Thatscricket - News - Kashmir more important than cricket
Published: Tuesday, July 10, 2001, 0:00 [IST]
Copyright AFP 2001
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Karachi: Pakistan's cricket chief said on Tuesday the frayed sporting links between India and Pakistan should not feature during this weekend's summit talks between the countries' leaders. "I think nobody should be bothered about cricket because there are key issues like Kashmir which should take precedence and cricket is not that important," Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Lieutenant General Tauqir Zia said.Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf is due to hold talks with Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee during his July 14 to 16 visit, with Kashmir expected to be the focus. The Muslim majority Himalayan state is divided between India and Pakistan but claimed by both. It has caused two of the three wars between the South Asian nuclear neighbours.The Indian government last year suspended cricket ties with Pakistan in protest at Islamabad's alleged support for cross-border "terrorism" in Indian-controlled Kashmir, where a Muslim insurgency has raged since 1989. India refused a Test tour of Pakistan and withdrew from other multi-nation events, but they are scheduled to meet in an Asian Test Championship match in Lahore in September, India's first Test in Pakistan for 12 years.Former Pakistan captain turned politician Imran Khan agreed with Zia. "Cricket is a minor issue, if Kashmir is not discussed in this summit then cricketing relations may also worsen," said Khan, head of his own political party, Tehrik-e-Insaaf (Movement for Justice)."Cricket should follow once a breakthrough is achieved on the Kashmir issue." But cricket fans were not convinced that Kashmir was so important. "I hope that General Pervez and Vajpayee talk about cricket besides other issues and open the way for us to see the likes of Sachin Tendulkar and Saurav Ganguly playing in Pakistan," said fan Salman Ahmed.