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LAHORE, Jan 15: In a fast changing situation, Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) secretary Asif Bajwa, who looked quite calm on Monday regarding safety of nine Pakistani hockey players in India, said on Tuesday that the players will return home by first available flight.

The secretary said that he and his Indian counterpart had mutually decided to withdraw Pakistani players from the event.

“We have sent our players in the last league too and this time we also allowed them to take part in the second leg of the league, considering better relations between the two countries,” Bajwa said.

“But after protest of Shiv Sena supporters, who have now been joined by other political parties including the ruling Congress, against participation of Pakistani players in the event, we feel the Indian government may not be able to control the situation with the players also facing danger in New Delhi,” commented the PHF secretary.

“Keeping in view the entire situation, I talked to Indian Hockey secretary Narinder Batra and with mutual understanding we decided to pull out Pakistani players from the league,” he said.

However, Bajwa clarified that the forthcoming bilateral series would be held as per schedule.

The PHF secretary further said that arrangements were being made to reserve air tickets for players and hopefully they would reach Pakistan in the next couple of days.

It is pertinent to mention that Pakistan cricket team have recently returned from India after having a successful tour during which they were provided with foolproof security but now the Indian government is not willing to give security to Pakistan hockey players.