Amid increasing pressure on the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) at home to review its cricketing ties with India, a senior member of its Indian delegation left for Dubai after talks with the BCCI were stalled after Shiv Sena activists barged into the Indian cricket board’s headquarters in Mumbai on Monday.
The PCB’s Director of Media and Communications Amjad Bhatti confirmed to PTI that Najam Sethi, a former Chairman and current head of the executive committee in the board, had left India for Dubai. Bhatti, however, said that PCB Chairman Shaharyar Khan had reached New Delhi from Mumbai and was scheduled to have some meetings with Indian government officials and other high-profile personalities.
“I can confirm that Najam Sethi has left for Dubai and perhaps chief operating officer Subhan Ahmad is with him. But Shaharyar Khan will remain in New Delhi till Wednesday and return home later that night,” Bhatti said.
The PCB delegation’s planned meeting with new BCCI President Shashank Manohar was derailed on Monday in Mumbai when Shiv Sena activists stormed the BCCI office at the Wankhede stadium just before the meeting was to take place. Bhatti said that, contrary to speculation, the PCB delegation had gone to Mumbai on a proper invitation from Shashank Manohar.
“They were invited to India to discuss cricket matters of mutual interest and to find ways to restore cricket ties between the two countries,” the PCB official said.
After Monday’s incident and contradictory statements raising doubts over whether the PCB delegation were officially invited for meetings, pressure has grown on Khan and the PCB to review its ties with India. “I think today the PCB officials have brought embarrassment for Pakistan and its cricket. The government must order them to return home immediately,” Zaka Ashraf, a former Chairman of the PCB, told PTI.
Ashraf said he was surprised at the way the meeting with the BCCI officials was arranged. “Shaharyar Khan has been to India several times to meet with BCCI and their government officials. This time again he went there even after the recent events unfolding in India against Pakistanis,” Ashraf said.
“From what I am seeing on television channels apparently the BCCI didn’t invite them for formal talks on the planned series,” Ashraf said.
“So there is a need to find out what was the purpose of this visit to Mumbai of all places. Pakistan cricket’s image has already been damaged enough and the government must ask these officials to return home immediately,” Ashraf said.