Qureshi, Afridi criticise BCCI for targeting KPL

Cricket only politicised in apartheid era of South Africa, says Shehryar Afridi   

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Foreign Affairs Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi Monday came down hard over the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for politicisation of Kashmir Premier League (KPL) saying that sports should not be sacrificed for politics.

Speaking to media here at the Parliament House, Qureshi urged the International Cricket Council (ICC) to take notice of the Indian attitude.

“The people are waiting for Kashmir Premier League. I condemn India’s attitude of politicizing Cricket. Events like Kashmir Premier League promote normal healthy life activity. Let us hold events like Kashmir Premier League in Indian Illegally Occupied Kashmir too. Who has stopped you anyone from promoting sports in the IIOJK,” argued Shah Mehmood Qureshi when asked to comment over India’s coercing of foreign cricketers by preventing them from participating in the KPL.

“Kashmiri players, whether from Azad Kashmir or Occupied Kashmir, if they move forward, we should encourage them,” said Shah Mehmood Qureshi, adding that BCCI’s attitude was bringing a bad name to India as the BCCI had been threatening international cricketers that if they play KPL, they will not get Indian visas.

He said it would have been better if the KPL matches in Azad Kashmir had been screened in Srinagar just like when cricket is played in Sharjah, they are screened in Srinagar,” Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi said.

“Why are the Indians so afraid of Kashmir Premier League? Pakistan Cricket Board should support this activity too,” Shah Mehmood Qureshi said.

Separately, Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Kashmir Shehryar Khan Afridi in a statement said that politics or disputes between member states has never been allowed to be a deciding factor in the sport.

In a series of tweets posted on social media site, Twitter, the Parliamentary Committee on Kashmir Chairman Shehryar Afridi said that the only time cricket has been used in a political issue previously was in Apartheid era of South Africa.

“India’s latest attempt to politicise cricket is a good example of how it is using its influence to force other countries to exceed to its stand on Kashmir. India’s brazen attempt to not allow anything related to Kashmiris come at any level is because it wants to avoid all debate and reference to Kashmir as it will ultimately lead to revelations about its brutality and occupation in Kashmir,” the statement said.

Kashmir Committee said that that provided Indias stand is that the Kashmir Premier League is contentious because the territory is disputed, how did India allow or hold international cricket matches in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir in the past?

“In fact, Kashmiris used those cricket matches, even before armed rebellion began, to show their opposition to Indian presence in Kashmir,” the Chairman Kashmir Committee concluded.

Mian Abrar
The writer heads Pakistan Today's Islamabad Bureau. He has a special focus on counter-terrorism and inter-state relations in Asia, Asia Pacific and South East Asia regions. He tweets as @mian_abrar and also can be reached at [email protected]

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