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Sport's minister rules out India's Pakistan tour

Published: Friday, December 12, 2008, 15:49 [IST]
 
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India should not tour Pakistan: M S Gill

New Delhi: The Union Sports Minister M S Gill has sent a strong message across the border by saying that Indian cricket team should not tour Pakistan in the wake of Mumbai terror attack.

Gill said that it is not the right time to play cricket with Pakistan when "people from their soil were indulging in mass murder in India".

"Is it possible for one team to arrive in Mumbai and indulge in mass murder, and have another team go and play cricket in the winter afternoon sun at Lahore, immediately after," he asked while addressing the media today .

Gill"s comment comment came at a time when Pakistan Cricket Board's (PCB) chairman Ejaz Butt was scheduled to meet International Cricket Council (ICC) Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat and BCCI officials at Chennai in a bid to salvage the series.

The Indian team is scheduled to play five one-day, three Tests and a Twenty20 match during the tour starting from January 6.

Gill reiterated that sporting contact meant to enhance friendship and the cricket series was not a commercial drama to go ahead under the surveillance of thousands of security personnel.

He commented that commercial reasons should not be a factor in deciding the fate of the series.

"I have played cricket. I know the spirit of cricket. Cricket is not commerce," he said, adding "sports contact is for enhancing friendship between human beings, above all neighbours," he said.

India's junior hockey team tour, Champions Trophy cricket and Australia''s cricket tour of Pakistan were also cancelled earlier this year due to security concerns.

Pressing the fact that the Government should be the last agency to decide whether to go ahead with the tour or not he said,"Pakistan should first promise that it would help the world to stop terrorism."

"It requires those in authority in Pakistan to give a clear indication, satisfactory to the world, of doing everything possible to prevent such murderous incursion, and to root out the basis of it all," Gill said.

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