LAHORE – The agreement to hold Pakistan-India Bilateral Hockey Test Series 2013 to 2018 was signed by Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) and Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) in a signing ceremony held here at the PHF headquarters on Saturday.

According to the agreement, Pakistan and India will play bilateral hockey series from 2013 to 2018. In the first phase, Pakistan will visit India in March 2013 and play five matches against arch-rivals while India, in reply, will come here in April to play five matches.

After the agreement signing ceremony, Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) secretary Nirendra Batra PHF president Qasim Zia, secretary Asif Bajwa held a press conference here at the National Hockey Stadium conference room.

Speaking on the occasion, Nirendra Batra said no security delegation would come to Pakistan to check the security arrangements before the commencement of Pakistan-India bilateral hockey series as they had believe in PHF it would provide them foolproof security.

“I think when a guest comes to someone’s home, the hosts take great care of his guest so I hope the Pakistan Hockey Federation will also take great care of Indian team and provide us the best foolproof security.”

“Hockey is the game of India and Pakistan but unfortunately, it is declining fast in this region for the last few years so it was vital to stage Pakistan-India bilateral hockey series which will not only attract our youth back to the game but also help us in promoting it across the region. So the Pak-Indian bilateral series agreement was signed in order to boost hockey in the region and I hope this purpose will be achieved soon by holding Pak-India hockey series,” he believed.

Talking about consecutive Pak-India clashes in the international tournament, the IHF secretary said: “The consecutive matches between the two neighbouring countries is a proof that Asian hockey style is thriving at international level and the time is not so far, when it will get its place back which once it enjoyed in the past glorious years.”

He said the Pak-India competitions were not just restricted to senior level but it would also be organised at junior level. “In the upcoming Junior Hockey World Cup next year in India, junior teams of the both the neighbouring countries will play a series against each other to prepare fully for Junior World Cup.”

PHF president Qasim Zia on the occasion said: “With the agreement signed by PHF and IHF, the Pakistan-India bilateral hockey series is going to be revived after the gap of six years. The message of peace which Nirendra Batra brought here will send a positive image of Pakistan to the world while the resumption of Pakistan-India hockey series on bilateral basis is very significant for both the countries as it will help us in improving and promoting hockey across the Asian region.”

“Politics and elections have nothing to do with sports so we should keep them away from it. The elections in both the countries will not disturb the Pak-India bilateral hockey series,” he added.  PHF secretary Asif Bajwa said that the hockey events between the countries were witnessed by more than one billion people across the world so the game of hockey was incomplete without Pakistan-India competitions.

“The Pak-India bilateral series will provide the world’s hockey crazy fans an opportunity to witness clash of titans on regular basis. The events will also help in promoting Asian hockey style which was once considered as the world’s best style,” he added.

Talking about security issue in the country, Bajwa said: “Security is now an issue of the entire world for which they are also worried. But we will try our best to provide the best foolproof security for our guests.”