Zaka Ashraf, the PCB president, has expressed “serious concerns and alarm” over the ongoing hold-up in granting Pakistani cricket fans and journalists visas to attend the World Cup in India. Although the board has written to the ICC about the matter, this is the first public comment made since the tournament began. There has been a lot of murmuring in Pakistan on the delays for some time.
Pakistan’s first World Cup match was against the Netherlands in Hyderabad, and they will play their second match against Sri Lanka on Tuesday at the same location. And in what is arguably the most anticipated match of the league round of the competition, they play India in Ahmedabad on October 14. As of right now, though, it appears like, as has been the case thus far, there may not be many Pakistanis in the press box or the stands.
“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.
Ashraf has met with Syrus Sajjad Qazi, the foreign secretary of Pakistan, and asked him to bring up the matter with the ministry of home ministry in India.
Up to 60 Pakistani journalists have been accredited by the ICC to cover the event, and the ICC had said on Friday that it was collaborating with the BCCI to get visas for them. The number of Pakistani fans who might eventually be able to enter the border is unclear, though.
“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.”
Former PCB chairman and ICC president Ehsan Mani said that the BCCI and ICC had promised that obtaining a visa would not present a problem for citizens of Pakistan while he was speaking to an independent journalist in that country.
The Pakistani cricket team had to postpone a pre-World Cup training camp in Dubai since their tournament visas were only granted a day before their scheduled departure. Since September 27, the team has been in Hyderabad, where they were welcomed with open arms upon their arrival.