Pakistan wants to resume cricketing ties with India: Khar

By AFP
Published: February 29, 2012

Khar says PCB was endeavouring to revive cricket ties with India. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

ABU DHABI: Pakistan Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar on Monday called for the resumption of bilateral cricket ties with India, which had been stalled by the latter following terrorist attacks in Mumbai in 2008.

“Pakistan pushes for cricket ties with every country, especially with India,” Khar told reporters while watching the third and final Twenty20 between Pakistan and England.

“I remember that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said that it (cricket) is a great way to build bridges and if both the governments feel the same way then we should work to promote it.”

Khar said the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) was also endeavouring to revive the ties.

“The PCB chairman has written letters to the Indian board and when I was in India (last year) I noticed a great deal of keenness on the part of India and the International Cricket Council (ICC) to revive this brand of cricket,” said Khar.

“Let me clearly articulate that the Pakistan government not only supports this, but is also determined to push for international cricket between all the countries.”

India stalled all bilateral cricketing ties with Pakistan, following the terrorist attacks on Mumbai in November 2008, which New Delhi blamed on militants based across the border.

Both countries are slated to play in 2012 under the ICC Future Tours Programme, but India’s hectic touring schedule has been the main hurdle.

Pakistan last toured India in 2007, while India featured in the Asia Cup held on Pakistani soil in 2008.

Khar said Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, who attended the World Cup semi-final in Mohali on Singh’s invitation in March last year, also wants Indo-Pak cricket to be revived.

“Our prime minister has always talked about it and India is also very enthusiastic. The only problem is scheduling and that is why there have been problems, but cricket plays a huge role in bringing the people of both the countries together.”

“We have always believed in cricket diplomacy. We both are good cricketing nations and possess much love for the game. People in Pakistan are bound by cricket and we need that unity at the moment.”

Khar said the security situation in Pakistan was conducive to hosting international cricket.

“The situation in Pakistan has improved considerably in the last few months. The year 2009 and 2008 were bad, but 2011 and 2012 have seen a lot of the normalcy return. I don’t think there is as much of a security risk as is perceived.”

International cricket has been suspended in Pakistan since the terrorist attacks on the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore three years ago.

Khar said Pakistan was ready to provide top-level security to international teams.

“International Polo players come to Pakistan and they go unnoticed. The high profile nature of cricketing events obviously makes the difference, but we can provide the required security,” said Khar.

Pakistan has promised to place high-level security for the Bangladesh team’s tour for a three-match one-day series in April.

Khar said cricket and other cultural activities will improve Pakistan’s image. “We have always maintained that cultural outreach is needed. The way Pakistanis are portrayed is not correct; we need our cultural heritage to create a good impression.”

 

Published in The Express Tribune, February 29th, 2012.


Reader Comments (23)

  • MAD
    Feb 28, 2012 - 12:27PM

    PM GIlani visited Mohali last year. pakistan lost due to Misbah ul haq throwing the match away. Hina Rabbani Khar attended yestersdays T20 in Abu Dhabi, again Misbah threw the match. Is there a link here?

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  • Feb 28, 2012 - 12:44PM

    Vienna,February 28,2012
    Mama, Hina Rabbani Khar, make note it is not India that stopped
    playing cricket with Pakistan.Blame the lawlessness in land of the
    pure Pakistan. There is no point playing the game and fixing it
    as well in lands where no participant lands´ laws operate.Besides
    the players should be sport not spoil sport.Again ensure the rule
    of law first and foremost.
    Taravadu Taranga Trust for Media monitoring TTTMM india
    –Kulamarva Balakrishna

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  • Osama
    Feb 28, 2012 - 12:48PM

    Our government should have to play an important rule for cricket, and PCB should invite internationals team to come and play here.

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  • K. Salim Jahangir
    Feb 28, 2012 - 12:52PM

    Ms.Khar !keep giving concessions to Bharat & whenever they get chance they will stab Pakistan in the back. Incidentally,could you please quote one concession which Bharat offered us or even discussed with us objectively?It is not cricket,but Siachin,water & many other major issues, if resolved,can create better environment between the two countries,but not cricket alone.

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  • Nasir
    Feb 28, 2012 - 12:58PM

    that’s great honey but will we end our support for terrorism (strategic assets) , stop accommodating terrorists in luxury villas , stop exporting terrorism to the west, stop teaching extremism in our schools and most important of all stop ministers from attending rallies that have been arranged by or feature banned outfits.

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  • Yuri Kondratyuk
    Feb 28, 2012 - 1:00PM

    Is cricket diplomacy a diplomatic word for cricket revenues ?

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  • M. Ahmed
    Feb 28, 2012 - 1:36PM

    Webmaster,

    Please read,

    We have always maintained that cultural outreach is needed. The way Pakistanis are portrayed is not correct so we need to demonstrate cultural heritage and that is the best way to reach the people and create a good impression,” said Khar.

    Please review and correct if applicable.

