ISLAMABAD       -      Pakistan tennis player Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi has lashed out at Indian tennis team coach Zeeshan Ali, who had said that Aisam and Aqeel Khan overreacted by boycotting the Asia-Oceania Group-I Davis Cup tie between the countries, scheduled to be played at Nur Sultan, Kazakhstan from November 29 to 30.

Talking to The Nation on Thursday, Aisam said: “First of all, Zeeshan should have shown some courage and informed the masses about facts of the issue, rather than questioning us. The fact is that Indians never wanted to play the tie here, as they always create hurdles and involve politics in sports. If Indians were willing to come and play the tie here, then why they kept on lingering the things and avoided to send passports of the players and officials? Why they used International Tennis Federation’s (ITF) platform to deprive millions of Pakistani fans from watching their favourite players in action in front of them. Indians had used every trick in their pocket right from the start of the issue to avoid traveling here.

Zeeshan questioned that why we did not boycott the previous matches at neutral venues. His question is not less than a joke, which shows his childish approach. The fact is that Pakistan was earlier barred from hosting international events, including Davis Cup matches, but when the ban was finally lifted, all the top tennis playing nations except Hong Kong visited our country. They all enjoyed their tours in a friendly environment, as they did not have security issues at all. Zeeshan’s claim that it is not possible for the players to perform under so much security cover is another attempt of hiding the facts, as it was Indian demand to provide security to their players.”

Aisam further added: “Zeeshan must not forget that when we travelled to Guwahati in 2016 to play the 12th SAG, we were kept like hostages for 10 days, as we were forced to stay and eat at the same hotel. Excessive security was placed at the hotel and surroundings and we were allowed only half an hour to visit any shopping mall, but we never raised any question.”

Aisam also referred recent Sri Lankan team’s visit to Pakistan to clear his point. “Sri Lankan cricket team recently travelled here amidst heavy security. They were not only happy, but also won the T20 series. Now they are coming back next month to play two Tests in Rawalpindi and Karachi. Zeeshan must not mix things, hide his country’s negativity and his own blunders. Indians are doing injustice with the people of Kashmir from last 100 days or so, but no one is paying attention towards the miseries of Kashmiris.

“Unlike of Zeeshan and Indian Tennis Federation, we always love and feel proud to represent Pakistan at any international forum, as we are promoters of peace, love, harmony and mutual respect. I and Aqeel took the decision in the best interest of tennis and Pakistan, as we wanted to give a very clear message to the ITF and Indian Tennis Federation that nobody can take our country for granted. I hope commonsense will prevail in the Indian Tennis Federation and Zeeshan will understand the facts and stop trying to be more loyal than the king. Pakistan is completely safe for holding all sporting events,” Aisam concluded.