Days after Bal Thackeray’s threat to disrupt the upcoming India-Pakistan cricket series, the Union Government on Thursday snubbed the Shiv Sena leader saying it would provide best possible security to Pakistani players and spectators during the 15-day tour to India.
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of an event here, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said sports and politics should not be mixed as the cricket series would pave way for improving bilateral ties between the two nations.
“We should not mix sports and culture with politics. There should be different views. This series will pave the way for the revival of better ties between the two countries,” he said.
“When cricketers from other countries, not just Pakistan, come to India, it is our duty to protect them. We will discuss and provide the best possible security. We are going to be very alert,” Shinde said, when asked about Thackeray’s threat.
In his appeal, earlier this week, Thackeray asked his party workers not to permit the scheduled matches anywhere in India and slammed Shinde for giving clearance to the Pakistan team’s tour.
However, Shinde in his response suggested that 26/11 attacks issue should not be mixed with politics.
On Wednesday, Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Zaka Ashraf said Pakistan was not bothered by statements coming from some groups in India. Ashraf also said that he has been assured by the BCCI of foolproof security arrangements in India.
“We have full confidence in the arrangements that will be made by the hosts and we are sure our players will be able to focus on their cricket,” Ashraf had said.
Sources said the Pakistan Cricket Board is also expected to send high-level security delegation ahead of Pakistan team’s tour to coordinate security and other arrangements with Indian agencies.
During the series beginning December 25, India and Pakistan would play three One Day Internationals and two Twenty20 matches.