There might have been some security concerns in sending their athletes to India ahead of the ongoing 12th South Asian Games, but chef-de-mission of Pakistan Islahuddin Siddiqui said on that his country’s contingent did not face any such issues in Guwahati.
Before the start of the SAG, Pakistan had expressed security concerns in sending their athletes to Guwahati and Shillong, and their National Olympic Committee had even raised the matter with their Indian counterparts during the meeting of Association of National Olympic Committees in Washington.
Pakistan had also planned to send a security delegate ahead of the Games but later dropped the idea after a visit by an Indian delegation that had Member of Parliament Bhubaneswar Kalita and Indian Olympic Association Secretary General Rajiv Mehta in it.
Siddiqui, one of the best hockey players of his generation, said that he had not come across any security issue in the Assam capital.
“I have not come across any such issues. I don’t know whether Pakistan had security concerns in the run-up to the Games. But, no such issue here as I know of,” Siddiqui told PTI when asked if there were security concerns regarding his country’s athletes here.
He praised the organisers for looking after his country’s athletes.
“From the time we reached here we have been looked after very well and we have been given very good hospitality. I have no complaints on this,” said Siddiqui, under whose captaincy Pakistan had won the 1978 hockey World Cup.
But Siddiqui has one complaint, that of not giving Non Validated Passes to some of his athletes who were to take part in the Games. Around a dozen Pakistanis were not given NVPs, which were to act as visas, and Siddiqui said he had taken up the matter with the Indian authorities.
“I have taken up the matter with the organisers and the IOA but now the Games is about to be over. It was in their court,” he said.
This report will also have special significance for cricket fans as the Pakistan team’s inclusion in the upcoming ICC World Twenty20 in March is also awaiting permission from Pakistani central authorities.