NEW DELHI (Web Desk / AFP) – Amid Pakistan’s reservations over World Twenty20 security in India, Pakistani High Commissioner Abdul Basit held an important meeting with Indian Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi at the North Block in New Delhi today (Friday).
Talking to media after the meeting, Abdul Basit said: “Home Secretary has given assurance of safety, so I will send my recommendation to Islamabad.”
He said that it will be up to the federal government to decide after reviewing his recommendations.
Earlier today, Pakistan received two letters from the West Bengal state government and Kolkata’s police commissioner Rajeev Kumar who have assured special security measures for Pakistani players in Kolkata.
According to ESPNcricinfo, these letters are likely to be evaluated by Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Khan, who will take the call on whether the men’s and women’s teams will travel to India for the World Twenty20 tournament.
The Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) president Sourav Ganguly had submitted to the ICC two letters – from the West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and state’s police commissioner Rajeev Kumar – on Thursday evening, assuring adequate security for the Pakistan.
However, the central government has not given any such written assurances, but Home Minister Rajnath Singh has tried to reassure the Pakistan government. “Anyone coming to India will be provided security, there is no doubt about it,” he said on Friday.
The assurance letters were received a day after Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Khan ruled out sending the national cricket team to India for the World Twenty20 until security assurances come from New Delhi, saying the threats from extremists are concerning.
The Pakistan team were due to fly out on Wednesday to play in the World Twenty20 cricket tournament but their departure was put on hold by the government.
Pakistan sent a security assessment team to India on Monday after voicing repeated concerns about arrangements, saying there had been threats from Hindu activists.
Two days later, the International Cricket Council (ICC) and Board of Cricket for Control in India (BCCI) shifted the March 19 game after the chief minister of the north Indian state of Himachal Pradesh refused to provide security for the match.
Diplomatic tensions have meant that the two teams have not played any bilateral series for more than three years, and their rivalry is restricted to multi-national tournaments such as the World T20.
The arch-rivals have not played a full series since 2007 and although Pakistan did tour India late in 2012 for a short limited over series that failed to revive the ties fully.
India did not play an agreed series with Pakistan in December last year, citing refusal from New Delhi amidst heightened tensions between the South Asian rivals.