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  • rohool
    Feb 28, 2012 - 2:29PM

    yes this is right that Pakistan believes in cricket diplomacy, but who will take the responsibility of bombing in the future either on cricketers or visitors of other nation from the cricket. the world is now 100% sure that Pakistan is a safe haven of the Taliban and other insurgent groups that make the country and the region insecure. and the world also observing the image of pakistan with Balochistan after the US passed the bill of knowing or giving free hand or allowed them to rise the vice of freedom from the panjabi nation, so pakistan completely change their view and idea for these people Ex: removing ban from the high profile people of blochistan, providing them with the every other facilities which are their for the other region of pakistan. Recommend

  • well-wisher
    Feb 28, 2012 - 2:33PM

    The Indian PM is trying his best to improve ties with Pakistan and now Ms Khar’s suggestion for cricket matches between two countries is yet another step for boosting the same. However, I feel that hockey matches would precede cricket due the busy schedule of team India during the current year.

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  • talal
    Feb 28, 2012 - 2:38PM

    @MAD……your name reflcts your mentality…:)

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  • THE
    Feb 28, 2012 - 3:15PM

    I think the Indians see this talk of playing cricket etc as a weakness rather then a good will gesture. Khar should just watch a good game of cricket and go home, rather then saying useless crap about us playing with India etc. I think if the government of Pakistan wants to do anything good for cricket in Pakistan then they should first bring international cricket back to the country.

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  • Indian
    Feb 28, 2012 - 3:58PM

    Today’s score :-

    Sri Lanka 320/4 (50 ov)
    India 321/3 (36.4 ov)
    India won by 7 wickets (with 80 balls remaining)

    ======Yes now we want cricket ;)========= Just kidding…

    Indian team have become unpredictable like pakistani team..haha..

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  • Feb 28, 2012 - 4:23PM

    We gave away world cup for cricket diplomacy

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  • Moise
    Feb 28, 2012 - 6:14PM

    Maybe if Pakistani ministers take course on game theory they dont get lemons for us from every deal.

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  • Feb 28, 2012 - 6:20PM

    No more cricket diplomacy we don’t wanna lose another semifinal

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  • Nasir
    Feb 29, 2012 - 3:02AM

    @Moise – Pakistani Ministers cannot take a course on game theory – they are to busy attending rallies of banned outfits

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  • Travian
    Feb 29, 2012 - 9:10AM

    @Pakistan politics:
    What semifinal???? Pakistan couldnt even clear the first round! Day Dreamer! lol!

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  • hussain ifzal
    Feb 29, 2012 - 10:55AM

    It is hightime that Pakistan stopped begging India to play cricket with it.The Pakistanis including the foriegn minister and chairman P.C.B.should have some self respect.The Indians are constantly treating them like trash.We Pakistanis living in Canada are totally asahmed of the way the Indian Govt.&the Board are treating us.

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  • Feb 29, 2012 - 2:34PM

    I think as long as there is a law and order situation in Pakistan playing cricket there would not be a good idea. There is a comment here ‘gave away world cup for cicket diplomacy’-hypothetical statement.Nobody will buy that.Mr Jahangir is talking about giving concessions to India. Playing cricket with Pakistan is the last thing on the minds of the common Indian folks [unfortunately]. Maybe the politicians might consider that!

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  • Senthilman
    Feb 29, 2012 - 4:51PM

    Wow the Pakistan actually want to do something constructive with India before kashmir is settled. This is a big comedown, I wonder why no comments from Defence council of Pakistan with regards to this?

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  • Junaid Saleem
    Feb 29, 2012 - 5:47PM

    I Personally think Hina Rabbabi Khar should focus on her foreigh services instead of sports. Leave it to the Sports minister.
    @Dr Priyanka:
    Even if Law and Order is good, I don’t think we want to play with you. Majority of People here has no interest at all in Playing with India,. It’s the Govt. that issue such statements. An ordinary person do not have such desire, you bet.
    @Senthilman:
    No, The series will take place after the Kashmir Issue is settled. You haven’t heard her fully. No comments from defence Council on this because they don’t think you are important enough to give comments. Right now they are focused on US and Europe.

    @Travian:
    I think you did not forget your teams clean white wash by the hands of English and Australian teams. LOL. Day Dreamer.!!!

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  • ifesvr
    Mar 1, 2012 - 8:30AM

    Why isn’t Pakistan as sympathetic and patriotic about cricket and cultural ties as it is about trading ties with India.
    Why don’t you guys say we won’t have any cricket and cultural ties and exchanges until the Kashmir issue and water issues with India are solved. Or you realize their pain when it comes to trade only.

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  • subba Rao Ch
    Mar 3, 2012 - 5:41PM

    It is high time that both the countries play cricket for good relations,for the crowd and improve standard of game,An India Pakistan clash in Cricket is the biggest event in the cricket world,Fans also must change their outlook and should be sportive whoever wins

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