Long march won’t disturb England Tests, says Imran

Imran Khan

British High Commissioner to Pakistan

Imran Khan, the leader of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), assured Christian Turner, the British High Commissioner to Pakistan, and Ramiz Raja, the head of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), on Tuesday that the upcoming long march would not interfere with the Test series between Pakistan and England, which will begin in Rawalpindi on December 1. 

The PTI has said that it will launch a protracted march against the current administration on November 26 from Rawalpindi. 

English Test team’s trip of Pakistan

Prior to this year’s T20 World Cup, England visited Pakistan after a long absence of 17 years to play a seven-match T20 series, which the visitors won 4-3. The second part of the English Test team’s trip of Pakistan will include three Test matches in Rawalpindi (Dec. 1-5), Multan (Dec. 9-13), and Karachi (Dec 17-21). 

In their combined discussion with Imran at his Zaman Park mansion, Turner and Ramiz discussed the significance of the England team’s visit to Pakistan and shared their worries about how the security of the visitors would be jeopardised in the event of political upheaval in the nation. 

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Imran, the captain of the 1992 World Cup-winning Pakistani team, was informed during the discussion that the aforementioned series was important for both nations’ cricket and needed to be free of any potential security-related issues. 

Political Campaign

Imran’s response was quite encouraging; he told Turner and Ramiz that his party members would not disrupt the Rawalpindi Test and emphasised that the English squad would not be in danger from his political campaign. 

Imran is a fervent political rival of Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif, who is also PCB’s patron-in-chief, hence it is unclear if Ramiz went to Zaman Park after receiving approval from him. 

Control of PTI in Punjab

It should be noted that Rawalpindi City is under the control of the PTI in Punjab. Therefore, the provincial government is directly responsible for setting up and maintaining security in the city. 

To gain assurances about the security required for the orderly conduct of the Test series, Ramiz and Christian still preferred to meet with the PTI chairman.

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