ISLAMABAD: Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaisar has told his fellow parliamentarians, included in the Pakistan Parliamentary Cricket Team, that will play the eight-nation Inter-Parliamentary Cricket World Cup (IPCWC) that they will have to personally bear all the expenses incurred on the visit.
However, some selectees have emphasised that the government or the National Assembly Secretariat or the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) should foot the bill.
In a letter to the nominated players, the speaker’s secretary, who is also the team manager, informed the lawmakers that the expenses will be met by them owing to the ongoing austerity drive of the government and Parliament of Pakistan in order to allay the burden on the public exchequer.
Therefore, in addition to the airfare, the letter said, the accommodation expenses will also have to be personally borne by the participants. Accordingly, reservations have been made in a London hotel at the rate of £189 per night.
They were asked to deposit an amount of £2,000 with team captain Makhdoom Zain Qureshi, who is also the Parliamentary Secretary for Finance, on account of their accommodation and transportation for ensuing comfortable stay in Britain.
The letter said that in appreciation of their overall performance during the practice/training sessions, the competent authority has approved their participation in the Inter-Parliamentary Cricket Tournament to be played on July 8-15 as part of the Pakistan Parliamentary Cricket Team.
The organisers have formed Group A and Group B, with the former having England, Australia, India and Afghanistan in it and Pakistan, New Zealand, South Africa and Bangladesh figuring in the latter.
Being part of the opposing groups, Pakistan and India will play the semi-final if they were able to show the requisite performance in their respective groups. Four teams will be in the semi-finals of which two will play the final.
Meanwhile, it is learnt that some selected players are opposed to personally bearing the expenses on the trip. They have stressed that they don’t have the resources to bear the costs. They proposed that if they had to foot the bill, they should be allowed to stay in cheap hotels or some other residential places. A few other players want to stay at their personal houses in London.
However, cricket officials point out that all the team members have to stay at one place to avoid any problem in reaching the venue at the appointed time. They say that nowhere are team members permitted to have stays at different places.
They expressed surprise over the inclusion of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Shah Farman in the team on the ground that he was not a parliamentarian. They claimed that Shah Farman got a place in the team for reasons other than the performance. To sort out the issues relating to the expenses and other matters, the selected players will hold a meeting on June 17 at the Diamond Cricket Ground, Islamabad. From June 24, they will start the practice at the same place. They will depart for London on July 2.
A total of 22 federal and provincial legislators have been picked up for the Pakistan team to be captained by Zain Qureshi with Ali Zahid being the vice captain.
An informed source told The News that there was a considerable tussle between Zain Qureshi and Ali Haider Gilani (member of the Punjab Assembly), son of former Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), because of their unending political rivalry in Multan over the inclusion of young Gilani in the team.
Initially Ali Haider, who turned out to be a good wicket-keeper on the basis of his performance in the field, was chosen for this role, but was later replaced with Ameer Sultan of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). However, Ali Haider was not excluded from the team despite the pressure from the opposite camp.
Twenty-two federal and provincial lawmakers have been selected for the Pakistan squad. They belong to the PTI, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and PPP. Prime Minister Imran Khan and Speaker Asad Qaisar are the honorary members of the team.