Pakistan should not play in Dharamsala: Imran Khan

“I don’t believe the Pakistan team should play at Himachal Pradesh,” said Imran Khan. © AFP

Imran Khan, the former Pakistan skipper, has said that his national side should not play the highly-anticipated World T20 clash against India in Dharamsala, which is scheduled for March 19 following “hateful statements and resistance” shown by Virbhadra Singh, the Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh.

Imran said on Sunday (March 6) that the statements issues by the minister were disappointing, according to Dawn News. “The statement by the Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister is an irresponsible one and is totally against the standards of hospitality and hosting. The Chief Minister’s statements clearly promote hate,” said Imran.

“Amid this situation, I don’t believe the Pakistan team should play at Himachal Pradesh,” he added, also fearing that the crowds will be too hostile which could lead to security concerns.

In the aftermath of objections raised by Kangra-based families of martyrs and ex-servicemen that considered hosting Pakistan an insult to the sacrifice made by the soldiers who had lost their lives in the Pathankot airbase terror attacks in January, the minister, in his letter to the union home minister, expressed his inability to provide security for the match between the two sides.

“They are not opposing the holding of matches. They are against the Pakistan team playing in Himachal Pradesh,” Virbhadra had said.

However, Rajnath Singh, India’s home minister, said that amidst all the uncertainty, central paramilitary forces will be provided to ensure security for the clash. “If the [Himachal Pradesh] chief minister asks for security forces, we will provide,” he said.