Kolkata: The ego war continues. Politics has the upper hand and Indo-Pak sporting relations are at an all-time low. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is miffed with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for showing indifference towards resumption of bilateral series and now, the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) follows suit.
According to The Express Tribune, the PHF secretary Shehbaz Ahmed has taken it by offence “the unfair snub in the upcoming Junior Hockey World Cup,” and hence “the federation will not send the team to participate in any event in India.” Ahmed pointed out that PHF would lodge a protest with the International Hockey Federation (FIH) against the manner in which the Indian government dealt with issuing visas to Pakistani hockey players.
“We will certainly not be participating in any tournament there [in India],” he said. “The way the Indian government handled the matter of issuing visa for our players, it’s definitely damaging for the game of hockey,” he was quoted by the newspaper.
“We also hope that hockey authorities all over the world will be taking notice of Indian government’s attitude, and we will also try to convince FIH of not letting India host any major hockey event in the future,” Ahmed added.
On the contrary, the Indian government showed flexibility in dealing with the Malaysian team that hasn’t gone down well with Pakistan. “It’s extremely disappointing that they [Indian government] issued visa to Malaysia within three days to make sure we won’t be able to participate in the World Cup,” he said.
The deteriorating relations between the two countries make headlines. Each blames the other for fomenting disturbances in its region. At the end of the day, sporting and cultural exchanges are at the receiving end. Pakistani actors like Fawad Khan and Mahira Khan are still unacceptable from the political point of view in India. Similarly, the possibility of the two countries facing each other in the sporting zone is facing the heat.
At the end of the day, lawmakers on both sides of the border have the final say.