Pakistan pulls out of India chess event

Decision comes to protest at hosts holding torch relay through IIOJK

APP July 28, 2022


Pakistan have withdrawn from the world's biggest international chess tournament in protest at hosts India holding a torch relay for the event through Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir, officials said on Thursday.

The 44th Chess Olympiad will see over 1,700 players from 188 nations compete in Chennai from now until August 10.

The last two competitions were played virtually because of the pandemic.

The Kashmir dispute has weathered decades of violence and upheaval since it was partitioned between India and Pakistan when both countries became independent in 1947.

The neighbours both claim it in full and have fought two of their three wars over control of the territory.

"By passing the torch relay through Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir... India has committed a travesty that the international community cannot accept under any circumstances," the Foreign Office said in a statement.

It said the matter would also be raised with the International Chess Federation and condemned the "mischievous attempt to mix politics with sports".

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The Foreign Office said, "Regrettably, India has chosen to politicise the prestigious international sporting event by passing the torch relay of this event through Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK)." The torch relay passed through Srinagar on June 21.

It said by passing the torch relay through IIOJK, in utter disregard of the globally acknowledged "disputed" status of the territory, India had committed a travesty that the international community cannot accept under any circumstances.

"India must know that by such provocative and indefensible actions, it can neither seek nor claim international legitimacy for its unjustifiable, illegal and tyrannical occupation of IIOJK continuing for over seven decades," it said.

The Foreign Office said, "Pakistan also strongly urges the international community to call upon India to end its gross and systematic violations of human rights in IIOJK, revoke its illegal and unilateral actions of August 5, 2019, and free all political prisoners including the true Kashmiri leaders."

Jammu and Kashmir is an internationally recognised "disputed" territory between Pakistan and India. IIOJK has been under forcible and illegal occupation of India since 1947 and this dispute has remained on the agenda of the United Nations Security Council for more than seven decades.

India is responsible for widespread atrocities and egregious human rights violations in IIOJK. Since India's illegal and unilateral actions of August 5, 2019, Indian occupation forces have extra-judicially killed more than 650 innocent Kashmiris. More ominously, India has been seeking to change the demographic structure of the occupied territory in flagrant violation of relevant UN Security Council resolutions, international law, and the 4th Geneva Convention.

A spokesman for India's External Affairs Ministry called the decision "surprising" and in turn accused Pakistan of politicising the event.

"I was told the team was already here," Arindam Bagchi said.


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