Pakistan considering pulling out of Junior Hockey World Cup

Islamabad: The Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) has threatened to pull out of the Junior World Cup to be staged across the India-Pakistan border in December this year after the Indian government cancelled the visit of the Indian team to Pakistan for the 10-match bilateral series, due to security reasons and growing tensions between the nuclear-armed neighbours.

However, the International Hockey Federation, which is hosting the Junior World Cup, can take action against Pakistan if it does not participate in the tournament. Furious over the attitude of the Indian government, PHF secretary general Muhammad Asif Bajwa said that they will only agree to play a hockey series with India in the future if India tours them first, adding that the negative attitude of the Indian government has suspended the hockey series and has damaged the cause of hockey in the sub-continent.

Stating that sports are a messenger of peace and brings closer people of different nations, Bajwa said that the PHF condemned India’s policy of mixing politics with sport and added that they will not play the hockey series on a neutral venue now.

The Indian hockey team was to tour different cities of Pakistan from April 23 and Pakistan was due to visit cities in India from April 5-15 for the series, which would have revived the bilateral hockey ties between the traditional rivals after nearly seven years.

The cancellation of the series came in the wake of renewed tensions between the two countries after five Indian paramilitary police were killed in an ambush in Srinagar by militants, whom Indian officials have suspected of being from Pakistan, despite denials from Islamabad.