Qureshi expresses concern over anti-Pakistan banners at WC match

Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi

London,  Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi met the British High Commissioner to Islamabad and expressed concerns over the display of anti-Pakistan banners during the June 29 cricket World Cup match against Afghanistan, media reports said on Friday.

According to the reports, Qureshi told British envoy Thomas Drew here on Thursday that the use of the stadium for anti-Pakistan propaganda was an issue of concern for Islamabad and that it was against international norms and ethics, reports Xinhua news agency.

During the match in Leeds city, a private aircraft was seen flying over towing controversial banners against Pakistan, whose videos and pictures were circulated on social media.

On June 30, Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement, saying: “The flying of anti-Pakistan banners and use of sports venues for such malicious propaganda is unacceptable.”

During his meeting with Drew, Qureshi also discussed the “disrespectful attitude” the Pakistani players were subjected to during the match.

Nasty scenes were seen during and after the match when groups of people had been found attacking Pakistani spectators with punches, kicks, glass juice bottles, chairs and trash bins in and outside the stadium when they were celebrating Pakistan’s victory in the nail-biting contest, according to reports.

Following the incident, Pakistan also urged relevant authorities to thoroughly investigate the matter and bring those responsible to account.

In response to Pakistan’s call, the International Cricket Council (ICC) also expressed its displeasure about the incidents.

“We do not condone any sort of political messages at the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup and will work with West Yorkshire police to deal with and understand why this has happened and to ensure it doesn’t happen again,” said a statement from the ICC.