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Pakistan gov't won't sanction India tour
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP):
The Pakistan government denied permission yesterday for their men's field hockey team to play in a four-nation tournament in India next month due to security concerns.
Pakistan were due to compete with Germany, the Netherlands and India from February 1-9 in the Indian city of Chandigarh.
"We feel it will not be safe for our players to play in India and that's why we have not given permission to Pakistan Hockey Federation to compete in a four-nation tournament," sports minister Aftab Jilani told The Associated Press. "The time is not right to allow our hockey team players to go to India."
Last month, India cancelled their cricket tour to Pakistan in the wake of November's terrorist attacks in Mumbai in which at least 164 people were killed. New Delhi have blamed Pakistan-based terrorists for the attacks.
"When the situation normalises between the two countries only then we can see whether to send our sports teams to India or not," Jilani said.
The minister said that he had consulted yesterday with PHF officials, including Pakistan president Qasim Zia and secretary Asif Bajwa before deciding against sending the hockey team to India.
"We held a meeting today with all the top officials of PHF before reaching the decision," Jilani said.
In November, the Indian government denied permission for their junior hockey team to play a five-Test series in Pakistan.