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Pakistani team apprehensive about players’ security: Official

A team of security officials from Pakistan were apprehensive about the security of their country’s cricket players during the Pakistan-India match here on March 19, an Indian official said on Monday.

The team from Pakistan arrived through the Attari-Wagha border post near Amritsar and reached Dharamsala to review the security arrangements for the match which is part of the coming ICC T20 World Cup.

The visiting team, including the Federal Investigation Agency director and a Pakistan Cricket Board member, met top government officials, including of police, and expressed apprehensions about Pakistan players’ security from the Gaggal airport to the stadium, the official told IANS.

“They seem to be more concerned about the security from the Gaggal airport to the stadium and between the stadium and the players’ residential complex,” he said.

The distance between the Gaggal airport and the stadium is about 20 km. Likewise, the players’ residential complex, known as The Pavilion, is five km away from the stadium.

The Pakistani team, which refused to interact with the media, also visited the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) stadium here and The Pavilion.

“However, they are quite satisfied with the security arrangements at the stadium and the residential complex,” the official, who didn’t wish to be identified, told IANS.

The Pakistani team crossed the Wagha-Attari joint checkpost on foot before heading for Dharamsala, nearly 235 km from Attari.

“We would like to proceed further. You know the reason why we have come here,” an official from the team told the media at Attari without elaborating.

The visiting team was joined by a Pakistani High Commission official in New Delhi.

The security concerns for the Pakistan cricket team arose after Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh last week announced that his government could not provide security to the team.

The cricket team’s visit is opposed by ex-servicemen and families of martyrs from the state.

They say they will not allow Pakistan to play the match at Dharamsala as the neighbouring country was responsible for repeated terror attacks in India in which many soldiers were killed.

The three-member team will submit its report to Pakistan’s Interior Minister Chaudhary Nisar Ali Khan and Pakistan Cricket Board officials after reviewing the security arrangements for the Pakistan cricket team in Dharamsala.

Board of Control for Cricket in India secretary and Bharatiya Janata Party MP Anurag Thakur, who is HPCA administrator, has said it would be very difficult to shift the match from Dharamsala at this stage.

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