Pakistan blocks hockey, squash tours of India

January 2nd, 2009 - 11:13 pm ICT by IANS  

Karachi, Jan 2 (IANS) Pakistan Friday blocked its hockey and squash teams’ tour of India because of the tense relations between the two countries, with Sports Minister Aftab Shah Jilani saying the authorities were concerned about the players’ security in India in the current circumstances.”We sought advice from the foreign ministry and took the decsion that it’s not advisable to send the teams to India over security fears,” Jilani told reporters here.

Pakistan’s hockey team was scheduled to feature in a four-nation tournament at Chandigarh Jan 31-Feb 8 alongside Germany, Holland and hosts India.

The national squash team was readying for the Asian Junior Squash Championships at Chennai Jan 16-23.

The Pakiastani government decision was not surprising, considering the fact that India cancelled its cricket team’s tour of Pakistan last month following the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks. After that decision, Pakistan was expected to retaliate by refusing to let its sportsmen travel to India.

The minister stressed that sporting ties between the countries could be revived if the situation improved.

“Once we have normalcy in the situation, we can review of our participation in sporting events in India,” Jilani said.

In 2001 too, Pakistan and India broke off sporting ties in the wake of the terror attack on the Indian parliament. India lifted the ban in October 2003, paving way for its cricket team’s visit to Pakistan a year later.

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