A team from Pakistan could not take part in the 4th Asian Pencak Silat Championship, currently underway here, due to visa issues, officials said on Monday. The Pakistani team was expected to take part in the Championship, which was inaugurated at the Sher-e-Kashmir Indoor Stadium, as the organisers had put up the flag of the neighbouring country, alongside other participating nations.
“We were expecting the Pakistan team and had even made all out efforts to arrange for their visa at Indian High Commission in Islamabad. The High Commission staff was very cooperative and promised that visa will be issued despite very short notice,” Mohammad Iqbal, an official of the Indian Pencak Silat Federation, told PTI on Monday.
Pakistan Pencak Silat Federation President Rana Abdul Majeed, however, claimed that his team faced hassles in getting visa from the Indian High Commission in Islamabad. Majeed said while Iqbal’s efforts had helped in expediting the access to Indian High Commission, the officials there had told them to apply for visa on Monday.
“They (High Commission officials) informed me that Saturday and Sunday are off (holiday) days and you can apply on Monday. It is not possible for us, even if we get visas on same day, to reach Srinagar,” he told PTI in an email interview.
He said the Pakistan team could not apply for visa 35 days in advance, as required by the Indian High Commission, as they were away in Indonesia to take part in the Jakarta Asian Games. Majeed said the Pakistan Silat team would have been happy to participate in the championship if the visa had been issued even only one week ahead of the tournament.
“I am feeling sad that we are not participating in the mega event in Srinagar,” he said. He expressed hope that the two countries ease the visa norms of each others’ sportspersons.