Pak cueists issued visas to play in Asian Snooker C`ship

Indore: Three Pakistani cueists, including last year`s runner-up Mohammad Sajjad, have been issued Indian
visas to participate in the Asian Snooker Championship
starting here from April 23.

Apart from Asian number two and Pakistan`s third ranked
snooker player Sajjad, current national champion Mohammad
Shahid and Imran Shehzad will also feature in the eight-day
long event.

Pakistan`s appearance in the event was put under a cloud
due to visa issue but Billiards and Snooker Federation of
India (BSFI) vice-president and Madhya Pradesh Billiards and
Snooker Association (MPBSA) president Bholu Mehta
confirmed the participation of the top three players to reporters.

"We have received the information from the Pakistan
Billiards and Snooker Association (PBSA) that the three
players have been issued visas by the Indian government,"
Mehta said.

"This development will help improve bilateral sporting
ties between the two countries," he added.

Sajjad has been accorded the top billig in the
championship, which will also see the cream of Indian cueists
including Pankaj Advani and Yasin Merchant.

Advani and Merchant have been seeded second and third
respectively in the Rs 3.5 lakh tournament to be played at the
Yashwant Club.

The 44 players from 19 Asian countries will be vying for
top honours.

India and Pakistan have been working to restore their
bilateral sporting relations through cricket and hockey
diplomacy since the cricket World Cup semifinal between both
the countries in Mohali.

The semifinal was watched by Indian Prime Minister
Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza
Gilani, leading to softening of relations between the two