PCB asks BCCI to ensure maximum visas for Pakistani fans

Friday, October 26, 2007

KARACHI: Pakistan cricket officials have asked their Indian counterparts to arrange for more visas for Pakistani fans wishing to see matches during their team’s tour of India starting from next week.

A top Pakistan Cricket Board official told this correspondent that the PCB has sent a letter to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) requesting it to ensure that maximum number of visas is issued to Pakistani fans.

“We have asked the BCCI to issue ample number of visas because a lot of fans would want to go and see matches in India,”
said Zakir Khan, the Board’s Director of Operations.

He was reacting to reports coming from India saying that the recent bombings in various parts of India have taken a toll on cricket with only 250 Pakistanis being allowed to come to watch the one-dayer in Mohali next month.

The visa figure allowed for Pakistani fans - by the Indian home ministry and the ministry of external affairs - is drastically truncated despite a request by the Punjab Cricket Association, which will organise the Mohali match, for 5,000 visas.

The Indian home ministry’s reluctance to issue more visas is being linked by the Indian security agencies to the recent spate of bombings in Hyderabad, Ajmer and Ludhiana in which several people died. Security agencies investigating the bombings have pointed to links with suspected bombers in Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Zakir, however, hoped that BCCI will intervene and ensure that Pakistani fans are not deprived the opportunity to watch their team in action on the tour of India.

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