Pakistan cricket boss travels to India after World Cup visa issue for journalists and fans
A top official of the Pakistan Cricket Board will travel to India on Thursday after getting assurances that his country’s journalists and fans will get visas for the Cricket World Cup.
Zaka Ashraf, chairman of the PCB management committee, will watch the marquee game between Pakistan and India in Ahmedabad on Saturday at the 134,000-capacity Narendra Modi Stadium.
“I am travelling tomorrow after receiving confirmation that our journalists have been asked to submit their passports (at the Indian High Commission) for the mega event,” Ashraf told reporters in Lahore.
Earlier this week, the PCB said it was “extremely disappointed” that visas had been delayed for Pakistani journalists and fans, asking both the International Cricket Council and the Board of Control for Cricket in India to expedite the process.
Ashraf also met with top officials of the foreign ministry in Islamabad to resolve the matter.
“I am happy that my conversation with the foreign office helped in achieving a positive result and now Pakistani journalists will get their visas,” Ashraf said.
Political tensions between the two countries meant India played its recent Asia Cup games in Sri Lanka after refusing to travel to Pakistan for the tournament.
Ashraf talked with the BCCI’s secretary Jay Shah over telephone on Wednesday and was given assurance that Pakistani fans will soon also start getting their visas.
Around 50 Pakistani journalists are accredited for the Cricket World Cup with the ICC and some of them have already received a call from the Indian High Commission in Islamabad to submit their passport for a visa.
The Pakistan team received its visas less than 36 hours before it was due to fly to Hyderabad via Dubai last month.
The delay in the issuing of the players’ visa forced the PCB to cancel a brief training camp in Dubai and the team flew straight to Hyderabad.
Pakistan started the World Cup with two thumping victories against the Netherlands and Sri Lanka.
“I am pleased with the way the players have performed so far in the World Cup,” Ashraf said.
“The entire nation stand firmly behind the players for a successful campaign. I am traveling to India to motivate the team and my message to them before the India contest will be to play fearlessly as they have been playing throughout the event.”