Karachi:The ICC has promised to ensure visas for Pakistani visitors to watch the 2011 World Cup matches in India under its out-of-court settlement with the Pakistan Cricket Board to resolve the event's hosting rights dispute, says PCB Chairman Ejaz Butt.
Butt told reporters in Lahore that ICC President David Morgan has assured that he would speak to the BCCI to ensure that a certain percentage of visas is allocated to Pakistani visitors to watch the World Cup matches in India as political relations between the two countries are strained since last year's Mumbai terror attacks.
"We have been assured that if our team has to play in India, a certain percentage of our people would not face difficulties getting visas to travel to India," Butt said.
He said as far as the Pakistan team was concerned if it had to play group stage or knockout stage matches in India, the Pakistan Board would seek clearance from the foreign ministry.
"We are aware of the situation as is the ICC regarding the present relations and we are already in touch with our government. We will have to seek clearance from our government to send our team to India," he said.
Butt said similar protocol would apply if Pakistani players got a chance to play in the Indian Premier League next year.
Butt also played down talk off a possible boycott by Pakistan of the World Cup if it was not able to travel to India for its matches for any reason.
He said the ICC was yet to release schedule of the World Cup matches so the PCB was still not sure how many matches Pakistan could end up playing in India.
"In the 1996 World Cup we were only required to travel there for the knockout stage," he recalled.
But other sources in the PCB disclosed that Pakistan had assured the ICC that if for some reason political and diplomatic relations between Pakistan and India remained tense then it would be willing to play all its matches up to the semi-finals in the two other host countries, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
"There is no chance of Pakistan now boycotting the World Cup," one source said.