Indo-Pak parliamentarians to pad up for cricket match

Published: Friday, May 20, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
Share this on your social network:
   Facebook Twitter Google+    Comments Mail

Islamabad:Politicians from Pakistan and India are to put the thorny issues of their 16-month old peace process behind them in July and strap on their pads for a cricket game, a match co-ordinator said.

"The members of the lower house have the potential to take on India in a cricket match and we will start our preparation once the current session is completed," said Chowdhry Bilal Ejaz, who is organising the Pakistani side.

Twenty selected parliamentarians will first play warm-up matches against local clubs before crossing the border to play the Indian parliament team, Ejaz said.

Cricket hero-turned MP, Imran Khan, who launched a political career after 88 Tests and 175 One-day Internationals for his country, will be asked to play for the Pakistan MP side.

"We would request Khan to lead the team so that we can have the experience in the side," said Ejaz, a member of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League.

India and Pakistan, who have fought three wars since independence in 1947, have used their sporting ties and shared all-consuming passion for cricket to help boost peace efforts.

Former Pakistan President General Ziaul Haq initiated "cricket for diplomacy" by touring India during national team's tour of India in 1987 to avert a seemingly imminent war.

Last month President Pervez Musharraf accepted Indian Premier Manmohan Singh's invitation to watch One-day match between Pakistan and India in New Delhi but the visit was more focused on bilateral talks than cricket.

"The sporting contacts have played a significant role in normalisation of relations and our tour will also create a better atmosphere between the parliamentarians," said Ejaz.

India lifted a ban on bilateral sporting ties in October 2003 which paved way for India's first tour to Pakistan for 15 years.

Write Comments