ISLAMABAD: Reacting to India’s refusal to separate security arrangements for the Pakistan cricket team during its visit to the arch-rival country for the World Cup this year, Foreign Office (FO) on Thursday put the onus of providing fool-proof security and the right environment for Green Shirts during the mega event on New Delhi.

Responding to a question during the weekly media briefing today, FO spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said: “We believe that it is their responsibility to provide fool-proof security and the right environment for our team to participate, an environment in which our players are able to participate without fear for their safety and without undue harassment by the spectators in the stands.”

Last week, the official spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs of India, Arindam Bagchi, had said that there would be no special treatment for the Pakistan team.

“For us, Pak Team is as important as any other team. No special treatment will be given, proper cover will be provided when & wherever required.”

Earlier, the government in Islamabad gave a green signal to the national team to participate in the World Cup to be held in India in October-November this year.

“Pakistan has consistently maintained that sports should not be mixed with politics. It has, therefore, decided to send its Cricket Team to India to participate in the upcoming ICC Cricket World Cup 2023,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had stated in a press release. However, the foreign ministry had expressed concerns over security for the national team in India.

Pakistan will kick off their World Cup campaign on October 6 against the Netherlands at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium. The day matches will start at 10:00am Pakistan Standard Time (PST) while all other matches will be day-night fixtures and will begin at 01:30pm (PST).

If Pakistan qualifies for the semi-finals, they will play in Kolkata. If India qualifies for the semi-finals, they will play in Mumbai unless playing against Pakistan, in which case they will play in Kolkata.

The Cricket World Cup will be played in a round-robin format with all teams playing against each other for a total of 45 league matches. The top four teams will qualify for the semifinals, which will be held in Mumbai on November 15 and in Kolkata on November 16. The semi-finals and the final will have reserve days.

Illegal detention of Kashmiri activists

To another query, the FO spokesperson urged India to bring an end to the unjustified and illegal detention of Khurrum Pervaiz and Irfan Mehraj and numerous other Kashmiri activists who were languishing in jails for raising their voices against Indian oppression.

She said, “In a communication addressed to the government of India, UN special procedures for human rights have expressed serious concerns at the arrest, detention and charges against Kashmiri human rights defenders Khurram Pervaiz and Irfan Mehraj.”

“The communication has been signed by the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders; the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntarily Disappearances; the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Freedom and Peaceful Assembly and of Association; and the Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms,” she added.

Pervaiz, who was the Programme Coordinator of the Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCSS) and Irfan Mehraj, a researcher with JKCSS, were detained in Rohini prison in New Dehli.

The UN Special Procedures had expressed concern that their arrests and detention were designed to delegitimize their human rights work and to obstruct monitoring of the human rights situation in IIOJK. The Spokesperson said the communication by the UN Special Procedures was yet another indictment of the Indian occupation authorities in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) as it continued to silence and harass Kashmiri human rights defenders.

Pakistan is in contact with Afghan interim authorities

To another question about Taliban’s Supreme Leader Mullah Haibatullah’s recent remarks — in which he forbids cross-border attacks, the FO spokesperson said, “Pakistan welcomes all statements that would lead to cessation of terrorist activities against Pakistan.”

She said that Pakistan has remained in contact with the Afghan interim authorities on issues of our concern, including the terrorist threat that Pakistan faces.

“We hope that the Afghan authorities will honour the commitments that they have made to the international community and Pakistan, including in the trilateral meeting that took place between the foreign ministers of Pakistan, Afghanistan and China in May this year,” she added.

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