India snubs snooker championship in Pakistan

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April 26, 2013

India’s snooker team will forgo the upcoming Asian snooker championships in Karachi over security concerns. Last month India also forbade its squash team from competing in Islamabad. Tension between the rival countries has escalated in recent months due to conflicts in disputed Kashmir.

April 26, 2013

India’s snooker team will forgo the upcoming Asian snooker championships in Karachi over security concerns. Last month India also forbade its squash team from competing in Islamabad. Tension between the rival countries has escalated in recent months due to conflicts in disputed Kashmir.

A Pakistani man plays snooker in a club in Lahore on February 5, 2010.

India has refused to clear players for the Asian snooker championships in the Pakistani city of Karachi because of security fears, a Pakistani snooker official said Thursday.

India was among the 15 nations due to compete at the annual Asian amateur championship from April 27 to May 3, but the Indian external affairs ministry refused permission, said Alamgeer Shaikh, the president of the Pakistan Billiards and Snooker Association.

"All the top Asian countries are still coming for the championship, but India's decision will affect the relationship of the two countries in sport," Shaikh told AFP.

This is India's second regional championship snub for Pakistan after New Delhi refused to clear its squash players for next month's Asian championship in Islamabad.

India had stalled all bilateral sporting relations with Pakistan in the wake of 2008 terrorists' attacks on their commercial hub Mumbai, which left 166 people dead and were blamed on militants based across the border.

But New Delhi cleared a short limited overs series with their arch-rivals in December-January, allowing Pakistan to tour India for the first time in five years.

However, escalating tensions in the wake of fatal attacks earlier this year on both sides of the de facto border that divides Kashmir quashed hopes of normalisation of relations.

The two countries who have fought three wars since gaining independence from the British rule in 1947.

India also cancelled a proposed bilateral hockey and snooker series with Pakistan last month.

Shaikh said the championship will go on with teams from China, Hong Kong, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Mongolia, the Philippines, Qatar, Syria, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates and hosts Pakistan to feature.

The winner of the event will take home $7,000 while the runner-up will pocket $3,500. Pakistan previously hosted the event in 1991, 1998, 2001 and 2007.


Courtesy: AFP