ISLAMABAD - Interior Minister Ch Nisar Ali Khan yesterday ruled out sending the national cricket team to India for the World Twenty20 until security assurances come from New Delhi, saying threats from extremists are concerning.

The minister also linked the national cricket team’s visit to India for participation in T2o World Championship with a guarantee from the Indian government that foolproof security would be provided to it. “The government the other night received complete security report and the stance of BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) in writing,” he said. The government has decided the team should go to Indian as it is an international event, but the India government itself should give a guarantee to provide foolproof security to the team, he said and added if India did not give the requisite guarantee, the team would not be permitted to visit that country. How players can play cricket in the wake of threats and allegations, he questioned, but said at the same time that the response of BCCI and ICC was positive in this connection.

Pakistan team was due to fly on Wednesday for the World T20, but their departure was put on hold by the government. “Until and unless clear guarantees on security come from the Indian government, we are not in a position to decide sending the team,” Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan told media persons.

Nisar said the government and every Pakistani wanted to see the former champions play in India. “Despite a lot of apprehensions and the fact that India do not want to play with Pakistan in bilateral series on one or other pretext, the government and every Pakistani fan want to see our team, former champions, to go and play,” he said.

“This is a world event, but can cricket be played under the shadow of threats? It is the government’s responsibility to ensure security of our players and that we are doing,” he added.

Pakistan sent a security assessment team to India on Monday after voicing repeated concerns about arrangements, saying there had been threats from Hindu activists. On Wednesday the International Cricket Council (ICC) and Board of Cricket for Control in India (BCCI) shifted the March 19 game after the chief minister of the north Indian state of Himachal Pradesh refused to provide security for the match.

Nisar said the first part of Pakistan’s demand was met when the match was shifted from Dharamsala to Kolkata, but added even a full-capacity Eden Gardens stadium could be risky. “What are we demanding? We are demanding an even-playing field,” he said. “We want our players to play without any pressure. There will be about 100,000 people at Eden Gardens and even a bottle thrown at our players can disturb them,” he added.

On the other hand, Indian Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju Thursday said India was committed to providing security to Pakistan team. “We have made foolproof arrangements, it is our duty to provide security and Pakistan should have no doubts on that. Pakistan should be satisfied with our level of commitment.

Advisories to all police forces have been placed on record,” Rijiju said. But the minister refused to comment on Pakistan’s demand for a written assurance. “I will not comment on what Pakistan has said about specific commitments to any country. I cannot specify my comment to any one country. Security will be provided as per need. If the Pakistan cricket team deserves special security, they will be provided with that,” Rijiju said.

“We have to provide security for everyone. For international events, it is our sovereign duty to provide security to any country, including Pakistan,” Rijiju said.

The two teams have not played any bilateral series for more than three years and their rivalry is restricted to multi-national tournaments such as the World T20.

The arch-rivals have not played a full series since 2007. Though Pakistan did tour India late in 2012 for limited-over series, it failed to revive the ties fully.

India did not play an agreed series with Pakistan in December last year, citing refusal from New Delhi amidst heightened tensions between the South Asian nuclear rivals.