Summit planned to break Indo-Pak deadlock
Published: Thursday, April 17, 2003, 21:05 [IST]
Copyright AFP 2001
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New Delhi: Cricket chiefs from India and Pakistan will meet in Dubai early next month to resolve the impasse arising out of the Indian government's refusal to sanction bilateral series against Pakistan. Indian cricket supremo Jagmohan Dalmiya and his Pakistani counterpart Tauqir Zia will meet on the sidelines of the Asian Cricket Foundation session in Dubai on May 3 to ensure the deadlock between the archrivals did not ruin Asian cricket. Pakistan last week pulled out of the six-nation Asia Cup in Sri Lanka from August 10- 28 after the Indian government once again declined permission for the Indian team to play a scheduled Test series in Pakistan this month in protest at Islamabad's alleged support to militancy in Kashmir. The Indian team is, however, allowed to play against Pakistan in multi-nation events like the World Cup and Asia Cup. The two sides met in the recent World Cup in South Africa on March 1, a match that passed off without incident and raised hopes that bilateral Test series may finally take place. India has not played a Test match in Pakistan since 1989, while Pakistan played three Tests in India in 1999-2000 despite threats from Hindu fundamentalists to disrupt the tour. The Tests in Madras and New Delhi went off peacefully, but the third at the Eden Gardens in Calcutta ended in front of an empty stadium after police were forced to clear the stands following crowd trouble. Zia, a serving General in the Pakistani army, admitted to the Calcutta- based 'Telegraph' newspaper on Thursday that India's refusal to play in Pakistan forced him to pull out of the Asia Cup. "Look, that's been the top, but not the sole, consideration. There have been a series of events," Zia told the newspaper in a telephonic interview from Rawalpindi. He said Pakistan was irked at India's participation in the ongoing three-nation tournament in Bangladesh when it should have been playing a Test series in Pakistan. "Even though India should have visited us after the World Cup, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) made the Bangladesh commitment well over a year ago," Zia was quoted as saying. "How do you expect us to react? What do I tell people in Pakistan?" "It was on the understanding that India would play Pakistan in a Test series, even if that be on neutral territory, that we agreed to forego our chance of hosting the Asia Cup." "But, when even that is not materialising, why should Pakistan play at all? After all, it's known that India's no to a bilateral series is hurting the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB)." "The ACC has no future. It can't unless India and Pakistan join hands." An Indian cricket Board source told that Dalmiya and Zia would discuss the matter in Dubai, adding, "all was not lost yet, a compromise could still be worked out". Besides India and Pakistan, the other teams due to play in the Asia Cup are Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and qualifiers Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates.