India bound to issue visas to Pakistani cricket fans: FM

Jalil Abbas Jilani says Pakistan Cricket Board will take up the matter of fans' visas with ICC

By Web Desk
September 28, 2023
Caretaker Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Jilani addresses the press conference in Islamabad on September 28, 2023 in this still taken from a video. — YouTube/PTVNews

Caretaker Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Jilani has stressed that New Delhi is bound to issue visas to Pakistani cricket fans to attend the World Cup 2023 being hosted in India, as per the rules set by the International Cricket Council (ICC).

Travel between Pakistan and India is usually an issue for a number of reasons in light of strained ties between the traditional rivals.

Even the national cricket team and staff received their visas after a significant delay that made Pakistan's participation in the showpiece event, starting October 5, doubtful at some point.

"As per ICC rules, providing visas to the fans is mandatory," the foreign minister said while addressing a press conference in Islamabad on Thursday.

Jilani said that Pakistani fans must get Indian visas and the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) will take up the matter with the ICC.

Pakistan and India haven't played bilateral series in any format since 2012-13. Pakistan last toured India for the ODI and T20I series.

The current national squad couldn't travel to the neighbouring country until last night due to uncertainty surrounding the issuance of visas.

It also affected the Men in Green's schedule ahead of World Cup as they couldn't gather in Dubai for a "team-bonding trip".

'Pakistan enters second phase of CPEC'

While answering a question about the progress of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), FM Jilani said that Pakistan has entered the second phase of the mega developmental programme, which is a very transformational and important project for the country.

"There is absolutely no question of it being rolled back," he added.

The second phase of the mega project, the interim foreign minister said, would involve the upgradation of railways and agriculture, technical cooperation, information technology (IT) cooperation and many other areas.

He stressed that "only progress" will be seen in CPEC in days to come.

While talking about the Pakistani delegation's visit to the United States, Jilani said that Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar made a key address at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) and attended various significant sessions, including a meeting on the epidemic diseases.

The FM said that the caretaker PM also had a busy schedule on his New York visit, during which he presented his stance on the issue of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK).

"We told the world clearly about the right of self-determination of Kashmir and human rights violations going on there," he added.

'Absolutely no change in policy over Palestine'

Moving on to the Palestinian conflict, the interim FM said that major human rights violations are taking place in Palestine. "The Palestinian issue should be resolved as per the wish of Palestinian people."

He also said that there is no change in Pakistan's foreign policy as far as Palestine is concerned and the maintains the same position on the matter. "Pakistan will not imitate other countries on Israel but will protect its own interests."

He added, "We want the establishment of a free and independent state of Palestine."

Responding to a question about Afghanistan, the foreign minister said that not only Pakistan but the entire world has concerns about the terrorist attacks that took place in the past few weeks.

He said that the good thing is that there is a dialogue going on with the Taliban government and Islamabad has emphasised that Afghanistan is responsible for stopping the attacks on Pakistan originating from Afghan soil.