In light of India’s decision not to provide separate security for the Pakistani cricket team attending this year’s World Cup, the Foreign Office (FO) emphasized on Thursday that it is India’s responsibility to guarantee robust security and a conducive atmosphere for the Pakistani players during the tournament.

During her weekly press briefing, FO spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch stated, “The onus is on India to ensure our team is provided an environment where they can play without fearing for their safety or experiencing unnecessary disturbances from the audience.”

Arindam Bagchi, spokesperson for India’s Ministry of External Affairs, had previously asserted that the Pakistan team would receive the same treatment as any other team. He noted, “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.”

Pakistan’s government had earlier approved its national cricket team’s participation in the World Cup scheduled for October-November in India. Despite voicing their security apprehensions, Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs underscored the importance of separating sports from politics. “Sports should remain outside the purview of political disputes,” a statement from the Ministry read.

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The Cricket World Cup is structured as a round-robin competition with teams competing in 45 league matches. The top four will proceed to the semi-finals in Mumbai and Kolkata, scheduled for November 15 and 16, respectively.

Pakistan’s inaugural match is set for October 6 against the Netherlands. Depending on qualification scenarios, semi-final venues for India and Pakistan have been outlined.

Concern Over Detained Kashmiri Activists

The FO also addressed the detention of Kashmiri activists. The spokesperson called for an end to the “unlawful” detainment of Khurrum Pervaiz, Irfan Mehraj, and other activists who have opposed Indian policies. The United Nations has expressed concerns over these detentions, which allegedly aim to hinder their human rights activities.

Pakistan in Talks with Afghan Authorities

Regarding recent comments by Taliban’s Supreme Leader Mullah Haibatullah — which prohibit cross-border attacks, Baloch welcomed any commitment to ending terrorist acts against Pakistan. She further revealed ongoing dialogues with the Afghan transitional authorities about Pakistan’s security interests. Baloch remains hopeful that the Afghan leadership will stand by its commitments to both the international community and Pakistan.