Pakistan wrestlers likely to be denied Indian visa for Asian Championships
Pakistani wrestlers might not be able to take part in the upcoming Asian Wrestling Championships that will be held in New Delhi next month.
Pakistani wrestlers might not be able to take part in the upcoming Asian Wrestling Championships that will be held in New Delhi next month after Indian High Commission has not accepted the application and the passports of the athletes from the country, despite getting an invitation letter to participate in the event by the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI).
A six-member contingent from Pakistan had applied for visas for the event that will be held From February 18 to February 23. Four wrestlers, namely Muhammad Bilal, Abdul Rehman, Tayab Raza and Zaman Anwar besides two officials had sought visas, which was denied as the Indian High Commission claimed that the applications were given late.
âThe High Commission refused to take the passport and said the time is too less to grant visa. We still have 20 days for the Asian Championships,â an official of the Pakistan Wrestling Federation (PWF) told Scroll.in.
The PWF has now requested the External Affairs to interfere in the matter, and a letter for the same has been sent to the Indian High Commission in Islamabad.
Last year, after India had denied visas to Pakistani shooters to participate in the ISSF World Cup in New Delhi following the Pulwama attacks, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) had banned the country from hosting any international events. They had also withdrawn the Olympic quota places of the shooting events in which the Pakistanis were to take part in. The IOC had stated that denying visas to players from other countries to participate in global events was against the Olympic Charter, and had proceeded to urge all international sporting bodies to not stage competitions in the country.
The Indian Government, then, had to write to the IOC, stating that no athlete would be denies a visa for future events that will be held in the nation after which the ban had been withdrawn.Back in 2017 as well, the squash and the wrestling teams from Pakistan had been unable to take part in the Asian Squash and the Wrestling Championships in Chennai and Delhi respectively after they had not been granted visas. While the international relationship between the two countries is at crossroads, denying sportsmen the right to play based on political tensions is not the right way forward.
After much dilly-dallying, Pakistan wrestlers are set to become the first athletes from the neighbouring country to compete in an international event in India since the Pulwama terror attack last year. As reported by this newspaper, the Indian High Commission that had not been âacceptingâ visa applications from Pakistan team, has finally accepted them.
Pakistan Wrestling Federation operational manager Farid Ali confirmed the development and said their participation at the Asian Championships is certain. âYes, itâs done. We expect to get visas in a couple of days,â he said. The event is scheduled in New Delhi from February 18 to 23.
Even as the Indian government started process to grant visas to grapplers from Pakistan on Friday, it is still undecided on Chinese wrestlers, making the hope of their participation glimmer with each passing day.
Earlier, China had sent a list of 40-member contingent comprising 30 grapplers for the Asian Championships slated in New Delhi from February 18 to 23. However, coronavirus outbreak seems to have derailed both the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) and Chinaâs plan to compete in the event.
The WFI chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh though affirmed a couple of days ago that he has received assurance from the Indian government in this regard but latest developments in the wake of the outbreak in China indicate towards possibility of non-participation of countryâs grapplers.
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