Pakistan contingent unsatisfied for participation in South Asian Games

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ISLAMABAD, Oct 27 (APP): Representatives of sports federations of
the country have expressed their unwillingness and reservations over
participation in the multi-sports South Asian Games in India early next year,due to Shiv Sena threats and India’s persistent refusal to play scheduled cricket series with Pakistan.
Officials of Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) and Pakistan Sports
Board (PSB), however, said the government will be briefed on the issue of
participation in Games in due course “and they will take a decision in this
regard”.
The Federation representatives said the Hindu fanatic organization Shiv
Sena’s agitation against Pakistani players, artistes and officials such as
against PCB Chairman, Shaharyar Khan, in the recent days, could escalate
into a serious security challenge and threat to the Pakistani contingent bound for South Asian Games.
Pakistani contingent is training for South Asian Games, scheduled to be
held in the Northeast Indian cities of Gauhati and Shillong, in February next year.
Khalid Mehmood, Secretary General, Pakistan Olympic Association, said
the fate of Pakistan’s participation in the event will be decided after the
government’s approval.
“We have a meeting of the Association of National Olympic Committees
(ANOC) in Washington on October 29 to 30 and in this meeting we will raise
the issue with our Indian counterpart and whatever will be the outcome of
it we will convey it to the government and then they will decide about the
national contingent’s participation,” he said.
He said “we will discuss about the security arrangements with our
Indian counterpart and of whether the environment is safe for Pakistanis or not.
Muhammad Azam Dar, Director National Federations, Pakistan Sports
Board, said it is premature to say anything at this stage.
“The training camps of the various sports federations’ to participate in the
Games are in progress and it is early to decide about our participation in the Games,” he said.
Indian attitude toward sports ties with Pakistan, especially
regarding cricket, is undermining the prestige of the country and “other sports bodies cannot remain aloof from India’s response to cricket series with Pakistan, the federations’ representatives said.
Muhammad Arshad Sattar, Secretary, Pakistan Wrestling Federation
said “India’s attitude over Pakistan in the recent days has gone from bad to
worse and I think these Games shouldn’t be held in India”.
“If still this event is to be held in India then they must provide us
with stern security as Pakistanis have serious threats from Shiv Sena in that country,” he said.
Malik Iftikhar Ahmed, President, Pakistan Wushu Federation, said Pakistan
should not participate in the Games because of the shabby manner in which
they are treating Pakistanis. “It is a matter of our country’s prestige and
nothing is more important to us than our dignity,” he said.
Amjid Amin Butt, Honorary Secretary, Pakistan Weightlifting Federation,
said if the security situation improves than only we will participate in the
Games. “We have also showed sportsman spirit but India has always lacked
it,” he said.
Butt said it is up to the Pakistani government whether or not they
provide us with the NOC for participation in the event.
Syed Azhar Ali Shah, Honorary Secretary, Pakistan Cycling
Federation, said if India wants to conduct the South Asian Games then it
should improve its attitude towards Pakistan first. “The way they are treating our cricketers is painful and if the situation remains the same then we shouldn’t participate in the Games,” he said.
Shamim Hashmi, Honorary Secretary, Pakistan Karate Federation,
said the national Karate team won’t be participating in the Games. “India
has some internal issue of their national karate federation and they have
withdrawn the karate event from the Games,” he said.
Group Captain Aamir Nawaz, Honorary Secretary, Pakistan Squash
Federation, said it is not up to him to decide about the team’s participation in the event. “It is the Ministry of Inter Provincial Coordination (IPC),Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) and Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) who will decide about the national contingent’s participation in the event,” he
said.
Muhammad Sarwar, Honorary Secretary, Pakistan Kabaddi
Federation, said he wants the Games to be conducted in a way where
Pakistanis are given full protocol and respect. “This way the hatred caused
after the Indo-Pak cricket series issue might get low,” he said adding politics should be kept aside from sports and India should understand it.