LAHORE: Renowned Pakistani umpire Aleem Dar reached Lahore from India on early Tuesday morning after Shiv Sena activists threatened to prevent him from standing in the fifth one-day international between India and South Africa in Mumbai on Sunday (October 25).
Aleem Dar was withdrawn from the India-South Africa series by the International Cricket Council after Hindu nationalists stormed the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) headquarters in Mumbai and threatened to prevent the umpire from standing in the fifth ODI on Sunday.
Aleem Dar, a member of elite panel of ICC umpires, had officiated in the first three ODIs and was scheduled to stand in the fourth and fifth ODIs in Chennai and Mumbai on 22 and 25 October, respectively.
"Under the present circumstances, it will be unreasonable to expect from Aleem that he will be able to perform his duties to the best of his abilities," an ICC spokesman said.
Earlier, the much-awaited talks between the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on the proposed bilateral series have been rescheduled for today (Tuesday) in New Delhi after workers of Shiv Sena, a Hindu extremist group, stormed the BCCI headquarters in Mumbai to protest against PCB chief Shahryar Khan’s visit.
Shortly before scheduled meeting of Pakistan Cricket Board chief Shahryar Khan and new BCCI President Shashank Manohar, some 50 members of the Shiv Sena Hindu militant outfit stormed the board’s headquarters at Wankhede stadium in Mumbai.
The extremists carried saffron flags symbolic of Hinduism and black flags to condemn resumption of Indo-Pak cricketing ties, shouting anti-Pakistan slogans.
Shiv Sena fanatics were holding placard bearing slogan “Shaharyar Khan Go Back”and threatened that they would not allow cricket series between Pakistan and India.
Police have detained around 20 protestors and tightened security at the site.
"The talks have not been called off. Mr Manohar and Mr Khan will speak to each other in New Delhi," IPL Chairman and senior Board functionary Rajiv Shukla told Press Trust of India.
"In no way, the dialogue will be stopped. BCCI has never compromised with national interests," he said.
Condemning the attack on BCCI headquarters in Mumbai by Shiv Sena workers, ICC president Zaheer Abbas said politics should never be mixed with sports.
Abbas, who is also a former Pakistan cricketer, said: "It is not a new thing. It has been happening for long. But being the ICC president, I want cricket to spread all around the world."
"Politics and cricket are two different things. Pakistan is not asking India to play in Pakistan. Pakistan is asking for a bilateral series to be played at a neutral venue," he said.
Meanwhile, Chief Executive of International Cricket Council (ICC) David Richardson regretted the attack on BCCI office by the Shiv Sena extremists.
Addressing a news conference in Dubai, he said the cricket playing nations should promote mutual cooperation.