World Cup: Govt considering sending security delegation to India

Pakistan and India players after their match in T20 World Cup 2022. — ICC
Pakistan and India players after their match in T20 World Cup 2022. — ICC

KARACHI: Foreign Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari led committee formed by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Pakistan’s participation in the World Cup that will be hosted later this month is mulling the idea of sending a delegation to review security arrangements, Geo News reported Thursday citing sources.

Last month, the federal government formed a high-profile committee headed by Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari for the deliberations over Pakistan’s participation in ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023, which is being hosted by India.

As ties between Pakistan and India remain severed, with security in the neighbouring country being a major issue, the national side’s participation in the most-anticipated cricketing event remains doubtful.

The World Cup, featuring 50 overs matches, is slated to begin this October but Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has said that it requires the government’s approval to send the squad to India — the country’s arch-rival since its Partition in 1947.

PM Shehbaz had formed a high-level body to decide whether the country should send the national squad to India or not at the PCB’s request.

The committee, headed by FM Bilawal, comprises Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah, Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar, Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb, Minister of Inter-Provincial Coordination Ehsan-ur-Rehman Mazari, chiefs of the national security institutions, and foreign secretary.

The Bilawal-led committee met today for the first time at the Foreign Ministry with PCB Management Committee Chairman Zaka Ashraf in attendance as well.

Officials, who spoke to Geo News on the condition of anonymity, said that most participants of the meeting agreed that Pakistan should go to India for participation in the World Cup. However, some suggestions did come of Pakistan skipping the event as India is also not visiting Pakistan.

However, the sources also said that there was consensus that a security guarantee will be taken from India before the team’s departure.

The sources also shared that Pakistan will reach out to India and the International Cricket Council (ICC) for sending a security delegation. It added that if there is an agreement on sending a delegation then it will visit India in the last week of August.

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