ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Squash Federation (PSF) has taken strong notice of Indian government’s snub to Pakistani players and non-issuance of visas to players and officials for the 19th Asian Senior Individual Squash Championship 2017, which is set to start in Chennai, India today (Wednesday).
Talking to The Nation on Tuesday, PSF honorary secretary Wing Commander Tahir Sultan said: “PSF senior vice president Air vice Marshal Shahid Akhtar Alvi has written letters to Asian Squash Federation (ASF) president David Mui and World Squash Federation’s (WSF) chief executive officer Andrew Shelley and informed them about the injustice being done with Pakistani players and officials.”
Tahir said that the PSF senior vice president also made the federation’s point very clear. “Pakistan is a squash super power and had ruled world of squash for decades and it was Pakistan, which laid the foundation of the Asian Squash Federation. The Indian behaviour is not acceptable to any respectable nation. We have set two demands with Asian and World federations, firstly cancel the event and secondly allocate the event to some other country in Asia.
“When an event is allocated to any country, it is their national and moral duty to provide all the required facilities to the visiting teams and players, rather than creating hurdles. We have submitted visa applications with Indian High Commissioner on March 17, more than a month and we were quiet hopeful that the visa process would be duly initiated, but despite several reminders and visits, the Indian High Commission staff never gave us positive reply and they had only one reply, that was they had been waiting for clearance from Delhi,” he added.
He said that was it the way to treat the champions. “Even if we are not the champions, it is the host nation’s responsibility to provide visas, security and all the facilities to the visiting teams, just like we did, whenever we hosted PSA events. We not only arrange visas and accommodation but also extended warm hospitality to each and every individual. Sachika is the prime example, when she wanted to play in the first and second edition of Bahria Town Squash, we go all the way to favour her and ensured she must be provided visa and the best hospitality.”
If Pakistan’s case was not properly handled by the squash’s supreme governing bodies, the PSF would launch a proper protest campaign through media. “It is world squash bodies’ prime responsibility to provide justice to Pakistan, as we have a genuine case and expect justice will prevail. We will conduct a press conference in a day or two as we want to take sports journalists onboard and we are grateful to media for lending overwhelming support to national cause and expect media to take this case accordingly and unearth India’s dark and ugly face.
“In fact, their anti-sports policies will soon result in complete international sporting isolation. We want to make it clear to all the international sports loving countries that today it is Pakistan’s turn and we are at receiving end, but tomorrow one of them will be India’s next target. Now is the time to join hands and fight against injustice, as soon as the SVP is free from taking the issue at all the forums, sports journalists will be invited for detailed discussion,” he added.
“We have also send detailed summary of security plan to Interior Ministry and asked them to check and if they want any changes or recommendations, they send us back so that we may share the plan with PSA and WSF regarding hosting of PSA tournaments in Pakistan. I am sure the PSA will lift the negative warning very soon,” Tahir concluded.