PAKISTAN players are unlikely to be participating in the Indian Premier League for security reasons, and a court decision in Sindh could hasten a solution to the thorny Indian Cricket League issue.
Pakistan's foreign ministry barred their international players from travelling to the IPL due to security concerns that followed the November terrorist attacks in Bombay. The belief in some quarters in India that the Pakistan government was somehow involved in the shootings increased the danger to individuals.
Pakistan's Sports Minister Aftab Jilani said clearance was intitially given for participation in the IPL, leaving security as the franchise's responsibility. "We had given the No Objection Certificate, but the final decision was up to the government," Jilani said. "Ever since these attacks the situation has got tense, and even Pakistani artists are facing problems in India."
The IPL's attitude to the unofficial ICL was successfully challenged in a provincial court in Pakistan. A judgment suspended the ban imposed by the Pakistan Board barring players from domestic matches after they agreed to join the unofficial ICL, a restraint that affected about 19 players.
In 2007 the Pakistan Cricket Board, in deference to Indian wishes, barred players such as former Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq and batsman Mohammad Yousuf from playing at all levels in the country.
The ICL players challenged the ban in the provincial Sindh high court last month. The ICL lawyer Zahid Fakhruddin Ibrahim said justice had been done. "Judge Amir Hani Muslim has suspended the PCB ban imposed on the ICL players and they are now free to play," he said. Asked if the players could now play for Pakistan, Ibrahim said: "The ban was only on domestic cricket. It's up to the PCB to select a player for an international match or not and that cannot be challenged."
The players represented the Lahore Badshahs in the ICL season, coached by Moin Khan, and were a major attraction, winning the 20-overs league last year.