29 February 2024

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Pakistan’s Prime Minister appoints a high-level committee to make a decision on the ODI World Cup trip to India

Shehbaz Sharif, Pakistan’s prime minister, has formed a ministerial committee to assist assess if Pakistan would travel to India for the ODI World Cup in October-November 2023. Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari will lead the committee.

The committee’s primary responsibility will be to provide recommendations about Pakistan’s travel plans to India. On that basis, Pakistan’s prime minister will approve the country’s participation.

This is in response to PCB’s letter to the government last week asking for guidance on whether the squad is permitted to travel to India and, if so, whether there are any objections about any of the five locations. In that letter, the administration was also asked if it wanted to deploy a security mission to India.

The committee will also determine if Pakistan will travel to Ahmedabad for their third league-stage encounter against India on October 15. Aside from that, the committee will give suggestions about Pakistan’s upcoming tour to the other four Indian cities.

Pakistan now faces the Netherlands and Sri Lanka in Hyderabad, India in Ahmedabad, Australia and New Zealand in Bengaluru, Bangladesh and England in Kolkata, and Afghanistan and South Africa in Chennai.

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Aside from Zardari, the group includes interior minister Rana Sanaullah and law and justice minister Azam Nazeer Tarar, among others. It will also include Ehsan ur Rehman Mazari, Maryam Aurangzeb, Asad Mehmood, Aminul Haque, Qamar Zaman Kaira, and Tariq Fatemi, the Prime Minister’s Special Assistant for Foreign Affairs.

Shehbaz Sharif, Pakistan's prime minister, has formed a ministerial committee to assist assess if Pakistan would travel to India.

The committee, which also includes intelligence chiefs and the foreign secretary, is made up of members from several political parties. That is a likely barrier against a change in government – the existing administration still has 34 days remaining in its electoral term, and cross-party participation on the committee is designed to guarantee that decision-making is not influenced by a change.

This is believed to be the first time such a high-profile ministerial committee has been formed for this reason. Normally, the PCB consults with the foreign ministry before travelling to India, but the wide spectrum of ministries in this case reflects the bigger stakes surrounding the ODI World Cup in India. As with each ICC event, Pakistan’s participation is dependent to official sanction, particularly when travelling to India.