PCB Chairman Zaka Ashraffans raised issue of journalists’ visas for India to cover ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup
Lahore, October 10, 2023 (IANS):
Pakistan Cricket Board management committee chairman Zaka Ashraf has called upon Pakistan Foreign Secretary Syrus Sajjad Qazi and raised “serious concerns and alarm” over the delay in country’s fans and journalists’ visas for India to cover the ongoing ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup.
The chairman also requested the Foreign Secretary to take up the issue with India’s Home Ministry through the Pakistan High Commission Office in New Delhi. The PCB has taken “serious notice of security threats being reported in Indian media and requested the government to evaluate players’ security in India”.
He emphasised that the well-being and safety of the Pakistan squad were of paramount importance.
“The PCB 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,” a statement from the board said. “In the meantime, PCB has again reminded ICC and BCCI of their respective obligations,” said Ashraf.
“The PCB has also taken serious notice of security threats being reported in Indian media and requested the government to evaluate players’ security in India. The well-being and safety of the Pakistan squad was of paramount importance,” he added.
However, the ICC had said on Friday that it was working with the BCCI to push for visas for up to 60 journalists from Pakistan, accredited by the ICC for the coverage of the event.
There is, however, no clarity on how many fans from Pakistan may ultimately be able to cross the border.
Pakistan have already played one game at the World Cup – against the Netherlands in Hyderabad – and will play their second against Sri Lanka on Tuesday at the same venue. And on October 14, they take on India in Ahmedabad in perhaps the most anticipated game in the tournament’s league phase.
At this point, though, it looks like it may have almost no Pakistani presence in the stands and the press box, as has been the case so far.
Also, for the Pakistan press conference in 1st game against the Netherlands, reporters were asked to send questions to the ICC media manager, while for Tuesday’s game against Sri Lanka, ICC created a Zoom link for Pakistan reporters to attend press conferences.
The approximate number of Pakistan reporters accredited for the WC is around 60, whereas fans number, is yet to be ascertained.
The Pakistan cricket team’s visas for the tournament were also issued only a day before they were scheduled to fly out, forcing them to cancel a pre-World Cup training camp in Dubai.
The team has been in Hyderabad, where they were given a warm reception on arrival, since September 27.(IANS)