-File photo

Pakistan Billiards and Snooker Association (PBSA) President Alamgir Sheikh on Thursday appealed to the Interior Minister of the country to help facilitate the approval of visas for two Indian cueists who were expected to compete in a 6-nation event.

“I sent invitation to five countries including India. But now our interior ministry is not giving NOC to Indian players. It is a very disappointing and humiliating situation for us. This shows the communication gap and disorganization within the country. I appeal to Interior Minister Rehman Malik to look into the matter and provide NOC to the Indian cueists and save our blushes,” Sheikh said.

The PBSA is hosting the 6-Nation International Snooker Championship from March 4-9 at PC Hotel in Karachi.

“We have been making efforts for a long time to organize international tournaments in the country but when we convince foreign players to come to Pakistan, our own people let us down.”

“In December 2011 when the Chinese hockey team toured Pakistan to play a four-match Test series, Rehman Malik was the chief guest for the opening ceremony. During his speech, Malik said that providing security to international teams was the duty of the government and he assured all sports bodies and federations of watertight security for all international teams they would host in future. News tickers have been running on TV channels since yesterday but no official from the Interior Ministry has taken notice of the issue.”

India’s Yasin Reza Merchant and Mohammad Faisal Khan registered for the tournament but the Pakistani embassy in India is said to have denied the players the visas due to a failure of the Interior Ministry to issue NOCs.

Apart from the Indian players, two players each from Egypt, Thailand, Iran and UAE are expected to take part in the event.

International Billiards and Snooker Federation (IBSF) President Pascal Guillaume of France, IBSF Secretary Mohammad HM Elkammah of Egypt and a delegate from Iran were also expected to be dignitaries at the tournament.

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