New Delhi, Mar 15 (PTI): The Indian government has called off the upcoming home-and-away bilateral hockey series between India and Pakistan due to political tension between two countries.
The Pakistan hockey team was scheduled to tour India in mid-April for five Test matches, followed by a return visit by India.
The Ministry of External Affairs has refused to give the green signal to the planned series, a day after the Pakistan Parliament passed a resolution against Afzal Guru's execution and the recent 'fidayeen' attack on a CRPF camp in Srinagar that left 5 CRPF personnel dead.
Hockey India secretary general Narinder Batra said the MEA had asked them to call-off the bilateral series in a communication last evening.
”The protocol demands permission from the Sports Ministry, the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of External Affairs for any bilateral series. We got the permissions from the Sports Ministry and the MHA but the MEA refused to give us permission.
”The MEA had sent a fax to us yesterday, asking us not to host Pakistan or travel to the country for the series for the time being. I fully support the government's decision keeping in mind the developments of the last two days,” Batra told PTI.
”We would have loved the series to take place but not at the cost of the respect and dignity of our nation. I don't blame the Pakistan Hockey Federation, it the political establishment of Pakistan which needs to understand,” he added.