MEA hurdle sees India pull out of Pak hockey meet

Malaysia,the third team in the tournament proposed to be held in Lahore from April 9 to 13,had withdrawn two days back.

Written by Press Trust Of India | Lahore/ New Delhi | Published: April 5, 2012 12:32 am

India has pulled out of the three-nation international hockey tournament in Pakistan after its External Affairs Ministry refused permission on security grounds,forcing the Pakistan Hockey Federation to call off the event. Malaysia,the third team in the tournament proposed to be held in Lahore from April 9 to 13,had withdrawn two days back.

“It’s with deep regret we have to announce that India has said it can’t send its team for the competition,” PHF secretary Asif Bajwa told a press conference in Lahore.

“The Indian foreign ministry feels security situation in Pakistan are not ideal for international hockey,that is why India is not coming,” he added.

Hockey India,however,said in a statement in New Delhi that it was keen to take part in the tournament but had been advised by the External Affairs Ministry not to travel to Pakistan “unless backed by credible high level assurances of security from Pakistan side”.

“Ministry of External Affairs has sent a communication dated 3 April 2012 conveying that in view of the security situation prevailing in Pakistan,the visit of the Indian Hockey team would not be advisable unless backed by credible high level assurances of security from the Pakistan side,” the HI statement said.

“India’s participation in this tournament was approved by the Steering Committee of Sports Ministry last month and HI conducted the Selection Trials at Bangalore on 16 and 17 March 2012 where the Pakistan bound team with the captain and vice-captain was announced. The flight tickets to Lahore were also booked immediately thereafter,” it said.

The two countries have not been engaged in any major sporting event since the Mumbai terror attack in 2008. Bajwa added that PHF will again discuss the issue with Indian authorities to review their decision.

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