Dubai: Bangladesh on Saturday promised enhanced security for the Pakistan team during next month’s Asia Cup, after political unrest in Dhaka endangered their participation in the regional event.
The Asian Cricket Council last week decided to host the event in Dhaka from February 25-March 8 despite violence and protests in the wake of January 5 national elections, which opposition parties boycotted.
Anti-Pakistan sentiments were also sparked after Islamabad’s protest over the execution of Islamic leader Abdul Quader Mollah in December last year.
Protesters burnt Pakistani flags and staged demonstrations at the Pakistan High Commission in Dhaka.
Officials from the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) and Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) met on the sidelines of the International Cricket Council (ICC) meeting on Thursday.
“The BCB has assured the PCB of enhanced security measures for their national cricket team during the Asia Cup and security aspects surrounding the Pakistan team’s participation was discussed among representatives of Asian nations on the sidelines of the ICC meeting,” said a BCB release.
BCB acting chief executive Nizamuddin Chowdhury said the PCB had requested additional security.
“We have had a positive discussion. The PCB has requested additional security measures for the Pakistan team which will be incorporated in our security plan. We have assured the PCB that their requirements will be fulfilled,” said Chowdhury.
PCB interim chairman Najam Sethi said BCB had accepted the request for additional security.
“BCB has given a formal statement saying the Pakistan team will be provided whatever additional or special security it asked for over and above those for other teams,” Sethi said.
“We are sending our top security official (Colonel Azam) to Bangladesh to attend an ICC security meeting in January and to review security plan,” said Sethi.
Sethi said the Board was keeping the ministry of foreign affairs updated and would seek advice from them after the security inspection in Bangladesh.
“It is not that we don’t want to play in the Asia Cup but we have genuine concerns which have to be addressed first. We have to be satisfied our players can play there in peace,” he stated.
The hosting of Asia Cup will also help Bangladesh send a positive signal ahead of its staging of the ICC World Twenty20 from March 16 to April 6 .
Bangladesh media reported ICC security official Sean Morris would assess the situation in the country from next week before holding a security meeting on January 20.
There is some consternation of the political situation in Bangladesh when the security team visits, but as Nazmul Hassan, BCB president said, it is not entirely up to the BCB to keep Bangladesh safe.
He has called on the entire country to be involved in keeping players and the general environment safe. “We know why the West Indies Under-19 team left in the middle of their tour,”Hassan said. “It is because a cocktail exploded near their hotel.
“If such a thing happens again, it will be all over for Bangladesh. The impact of such an incident in the coming months would be even worse. The BCB cannot control every road and hotel in Bangladesh. It is quite a big country. We cannot stop someone from exploding a cocktail.” (Agencies)