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|Clear picture of Pak tour to emerge next week|
Thursday, February 12 2004 15:11 Hrs (IST)
The BCCI team headed by joint secretary Ratnakar Shetty is scheduled to return on Monday after scrutinising security and other arrangements at the venues in Pakistan.
Although BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya refused to be drawn into the raging debate over security concerns for the Indian team in Pakistan, sources within the BCCI said that everything seemed premature.
"Look, in view of the security concerns a three-member BCCI delegation was sent to Pakistan to assess arrangements at all venues there and it includes a top security expert from the union Home ministry. The delegation is yet to return to give its report," the sources said.
Interestingly, team leader Shetty, who along with two other members had inspected arrangements at the cricket stadium in the Pakistani city of Peshawar on Wednesday, has expressed satisfaction at the security measures taken by the hosts.
On the other hand, the Indian High Commissioner in Pakistan Shivshankar Menon has said that the Indian cricket tour to Pakistan was on so far, and an announcement will be made at the end of the visit of the BCCI team.
The BCCI team, which includes IGP (Security) in the Home Ministry, Yashovardhan Azad, will inspect the six venues in Pakistan to be used for the Test and One-day series.
When asked the basis for the sudden uncertainty over the tour, the sources said, "it is difficult to understand". But the sources emphasised that the Indian team's tour to Pakistan was planned only after the Centre, as part of its peace initiative, towards Pakistan in October last year gave permission for the resumption of cricket and bilateral sporting ties.
Things have been moving as per plan till now and there has not been any further communication from the Centre on the issue till date, the sources said.
The debate over the security concerns came even after Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf gave personal guarantee for ensuring top class security to the Indian cricket team for their first tour of Pakistan in 15 years.
The secretary in Pakistan's interior ministry, Tasneem Noorani, who held discussions with the BCCI team, has also gone on record saying that 'full-proof security' arrangements has been made for the tour.
He also said that there was no specific threat by any militant group to disrupt the Indian tour. As per the announced, schedule the Sourav Ganguly led Indian team is expected to travel to Pakistan in the first week of March for the full-fledged tour involving three Test matches and five One-day Internationals.
The itinerary, however, is yet to be announced and it was expected after the BCCI teams returned from Pakistan next week.
Government wants Pak tour to be postponed