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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan deeply regretted the non-issuance of visas to its blind cricket team by India for participation in the third T-20 World Cup Cricket Tournament for the Blind.

In a statement, the Foreign Office said that sports events must not be politicised. “We have conveyed our disappointment to the Indian side,” said Mumtaz Zahra Baloch, the Foreign Office spokesperson.

The tournament is being played in India on 5-17 December 2022. As a result of the Indian decision, she added that Pakistani players would be deprived of the opportunity to participate in an international sporting event of special significance.

“This reflects India’s insensitivity towards the promotion of sports meant for differently-abled persons,” she added.

Earlier, in a statement, the Pakistan Blind Cricket Council (PBCC) said the Indian Ministry of External Affairs had rejected the visa applications of the Pakistan team, halting them to participate in the mega event.

The national blind cricket team was scheduled to leave for India on December 4, however, India’s reluctance in issuing visas has put their world cup campaign in jeopardy.

“This unfortunate incident has left Pakistan Blind Cricket Team in the lurch. Pakistan was a serious contender to win the World Cup as Pakistan has been the Runners-up twice in the earlier two editions of this format of World Cups (2012 & 2017) and has beaten the current T-20 World Champion India five (5) times consecutively in the last five encounters during two Tri-Nation competitions in 2021 and 2022 and won both events,” said PBCC in a press release.

It further stated: “It was highly likely that Pakistan and India would have locked horns in the Final of the ongoing World Cup and considering the current form of Green Shirts, Pakistan had the high chances to win the World Cup.”

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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