Bilawal-led committee to decide Pakistan’s participation in World Cup in India


ISLAMABAD – The Pakistani government has formed a high-level committee headed by Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari to deliberate over Pakistan’s participation in ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023, which is being hosted by India.

Pakistan’s participation in the most-anticipated cricketing event remains doubtful due to historical rivalary between Islamabad and New Delhi and Pakistan’s security concerns.

The World Cup, featuring 50 overs matches, is scheduled to begin in October this year, but the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has said it requires the government’s approval to send the squad to India.

Last week, the cricket governing body sought clearance for Pakistan’s participation in the tournament in a letter to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. Taking the request into account, PM Shehbaz formed a high-level body to decide whether the country should send the national squad to India or not.

Geo News quoted the sources as saying the committee headed by FM Bilawal will give recommendations on all matters related to the World Cup in India and Pakistan’s tour will be decided in the light of these recommendations. They said that final recommendations will be sent to the prime minister for approval.

The committee headed by FM Bilawal consists of Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah, Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar, Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb, Minister of Inter-Provincial Coordination Ehsan-ur-Rehman Mazari, chiefs of the national security institutions and the foreign secretary.

In the letter written via the Ministry of Inter-Provincial Coordination (IPC), the PCB had requested the government to scrutinise the expected security on the five venues offered to Pakistan for their World Cup matches.

The ICC last week announced the schedule for World Cup 2023, with the Pakistan and India thriller scheduled for October 15 in Ahmedabad. The following five venues have been marked for Pakistan matches:

October 12 – vs Qualifier in Hyderabad

October 15 – vs India in Ahmedabad

October 20 – vs Australia in Bengaluru

October 23 – vs Afghanistan in Chennai

October 27 – vs South Africa in Chennai

October 31 – vs Bangladesh in Kolkata

November 5 – vs New Zealand Bengaluru

November 12 – vs England in Kolkata

If Pakistan reach the semi-final, they will play in Kolkata. The final will be held in Ahmedabad on November 15.

It may be noted that in 2016, the government sent a three-person delegation to India on a recce tour for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, following which the ICC moved Pakistan’s match against India from Dharamsala to Kolkata due to security reasons.

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