The Himachal Pradesh high court on Friday directed the state government to provide security for the March 19 India-Pakistan World T20 match to be played in Dharamsala. Responding to a plea filed by a fan, the court said that the government cannot run away from its duty.
Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association press secretary Mohit Sood said that although now it becomes binding for the state government to give security for the match, convincing the strong ex-servicemen body in the state remains a concern. “Efforts are on to convince the ex-servicemen body also,” he said.
Pakistan decided to send a security team to India to assess the situation and a decision on whether its cricket team would take part in the World T20 would be taken after the security team submits its report.
“The Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif directed the Interior Minister to ensure foolproof security measures for the cricket team in India in coordination with Pakistani High Commissioner in Delhi,” the Interior Ministry said in a statement in Islamabad.
The match has been under the cloud for some time. There were doubts on whether the Himachal state government, which is in political loggerheads with the BCCI secretary and HPCA president Anurag Thakur, allow the match to happen. PCB chief Shahryar Khan too had first called for a neutral venue for Pakistan’s matches in the tournament and then fired a fresh salvo on Thursday saying PCB needed written assurance from India on foolproof security to the team.
BCCI tried to allay PCB fears saying all measures will be taken to protect the team. “We can assure PCB and will do everything in our capacity. However, they have to understand that as far as a statement from Indian government is concerned that is entirely their prerogative. We don’t control the government,” senior BCCI official Rajiv Shukla said.
Thakur remained hopeful. “We are hopeful that match will be played in Dharamsala. We have utmost respect for the war veterans and martyrs and we will speak to the people who have raised concerns over the match,” he said.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday said central paramilitary forces will be provided to ensure security to the India-Pakistan match. “If the (Himachal Pradesh) Chief Minister asks for security forces, we will provide,” he told reporters in New Delhi.