ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Tuesday regretted the non-issuance of visa to its national blind cricket team by India for participating in the ongoing T20 World Cup, stating sports events must not be politicised.

“Pakistan deeply regrets the non-issuance of visa to its blind cricket team by India for participation in the third T20 World Cup for the Blind. The tournament is being played in India from Dec 5-17,” the Foreign Office said in a statement.

According to the Pakistan Blind Cricket Council (PBCC), India’s Ministry of External Affairs had rejected the visa applications of the Pakistan squad.

It is relevant to mention here that Pakistan were runners-up of the last T20 World Cup staged in India in 2017.

The FO said as a result of the Indian decision, the Paki­stan players would be deprived of the opportunity to participate in an international event of special significance.

“This reflects India’s insensitivity towards promotion of sports meant for differently-abled persons,” the statement said, adding Pakistan had conveyed its disappointment to the Indian side. “The sports events must not be politicised.”

Meanwhile, the PBCC said it would be taking up the visa matter with the World Blind Cricket (WBC).

“The current Indian government’s hatred towards Pakistan has also violated the UN Charter for Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) that induces states to provide equal sports playing opportunities to persons with disabilities,” the PBCC said in a statement.

“This discriminatory act would have serious consequence on global blind cricket as we [PBCC] at the WBC will take stern action against them and may not allow India to host future international [blind cricket] events.”

Published in Dawn, December 7th, 2022

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