Wednesday, October 11, 2023
LAHORE: Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Management Committee Chairman Zaka Ashraf announced on Wednesday that he will leave for India tomorrow after getting assurance regarding Pakistani journalists' visas for the coverage of the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2023.
“I have delayed my travel to India, and I am traveling tomorrow after receiving confirmation that Pakistan’s journalists have been asked to submit their passports to obtain visas to cover the mega event. I am happy that my conversation with the Foreign Office helped in achieving a positive development regarding the visa delay,” Ashraf was quoted as saying in a statement issued by the PCB today.
The PCB chief will also watch Pakistan’s fixture against India at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on Saturday.
“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,” said Ashraf.
The PCB chief also shared that he was “extremely pleased” with the team’s performance
“The PCB management committee and the entire nation stand firmly behind the players for a successful campaign in the ongoing World Cup,” said Ashraf.
A day earlier, the Indian embassy finally started processing visas for Pakistani journalists to travel to the neighbouring country for the ICC event.
The embassy started contacting the journalists willing to cover the showpiece event underway in India, and directed them to submit their passports at the earliest.
The much-awaited development came after the PCB expressed dismay over the delay in the issuance of Indian visas for Pakistani fans and journalists despite nearly a week into the World Cup 2023.
The mega cricket event began on October 5, but the Indian authorities have not yet issued visas to Pakistanis for attending the World Cup, leaving them in uncertainty.
In a statement, the board said Zaka Ashraf had called upon Foreign Secretary Syrus Sajjad Qazi and raised serious concerns and alarm over the delay in visas.
The PCB stated that Ashraf also requested the foreign secretary to take up the issue with India's Home Ministry through the Pakistan High Commission Office in New Delhi.
In line with ICC law, the host country has to issue visas to fans and journalists for covering the events, but India has turned a deaf ear to Pakistan's hue and cry.