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Punjab Police escort Pakistani cricket fans to Chandigarh

Written by: Staff
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Wagah, Oct 24 (UNI) Pakistani cricket fans coming to witness tomorrow's Pakistan-New Zealand match of the ICC champions trophy in Mohali were escorted by armed Punjab Police personnel to Chandigarh today.

Though arrangements had been made by the Customs and Immigration authorities at this check post to receive 1000 cricket fans from across the border, just 27 turned up. The Union Home Ministry had given clearance for the grant of visas to 1000 Pakistani visitors for the two league matches featuring Pakistan at the PCA stadium in Mohali.

Pakistan take on New Zealand tomorrow and on October 27 they play against Sri Lanka.

Among the fans was Javed Elahi, brother of West Punjab Chief Minister Pervez Elahi. He was accompanied by his family members.

According to information received by the authorities here, on account of Id-ul-Fitr, a large number of Pakistani cricket lovers have prefered not to come. The authorities here expect more fans to cross over tomorrow.

Another reason for the lack of enthusiasm among the Pakistanis could be attributed to the fact that the Indian authorities had announced that visas would only be issued for Chandigarh and Mohali.

Fans who came to watch the India-Pakistan in March last year were issued visas for Amritsar, Jaipur, Delhi, Agra, Ajmer and a few places in Punjab besides Chandigarh and Mohali.

Taking advantage of the laxity on the part of the Indian security forces, 11 of the 2,700 Pak fans 'disappeared'. Later two of them were arrested on charges of indulging in subversive activities while five went back home later and the rest are still listed as 'missing'.

The 27 fans who arrived today were put on board a bus at the check post and taken to Chandigarh. Two Punjab Police escort gypsies accompanied the bus and four cops were also 'posted' inside the bus.

On their arrival at Chandigarh, they have been put up in a hotel and surveillance is being kept. The fans have not been allowed to stay at any private residence, unlike the last time when they put up with friends and acquaintances.

They will be provided with a vehicle to take them to the PCA stadium at Mohali. A foreigners registeration counter is being maintained at the stadium.

UNI XC-HS AY KP1956

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