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India faces sanctions after Pakistani athletes fail to get shooting World Cup visas

Updated February 21, 2019

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Shooters from different participating countries take part in a practice session with air pistols at the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup at Dr. Karni Singh Shooting Range, in New Delhi. ─ AFP
Shooters from different participating countries take part in a practice session with air pistols at the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup at Dr. Karni Singh Shooting Range, in New Delhi. ─ AFP

NEW DELHI: India could face sanctions after two Pakistani shooters failed to get visas to attend a World Cup event in New Delhi, the sport’s world body said on Wednesday, amid tensions over the Pulwama suicide bomb attack in India-held Kashmir.

Two Pakistani shooters, G.M. Bashir and Khalil Ahmed, and their manager were to take part in the event but had not arrived for Wednesday’s eve-of-contest formalities.

The International Shoot­ing Sport Federation (ISSF) warned India of consequences. “The ISSF World Cup in New Delhi faces an urgent situation as Pak­istani athletes cannot get entry visas to participate in the competition,” it said in a statement.

The federation and the Indian organising committee are making “all efforts to solve the situation to avoid the discrimination of the Pakistani team”.

“Besides that, the ISSF and the organising committee are discussing the possible consequences for India as a host country for future international competitions, in all sports.”

India, which has expressed a strong interest in hosting the 2032 Olympics and 2030 Asian Games, could face International Olympic Committee (IOC) action if Pakistan is blocked from taking part.

The event, with 500 shooters from 58 nations, is a qualifier for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

National Rifle Associ­ation of India general secretary D.V. Seetharama Rao said it was not certain the Pak­istanis would cross the border even if they had visas.

Published in Dawn, February 21st, 2019