World Cup 2023: PCB ‘extremely disappointed’ over delay in Indian visas of fans, journalists

World Cup 2023: PCB ‘extremely disappointed’ over delay in Indian visas of fans, journalists

Pakistan’s players celebrate after winning the 2023 ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup one-day international (ODI) match between Pakistan and Netherlands at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad on October 6, 2023. — AFP

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Monday once again expressed dismay over the delay in the issuance of Indian visas for Pakistani fans and journalists despite nearly a week into the World Cup 2023.

The mega cricket event began on October 5, but the Indian authorities are yet to issue visas to Pakistanis for attending the World Cup, leaving them in uncertainty.

In a statement, the board said PCB Management Committee Chairman Zaka Ashraf called upon Pakistan Foreign Secretary Syrus Sajjad Qazi and raised serious concerns and alarm over the delay in fans’ and journalists’ visas for India to cover the World Cup. 

The PCB mentioned that Ashraf also requested the foreign secretary to take up the issue with India’s Home Ministry through the Pakistan High Commission Office in New Delhi.

In line with ICC law, the host country has to issue visas to fans and journalists for covering the events, but India has turned a deaf ear to Pakistan’s hue and cry.

The statement said that the board is extremely disappointed to see that journalists from Pakistan and fans are still facing uncertainty about obtaining an Indian visa to cover Pakistan games in ICC World Cup 2023.

In the meantime, PCB again reminded ICC and BCCI of their respective obligations and terms and conditions stipulated in the Host agreement to guarantee visas for fans and journalists of participating teams.

The PCB, the statement said, has also taken serious notice of security threats being reported in Indian media and requested the government to evaluate players’ security in India.

Ashraf, during his conversation with the foreign secretary, emphasised that the well-being and safety of the Pakistan squad were of paramount importance.

In a recent interview, caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar stressed keeping politics away from sports.

“We would have issued visas to Indians if the World Cup was held in Pakistan,” the premier said. Sports, he added, should be kept aloof from politics.

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