ISLAMABAD: Cricket has an old and strong connection with overall Pakistan India relationship. The sport has successfully been used a number of times to defuse tensions between the two nuclear rivals, but occasionally comes a countercurrent that makes politics hinder the games. This time unbridled Hindu extremism in India has come to harm cricket as next month’s scheduled series between the two states have been put in greater doubt after Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif yesterday told country’s cricket board not to make any decisions regarding the series without his permission.

Earlier in the day, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar also said that Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) should never accept the offer to play cricket series in India because apparently the extremist Hindus – who carried out a number of acts of violence and extremism against Pakistan and Pakistanis – enjoyed backing of BJP government. In his informal talk at Punjab House after chairing a meeting at the interior ministry, he said he would also urge the cabinet to lobby internationally to get Shiv Sena declared a terrorist organisation. Shiv Sena is an Indian far-right regional political party with an extreme Hindu nationalist ideology which is bitterly against Pakistan. The remarks of a key government minister indicate that the future of any cricket series with India would be in jeopardy now.

However, the minister’s words are strange in the sense because his ministry deals with internal security matters and had nothing to do with foreign policy. Ch Nisar said that it was Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif who would decide cricket diplomacy with India but he would oppose it at all levels including cabinet meeting. “It is not a matter of money bur our respect and prestige because Indian government and its agents have already disgraced Pakistan very much,” he added.

The minister quoted recent examples of use f violence of Shiv Sena against former foreign minister Khursheed Mahmood Kasuri, PCB Chairman Shaharyar Khan, Executive Board Committee Chairman Najam Sethi and famous singer Ghulam Ali. Nisar said that Indian designs were dangerous and there should be no cricket with it until intentions were good. He insisted that Indian government was behind all acts of violence against Pakistanis.

“If it is not then tell us what action was taken against those who painted faces of people black,” he gave reference to Shiv Sina’ vandalism on the occasion of Kasuri’s book launching ceremony in India. “Indian government and Shiv Sena throw black ink at people’s faces…their own hearts are black,” he remarked. “Whether the tour would be political in nature or about fine arts or sports, India does not want that Pakistanis would come there,” he said. “Whatever happens in Pakistan is blown out of blue but when it happens in India, it is swept under the carpet,” he argued and added we should forget about the exercise (cricket diplomacy) in futility.”

PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan said he was still waiting for an explanation as to why the Indian government was opposed to its team playing in UAE but was adamant that Pakistan would not go to India. “There is no question of playing in India. I’m still awaiting the reason of not playing in UAE,” Khan said. “We went there in 2007 and 2012. This time not again. It is our series and we will play at our home venue which is the UAE. What is the problem playing in UAE as they had also played their IPL there as well so why not Pakistan series?” he asked.

Pakistan cancelled the passport of India-based singer Adnan Sami Khan, saying he failed to fulfill the criterion mentioned in the country’s laws. Ch Nisar confirmed the development, saying the citizen documentation of the singer was cancelled. “We will not issue NOC to him,” he said. An NOC is a basic requirement for Sami to acquire any other country’s citizenship. Pakistan had earlier refused to issue renunciation citizenship certificate to Sami after he remarked: “I don’t need the green passport anymore. I have found my home in India.” “Why would we issue the certificate to a man who has no respect for ‘sacred’ documents,” a senior officer of the interior ministry had said while commenting on the singer’s remarks.