Karachi: After pulling out of the 19th Asian Squash Championship which starts today in Chennai, the Pakistan Squash Federation (PSF) has filed a complaint with the World and Asian squash bodies against the Indian High Commission for delay in issuance of visas to a four-member Pakistan team. The PSF claimed it had submitted applications for visas of players and officials on March 17.
PSF secretary Tahir Sultan alleged that after refusing the visas to the Pakistan team comprising Farhan Mehboob, Farhan Zaman, Tayyab Aslam and Waqar Mehboob on Monday, the Indian High Commission asked them to submit their passports again.
“After returning our passports, they (Indian High Commission) contacted us and asked us to submit the passports again for the issuance of visas, but we have now decided not to apply again,” Mr Sultan said.
He claimed that the Indian authorities have used delaying tactics while processing the visa applications to keep Pakistani players out of the tournament. He warned that Pakistan would pursue the matter with the squash bodies and the Professional Squash Association.
“We have always said that there should be no politics in sports, but apparently India has its own policy. The refusal of visas is unacceptable since the Asian Senior Individual Championship is not an Indian event but a regional one,” Mr Sultan said.
The Pakistan foreign ministry officials have taken up the matter with their Indian counterparts and said they are concerned about the constant refusal of visas to Pakistani sportsmen for major international events in India.
“The foreign office has spoken to Indian diplomats on this issue. Pakistani sportsmen participating in major international events in India are being denied visas and it is becoming a frequent matter,” the source said adding that the Pakistan junior hockey team was similarly kept out of the World Cup that was held in India in December last year. The team was dropped from the list of 16 participating nations in the World Cup in Lucknow saying the PHF had not fulfilled confirmation requirements before the given deadline for teams.
Pakistan’s sports minister Riaz Pirzada had said they were considering “a complete ban on sports team from the country taking part in any event on Indian soil after the treatment meted out to the Pakistan junior hockey team by the Indian High Commission and the International Hockey Federation which is headed by an Indian”.
Pakistan’s former squash legends Jahangir Khan and Jansher Khan criticised India for its “non-sporting approach” and called on the PSF and Pakistan Olympic Council to take up the issue at international level.
“Our sportsmen should not be deprived of participation in international events which are held on the Indian soil,” Jansher Khan said.