ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Pakistan said on Thursday its cricket team would not take part in the World Twenty20 tournament in India without a public guarantee from the host country over the safety of its players.
The most anticipated match at the tournament between India and arch-rivals Pakistan was shifted to Kolkata on Wednesday over concerns about security at the original venue for the March 19 clash at Dharamsala.
But Pakistani officials said that wasn’t enough.
“Until on a government level we are ... given a public guarantee (of safety), unfortunately we are not in a position to give the Pakistani team permission to go to India,” Pakistani Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan told reporters.
Outside of international tournaments, cricket matches between India and Pakistan have been suspended since gunmen killed 166 people in Mumbai in a three-day rampage in 2008, which India blames on a Pakistani militant group.
Top cricket countries have also refused to tour Pakistan since 2009, when gunmen attacked a bus carrying a visiting Sri Lanka team near Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium.
The International Cricket Council said on Wednesday it had been given assurances on security from all the Indian state authorities that are hosting matches.
Writing by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; Editing by Mark Potter