UK govt condemns violence during Pakistan-Afghanistan World Cup clash

West Yorkshire Police has arrested four rioters involved in violence during Pakistan-Afghanistan World Cup clash

Murtaza Ali Shah
Wadood Mushtaq
Stewards (FRONT/YELLOW SHIRTS) control spectators during the 2019 Cricket World Cup group stage match between Pakistan and Afghanistan at Headingley in Leeds, northern England, on June 29, 2019. Photo: AFP

LONDON: The British government has strongly condemned the violence during the recent World Cup match between Pakistan and Afghanistan in Leed’s at Headingley on Saturday.

In the footage, fans carrying Afghanistan flags set upon Pakistan fans before the start of the match. A group of fans can be seen throwing punches at Pakistan fans, throwing chairs, attacking violently and damaging public property including attacking security guards.

Speaking to Geo News, a spokesman of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said the British government was “concerned by reports of violence between fans at the Pakistan-Afghanistan cricket match this weekend”.

The spokesman added, “Any evidence of criminal behaviour should be passed to the police who will investigate as appropriate”.

When asked to comment over Pakistan’s protest over a plane flying over the cricket pitch carrying political slogans to target Pakistan, the spokesman expressed concern and stressed that UK stood for Pakistan’s territorial integrity.

The spokesman added, “We are also aware of political protests at the match. The UK government fully respects the territorial integrity of Pakistan. We are clear in our respect for the right to peaceful protest and free speech.”

A spokesman of the West Yorkshire Police confirmed that four arrests have been made of hooligans involved in violence at the match. In a statement, the police said it is continuing to investigate incidents of the day.

The spokesman further said, “At 11:55am on Saturday (29/6) police received reports of some trouble outside the ground linked to people trying to get in. Officers attended to disperse the group without any issues and remained on patrol in the area. Four arrests were made over the course of the event.”

Pakistan has condemned violence against cricket fans.

In a statement, Pakistan’s Foreign Office said, “The flying of anti-Pakistan banners, unruly conduct of certain group of spectators toward Pakistan team players, and scuffles during the Pakistan-Afghanistan World Cup cricket match are a matter of deep concern. Use of sports venues for such malicious propaganda is unacceptable. We expect all relevant authorities, both sports and law enforcement, to thoroughly investigate the matter and bring those responsible to account. The matter is also being taken up through diplomatic channels.”