World squash body probing Pakistan’s visa fiasco

July 22nd, 2011 - 4:56 pm ICT by IANS  

Karachi, July 22 (IANS) The World Squash Federation (WSF) has launched a probe into allegations that it was responsible for a visa fiasco that saw Pakistan missing the World Junior Championship that took place in Belgium earlier this month.

According to a newspaper report, the London-based WSF has referred the case to its disciplinary committee that will study all available “paperwork” in the coming days.

At the centre of the controversy, according to the report, is Irfan Asghar, the secretary of the Pakistan Squash Federation (PSF). As PSF secretary, Irfan was responsible for getting Belgian visas for top national junior players ahead of the championships that was played at the Flemish Squash Centre in Herentals from July 13-17.

However, the Belgian authorities in Islamabad turned down PSF’s request for visas, forcing Pakistan, the former champions, to stay away from the championship. Two of Pakistan’s players - Danish Atlas and Nasir Iqbal - were among those seeded in the tournament.

Last week, Asghar claimed that a delay by the WSF in sending visa letters to Pakistan was the prime reason behind the Belgian embassy’s refusal to issue visas to Pakistani players.

He also made a stunning allegation when he went on to add that the delay could have occurred because the “WSF president happens to be an Indian”.

“We don’t know why they didn’t send us the letters earlier,” he was quoted as saying by The News. “But we have our suspicions. The fact that the WSF has an Indian president could have been a reason behind it, who knows,” he added, referring to N.Ramachandran, the WSF chief from India.

“The matter is now going forward to the (WSF) Disciplinary Committee who will review Irfan Isghar’s conduct on behalf of PSF,” a WSF official was quoted as saying in the report.

Meanwhile, Pakistan squash legend Jahangir Khan believes that the PSF is making a joke of itself by trying to shift the blame from itself. “It was the PSF secretary’s responsibility to get visas on time. He failed to do that and is now trying to shift the blame. It’s ridiculous,” said Jahangir, a former president of the WSF.

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