- Indian minister Rijju says no to written guarantee for Pak cricket team’s security, asks Pakistan not to doubt India’s commitment to protect all participants
- Nisar says govt won’t allow team to play in Kolkata until India gives written assurance that Hindu hardliners posed no threat to cricketers
- Says FIA will probe Sarfraz Merchant’s allegations against MQM leadership
The Pakistani cricket team’s plans to travel to India and take part in the International Cricket Council (ICC)’s World T20 tournament suffered another blow late Thursday with Indian State Minister for Interior Kiran Rijiju refusing to give a written guarantee for security of the cricket team in India, and a warning by India’s External Affairs Ministry Spokesman Vikas Swarup that there was no excuse for Pakistan to not send its team despite tight security arrangements in place for the tournament.
“India is committed to providing security to the Pakistani team. We have made foolproof arrangements. It is our duty to provide that and Pakistan should have no doubt about that,” the minister said while speaking to India Today.
The statement comes soon after Pakistan’s Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar ruled out Pakistani cricket team’s departure to India until the Indian government comes up with a public assurance to provide fool-proof security to the team.
Amid the security concerns raised by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) over the Dharamsala venue, the much anticipated clash between the arch-rivals was shifted to Eden Gardens.
Citing security reasons, the ICC relocated the India- Pakistan group stage match to Kolkata.
Asked about Pakistan’s demand of a written assurance about security arrangements from the Indian government, the minister refused to give a guarantee, saying, “I will not comment on what Pakistan has said or talk of specific commitments to any country. I cannot specify my comment to any one country. Pakistan should be satisfied with our level of commitment. Advisories to all police forces have been placed on record.”
“If the Pakistan cricket team deserves special security, they will be provided with that,” Rijiju said. “We have to provide security for everyone. For international events, it is our sovereign duty to provide security to any country, including Pakistan.”
WON’T SEND TEAM WITHOUT PUBLIC GUARANTEE:
Addressing media personnel in Islamabad, Interior Minister NIsar said that if the Indian government does not give a public assurance about the cricket team’s security, Pakistan won’t send its team to India to participate in the ICC World T20.
“Indian extremists are threatening our team, which is not acceptable. Cricket cannot be played under threats,” he said.
“The ICC took immediate notice and changed venue of the match on March 19 between Pakistan and India, so the first issue is now resolved,” Nisar said, adding that Pakistan still needs a public guarantee at the governmental level to provide foolproof security.
He said the government wanted the national team to go to the event without fear so that they could play to their full potential.
FIA TO PROBE ALLEGATIONS AGAINST MQM:
Talking about the allegations of money laundering and MQM’s links with the Indian spy agency RAW, the interior minister said that a committee of FIA has been established on the issue with special focus on Sarfraz Merchant’s statement.
Nisar said that legal cases cannot be fought through press conferences and rallies. He said he may not have good relations with the Karachi-based party but wants the MQM to get justice.
“I promise we will make the committee’s findings public. The government intends to take the case it to its logical conclusion.”
“Proofs are needed to push these cases forward. The real case is in London. The culprit is in London and all the witnesses are there as well. So we can only cooperate with the UK government,” he said.
“Can a political party be called traitor for having links with RAW in press conferences? There has to be a legal process for that if we are to get to the truth,” the interior minister said.
Nisar said Merchant, who is co-accused in the money laundering case in London, had already been summoned to elaborate on the matter and if he fails to show up, the British authorities will be asked to assist the FIA.
About the Dr Imran Farooq murder case, the minister said the government has fought the case along with the money laundering case. “A Judicial Commission has been established on the issue and proper legal procedure will be followed,” the minister said.