KARACHI: The Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) suffered a huge setback in its bid to revive international events in the country after it was forced to call off the upcoming tri-nation series following withdrawl by Malaysia and India.
Both countries had confirmed their participation for the tournament that was scheduled to be held at the National Hockey Stadium in Lahore from April 9 but, according to the details, Malaysia became the first team to withdraw from the event, leaving a bilateral series with India as PHF’s only option.
However, India refused to travel to Pakistan after its government denied them permission due to security concerns, forcing the PHF to cancel the tournament altogether.
“It’s very disappointing for me to announce that India is not coming,” said a dejected PHF Secretary Asif Bajwa in Lahore. “It’s very sad to see both teams withdrawing despite giving their confirmation earlier.”
‘India not serious on reviving ties’
Bajwa was also upset with India’s attitude.
“We visited India many times but it seems like they aren’t serious about reviving bilateral ties.
“We assured them fool-proof security but we’ve been told that India’s foreign ministry feels the situation in Pakistan is not ideal for the team to travel.”
However, Bajwa stressed that the situation in Pakistan had improved and the country was able to host international tournaments as he cited the example of a bilateral series that was held against China.
“We hosted China recently and everything went smoothly. We will continue to make efforts to hold international tournaments in Pakistan and are looking for other options.”
Published in The Express Tribune, April 5th, 2012.