a daily basis about these threats which is not encouraging for us,” he said.

Shaharyar’s comments came after Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh had expressed his state’s difficulty in hosting the India-Pak match, saying “At this point of time, Pakistan’s match should not be in Dharamsala. The BCCI should either cancel or shift the match to other state to honour the sentiments of families of martyrs.”

Virbhadra said this after the ex-servicemen and families of slain army officials opposed to stage a match involving Pakistan in the wake of the recent Pathankot attack.

Earlier, BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur said that he is optimistic that the much-awaited World Twenty20 match between India and Pakistan will be held in the scheduled venue of Dharamsala after having a meeting with Virbhadra on the issue.

The 45-year-old BJP MP said that the meeting was held in a very positive way, adding that he was hoping the Congress government in Himachal Pradesh would take a decision in the benefit of the nation and the sport.

The much-awaited World T20 match between India and Pakistan is slated to be held on March 18. (ANI)