Despite growing demands for its hockey team to pull out of next month’s World Cup in India following the “humiliation” meted out to its cricketers in the Indian Premier League (IPL) auction in Mumbai, the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) has no plans of pulling out its team from the mega event unless its government orders it to do so.
The PHF has employed a wait-and-watch policy following Pakistan’s decision of not sending a parliamentary delegation to India in protest. Pakistan ministers, Rehman Malik (interior), and Ijaz Jakhrani (sports), had on Thursday, also talked about giving a “befitting reply” to India.
Former cricketer Zaheer Abbas said the country should pull out its hockey team from the World Cup that starts in New Delhi on February 28. “We must be clear about our sporting relations with India because for the last one year they have been doing everything possible to hurt our image and isolate us internationally,” he said.
PHF media manager Shahzad Malik, however, dismissed such demands as “personal views”. “The official view of the PHF is that we will follow the policies laid down by the government. If it advises us not to participate in the World Cup, we will not. We have always obeyed the guidelines issued by the government and will do the same in this case too.”
He said till Thursday afternoon, the PHF had not received any advisory from the government on the issue. The Pakistan team is currently playing a warm-up series against the Netherlands in Doha, Qatar, where it was held to a 4-4 draw on Wednesday.