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Pak refuses squash team permission for India event

other Updated: Jan 02, 2009 22:11 IST

AFP
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Pakistan refused to clear its national junior squash team on Friday to travel to India for the Asian Junior championship amid heightened tension between the two countries.

Pakistan's sports minister Pir Aftab Shah Jilani cited security issues for barring both the junior squash team and national senior hockey team's travel to India.

"We sought advice from the external ministry and took the decsion that it's not advisable to send the teams to India over security fears," Jilani said.

Pakistan squash team was due to defend its team and individual titles in the championships to be held in Chennai from 16-23.

The hockey team was due to compete in the double-leg tournament in Chandigarh from January 31-February 9.

Anticipating the decision, India had already replaced Pakistan with New Zealand. Germany, the Netherlands and hosts India are the other teams taking part.

Since the Mumbai attacks in November, relations between the south Asian rivals have taken a dip.

New Delhi refused to send its cricket team to Pakistan and the January-February series was cancelled.

Jilani said if situation improved ties may be revived.

"Once we have normalcy in the situation between the two countries, we can have a review of our participation in the sporting events in India," said Jilani.

Pakistan and India also broke off sporting ties in the wake of terror' attacks on the Indian parliament in 2001.

India lifted the ban in October 2003, paving way for Indian cricket team's visit to Pakistan a year later.