Echoing the sentiments of the nation, Indian Premier League (IPL) chairman Rajeev Shukla has claimed that there will be no cricketing ties between India and Pakistan on a bilateral level as long as the state-sponsored terrorism ceases.
His remarks come after the terror attack in Pulwama town where 40 CRPF soldiers were martyred.
“Whatever is happening, Imran Khan’s portrait being removed or MFN status revoked is people’s outrage & the reaction is justified,” Shukla said to Times Now.
While he made it clear that he doesn’t want to see cricket and politics be mixed. But he said that Pakistan will first have to stop terrorism before thinking of resuming cricketing ties with India.
“I have always said the sport is above politics. But now it will hamper sporting ties too, not until Pakistan sponsored terrorism is stopped.”
Too Early for WC Boycott
The interview came at a time when calls of boycotting the ICC World Cup tie against Pakistan are getting louder across the country. However, Shukla played it safe on the chance of the 1983 and 2011 World Cup winners taking a decision for the same.
He expressed that the tournament is far away to take a decision right now. “(I) Cannot say now whether we will play Pakistan in the World Cup as it is too far. But our policy & position is very clear. We will wait for the government’s decision,” Shukla added.
Along with numerous fans, a Mumbai cricket official has called for boycotting the World Cup game as well.
“We condemn the terror activities carried out against our army & CRPF personnel,” Suresh Bafna, Cricket Club of India (CCI) secretary, told news agency ANI. “Though CCI is a sporting association but nation comes first. Even before sports,” he added.
Following the grievous attack, CCI, an BCCI affiliated unit, has covered a portrait of Imran Khan in its Mumbai office.
Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) has also removed photographs of Pakistani cricketers hung inside Mohali stadium.
Harbhajan Singh has also demanded for boycotting the India Pakistan World Cup match.
Moreover, IMG-Reliance, an event management company, has also pulled out of producing the on going Pakistan Super League (PSL) with the television channel D-Sport suspending the league’s coverage in India.
India haven’t played a bilateral series against Pakistan since 2013. However, they have played against each other in international tournaments such as the 2017 Champions Trophy and 2018 Asia Cup. Both the encounters were at neutral venues. They are scheduled to next play in Manchester on June 16.