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HindustanTimes Mon,01 Sep 2014

Pak's T20 champs forced out of Chandigarh hotel over visa

HT correspondent, Hindustan Times  Chandigarh, September 16, 2013
First Published: 09:43 IST(16/9/2013) | Last Updated: 18:45 IST(16/9/2013)

In what appears to be a callous oversight by the Indian foreign ministry officials, Pakistan’s T20 team for the Champions trophy had a nightmarish experience when they were forced out of a Chandigarh hotel on Sunday.

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The team, Faisalabad Wolves led by Misbah ul Haq, was asked to leave the hotel because its members were issued visas that allowed them to stay only in Mohali, where the match venue is located, and not in adjoining Chandigarh.

The team spent the night at the club house of Mohali stadium. The Indian cricket board officials were talking to the foreign ministry to find an early solution to the issue.

However, later in the day, television channels reported that the team has been granted visa for Chandigarh.

Earlier, Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) joint secretary GS Walia said, “The BCCI is already in talks with the ministry of external affairs and the home ministry and I am hopeful that the issue will be resolved at the earliest. Till then the team will be accommodated in the clubhouse. If the issue is not resolved by today evening, I think it will be sorted out on Monday for sure.”

Chandigarh-Mohali are adjoining cities and come under different jurisdiction with the former a UT and the latter falling under Punjab has lead to this confusion.

While Chandigarh has kept pace with the changing times and boasts of at least three five-star hotels, Mohali boasts of no such facilities.

In the past also whenever Mohali has hosted an ODI and or a Test match or any match of an international repute, the visa has been issued for both the cities.

Faisalabad Wolves, who might have been looking to settle down, acclimatise with the conditions and prepare for the matches ahead were left with nothing else but wait.

“I can’t say much on this; it’s out of our hands. But, I hope things will be sorted out,” said Wolves coach Naveed Anjum.   

Not the first time

In 2012, former Pakistan all-rounder Azhar Mahmood also had to grapple with the visa issue. First, there was a delay in issuing the visa to Mahmood, who is also citizen of England, to play in the Indian Premier League (IPL)-5.

But after much dilly-dallying when the visa finally arrived, it gave him permission to visit only Chandigarh and Delhi. It meant that at the best he would be available to his franchisee Kings XI Punjab for just five home matches and one away match against Delhi Daredevils.

The issue was resolved only after it was taken up at the highest level by the IPL and the BCCI.

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