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T20 WC: India denies visa for Pak’s visually impaired cricket team, says report


ISLAMABAD: India has reportedly turned down the visas of Pakistan’s visually impaired cricket team for the ongoing T20 World Cup on “political grounds”, according to a media report.

In a statement, the Pakistan Blind Cricket Council (PBCC) said India has denied the team visas for the tournament, which is taking place in the neighbouring country from December 5 to 17, Dawn reported.

“This unfortunate incident has left the Pakistan blind cricket team in the lurch,” the council said, pointing out that the country had been runners-up in 2012 and 2017, the report said.

In the statement issued on Tuesday, the PBCC highlighted that Pakistan had beaten current T20 world champion India five times in a row during two tri-nation competitions in 2021 and 2022, winning both events.

“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 [the] Green Shirts, Pakistan had high chances to win the World Cup,” the statement said.

The PBCC went on to say that as per the information available, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs had denied the players clearance on “political grounds”.

“The PBCC strongly condemns this discriminating act of India as sports should be above regional politics… Our counterpart, the Blind Cricket Association in India, pleaded [with] its government for Pakistan’s clearance, but nothing was heard.”

The statement added that the Indian government’s “hatred” for Pakistan had also violated the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Dawn reported.

“This discriminating act will have serious consequence[s] on global blind cricket as we at World Blind Cricket will take stern action against them and may not allow India to host future international events,” the statement said.

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