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Pakistan condemns India for threatening foreign players over KPL

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has strongly condemned India’s politicization of cricket by preventing international players to participate in the Kashmir Premier League (KPL).

In a tweet uploaded on Saturday, Foreign Office Spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri said “India’s politicization of cricket cannot be condemned enough”. He termed “unfortunate and regrettable” the reports where Kashmiri players were denied to share the dressing room with renowned cricket players.

“Depriving young Kashmiri players of the opportunity to share the dressing room with big names in cricket is unfortunate and regrettable,” he further wrote in the tweet.

The reaction came as former South Africa masterblaster Herschelle Gibbs accused the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) of “trying to prevent” him from participating in KPL and bringing their “political agenda with Pakistan into the equation”.

Herschelle Gibbs blasted India’s cricket board for threatening him for playing Kashmir Premier League being organised by rival Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).

Gibbs disclosed that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is threatening him and doing everything possible to prevent him from playing Kashmir Premier League. The former Protea opener made the allegations public on his Twitter account, saying: “Completely unnecessary of the @BCCI to bring their political agenda with Pakistan into the equation and trying to prevent me playing in the @kpl_20. Also threatening me saying they won’t allow me entry into India for any cricket-related work. Ludicrous.”

Earlier former Pakistani wicketkeeper-batsman Rashid Latif too had made similar allegations. “The @BCCI warning cricket boards that if their former players took part in Kashmir Premier League, they won’t be allowed entry in India or allowed to work in Indian cricket at any level or in any capacity. Gibbs, Dilshan, @MontyPanesar & several others have been selected in KPL.”

Sri Lanka’s star cricketer Tillakaratne Dilshan, who is playing for the Muzaffarabad Tigers, announced to play in the KPL despite the Indian pressure.

The chairperson of Dilshan’s franchise, Arshad Khan Tanoli, assured to provide all possible facilities and security to the star cricketer. Saying that Dilshan is available to his team for the entire tournament, he asserted that the Sri Lankan star’s participation is a slap on the face of the Indian cricket board.

The Kashmir Premier League is a tournament which was conceived by politician Shehryar Khan Afridi. The tournament will have six teams: Overseas Warriors, Muzaffarabad Tigers, Rawalakot Hawks, Bagh Stallions, Mirpur Royals and Kotli Lions are the six teams in the tournament.

Imad Wasim, Mohammad Hafeez, Shahid Afridi, Shadab Khan, Shoaib Malik and Kamran Akmal are the skippers of the respective teams.

Each team will have five players from Azad Kashmir. The matches will be played in Muzaffarabad Cricket Stadium.

The KPL event will continue for 10 days, with six teams vying for the prestigious trophy in 18 matches from August 6 to August 17.

Separately, Pakistan on Saturday welcomed a letter from 16 European Parliament members to the European Union (EU) Commission on the human rights violations in Indian-occupied Kashmir.

Foreign Office Spokesman Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri said that they welcome a letter from the president and vice president to the EU commission that highlighted human rights violations in occupied Kashmir.

Despite the propaganda, the criticism and condemnation over Indian atrocities in the occupied territory are continuing, the spokesman said and added the violations have multiplied and even UN Security Council has debated the matter thrice since the illegal act committed on 05 August 2019.

He said that the Office of the UN High Commissioner has released two reports in 2018 and 2019 and had called for an independent investigation into the human rights violations.

The foreign office said that they have raised the human rights violations in occupied Kashmir at global forums constantly and India could not neglect the demands of the global community. The Spokesperson said India will have to ultimately give in to global conscience, end its unabated human rights violations in parts of Jammu and Kashmir under its illegal occupation and take steps for peaceful resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in accordance with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions and wishes of the Kashmiri people.

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