The IPL has extended the deadline for Pakistan's players to submit the relevant documents needed to ensure their participation in next season's IPL, even as Pakistan's sports ministry seeks permission for the players to play there next year.
The league's chief executive, Sundar Raman, told Cricinfo that the deadline for the PCB to submit the no-objection certificates (NOCs) and other documents to enable the Pakistan players to take part in the 2010 tournament now stands extended to December 7.
With the Pakistan team currently playing a Test series in New Zealand, it became clear over the last week that the necessary paperwork would take more time. Wasim Bari, the PCB's chief operating officer, had earlier said the NOCs had already been sent by the board in order to initiate the visa process.
A possible hurdle, however, could be created by the National Assembly Standing Committee on Sports which raised questions over the NOCs. "The NOCs issued to the cricketers for participation in the IPL is without the approval of the federal government hence they are illegal,' said Jamshed Ahmed Dasti, an increasingly vocal legislative voice against the Pakistan board and head of the committee. "Who will be responsible for security of the players, not least the federal government, because it was never consulted for issuance of the NOC."
Pakistan's sports ministry says it has no problems with the players going to India, but insisted that it had to seek permission first from the foreign and interior ministry. NOCs from three players - Umar Gul, Sohail Tanvir and Abdul Razzaq - have been sent. "The (sports) ministry has referred the NOC cases of these players to the foreign office and interior ministry for political and security clearance," spokesman Faik Ali told AP.
"We processed the cases of these players on the very same day on urgent basis and we do hope to get the reply from both ministries by next week. The sports ministry has no objection that its players go and compete in IPL, but we have to seek the government's clearance. Our ministry has forwarded the cases to the concerned ministries and now we will wait for their response."
Pakistan's players were absent from the second IPL, held earlier this year in South Africa, after their government did not allow them to travel to India - where the tournament was originally to be held - for security reasons. The decision came in the wake of the Mumbai attacks last year, after which relations between India and Pakistan deteriorated considerably. Eleven players from Pakistan had taken part in the first IPL, though after the Mumbai attacks, only four were retained by their franchises, though their contracts were suspended until further resolution.
The PCB has been keen on getting their players involved once again after Ijaz Butt, the board chairman, raised the matter on a trip to India last month and said after that the relevant government authorities had also cleared Pakistan's players to play.