Tuesday Sep 21, 2021
The British High Commission in Islamabad did not advise against England's tour to Pakistan, British High Commissioner to Pakistan Christian Turner said Tuesday.
"This was a decision made by the ECB, which is independent of the British government, based on concerns for player welfare," the high commissioner said in a video message a day after England had abandoned their tour to Pakistan.
The British High Commission supported the tour, did not advice against it, and its travel advice for Pakistan has not changed, the ambassador noted.
"I have been a champion of international cricket's return to Pakistan and will redouble my efforts in advance of England's Autumn 2022 tour," Turner said.
The envoy thanked all officials at the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), who had worked very hard to get international cricket back in the country, as he expressed that he was sad and hoped to soon hear the "roar of full cricket stadiums again".
"In the end, cricket will be victorious."
Hours before the high commissioner's video message, Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry had said the phrase "absolutely not" comes at a price that nations have to pay if they aspire to keep their heads high, after the England and New Zealand cricket teams cancelled their Pakistan tours.
Prime Minister Imran Khan had, back in June, clearly said that Pakistan will "absolutely not" give its military bases to the United States for operations in Afghanistan after the latter's withdrawal of troops — months before the Taliban took over the country.
"PTV alone has suffered losses worth Rs220 million and we are now seeking our lawyers' guidance on how to drag [New Zealand] to court," he said.
England Cricket Board (ECB) had a day earlier announced that it was cancelling its team's tour of Pakistan following New Zealand's last-minute decision to pull out due to a “security alert”.
In a blistering response to the cancellation of the tour by the ECB, PCB Chairman Ramiz Raja said he was extremely disappointed with England.
"…it was quite expected as the western bloc gets united in an attempt to back each other, unfortunately. England withdrawal is unjustified; Pakistan cricket will prevail," he said in a video statement.
Raja had also vowed to get compensation from New Zealand Cricket (NZC) at all costs in connection with the financial loss the PCB suffered due to the pull-out.