World Cup – The Pakistani team obtains entry visas less than 48 hours before traveling to India

The International Criminal Court confirmed that the Indian government approved visas for the Pakistani team to travel to the World Cup, less than 48 hours before the team traveled to Hyderabad via Dubai. The approval came on Monday, hours after the Program Coordination Board wrote to the ICC expressing its dissatisfaction with the delay in issuing visas. At the time they sent the email, visa approval had not been granted.

But the delay has already caused the Pakistani team to cancel its plans for a pre-World Cup trip to the UAE.

“The Ministry of Home Affairs grants security clearance to issue visas,” an Indian government spokesperson told ESPNcricinfo. “The operation is underway.” The PCB is expected to receive the passports along with visas for its team on Monday evening.

However, matters came to a head earlier in the day, with business hours ending in Islamabad and no word yet on whether visas would be issued or not. Although the Pakistani board had been in regular contact with the ICC all along, it decided to formally write to the governing body to lodge a complaint, saying this was unfair treatment of Pakistan – which was the only World Cup team to have waited so long. . For visas – will not be tolerated.

In the email, the PCC asked the ITC what steps the global body intends to take to resolve the issue, and also asked whether written assurances had been provided by the BCCI – or on behalf of the host board, in line with its commitments. Host Council. Government of India – Visas will be provided to all participating countries. In July, during its annual conference in Durban, the BCCI informed the ICC that entry visas for the Pakistani contingent would be facilitated in due course. It cannot be confirmed whether this was written or not.

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The PCB also raised the issue of whether the inability to provide visas in time for team travel constitutes a breach of the World Cup Host Agreement.

Pakistan will now travel to Dubai in the early hours of Wednesday (September 27), stop there, and then travel to Hyderabad on Wednesday evening. They are scheduled to play their first friendly match on Friday, against New Zealand, in Hyderabad.

“It is a matter of disappointment that the Pakistan team is going through this state of uncertainty before a major tournament. We have mentioned it [them] “On their commitments the last three years, and it’s all come down to the last two days with our first warm-up game on September 29.”

PCB statement

News of the visa delays was first reported by ESPNcricinfo last Friday. Pakistan had planned a trip to the UAE for two days before their arrival in India, but this had to be canceled as they were unable to travel, due to their passports being held at the Indian High Commission in Islamabad.

Before the issue was resolved, PCB spokesperson Omar Farooq said in a statement: “There has been an extraordinary delay in obtaining clearance and securing Indian visas for the Pakistani team to participate in the ICC World Cup. We have written to the ICC to raise our concerns about unfair treatment towards children.” “. Pakistan and remind them of these commitments to the World Cup.”

According to the PCB, the process of obtaining the visas began at the end of August, when the Council received an invitation letter from the ICC, which formed part of its submission to the Indian High Commission. Because the Pakistani team was traveling to and from Sri Lanka to participate in the Asia Cup – which it officially hosted – the PCB sought visa applications without physical passports in the first place. They were told that was not possible, and because passports were needed, the team’s board finally applied for it on September 19, shortly after the team returned from the Asian Cup.

Players of Pakistani origin from other countries were also affected. Two Dutch nationals, Shariz Ahmed and Saqib Zulfiqar, both of Pakistani origin, were unable to travel to Bengaluru in late August to participate in a short preparation camp organized by the Dutch committee because they did not obtain visas in time.

For the World Cup, the KNCB applied for visas for the Dutch national team on 8 August. Each participating team sends to the BCCI a list of names traveling to attend the World Cup, after which the BCCI sends an invitation letter while at the same time obtaining permission from various arms of the country. Government of India – Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of External Affairs, and Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs.

On August 2, the Ministry of Interior sent a memorandum to the BCCI stating that “security clearance from the Ministry of Interior is required for the event (World Cup) only if there are foreign participants from PRC countries, such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and Sudan, foreigners from of Pakistani origin and stateless persons” (PRC is “Pre-Referral Category”). Anyone from a country in the People’s Republic of China needs a security clearance before a visa can be granted.

In the case of Shariz and Zulfiqar, their visas eventually arrived days before they were due to travel as part of the Dutch team to India on September 19. Visas were not obtained until after external intervention.

Earlier this year, Australia’s Usman Khawaja, who was born in Pakistan, was forced to fly to India a day later than his teammates after a visa delay. In 2011, he was initially refused a visa before being granted to play in the Champions League T20 in India for New South Wales. In between, he traveled to India on several occasions.

GMT 1425 The story was updated after the ICC confirmed that the Indian government had approved the visas.

Othman Sami Al-Din is a senior editor at ESPNcricinfo

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