Pakistan hockey board awaits government nod for India event

December 27th, 2008 - 8:17 pm ICT by IANS  

Karachi, Dec 27 (IANS) Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) Saturday denied it has pulled out its team from a double-header in India, saying that it is still awaiting a word on the tour from the authorities.PHF secretary Asif Bajwa said that the federation is awaiting a reply from the Foreign Ministry on a request for a No Objection Certificate for the India tour.

Earlier this month, Pakistan had confirmed its participation in the double-leg hockey tournament to be played in Chandigarh and Jalandhar next February.

But after India’s decision to cancel its cricket team’s visit to Pakistan over last month’s terror attack in Mumbai, it became apparent that in a retaliatory move Pakistan will not send its hockey players to India.

Suresh Kalmadi, the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president, Friday ‘confirmed’ that Pakistan has pulled out of the double-header that will be featuring world and Olympic champions Germany, Holland and host India.

“Pakistan is not playing. We are in process of inviting another foreign team,” Kalmadi, who is also heading India’s ad-hoc hockey committee appointed by the IOA, was quoted as saying.

However, Bajwa said that the PHF has not sent any such message to India. “We have received no intimation from the authorities over the tour of India,” said the Olympian.

But well-placed sources said that it is highly unlikely that the government will clear the hockey team’s tour of India in the current circumstances.

Meanwhile, Pakistan’s squash officials have also lost all hopes of entering their team in the Asian Junior Squash Championships to be played in Chennai next month. Pakistan was supposed to defend both the team individual titles in the championships but the chances of the squash team getting a clearance to go to Chennai are almost zero.

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