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No cricket with Pakistan: GoI
Renu Mittal in New Delhi
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March 03, 2009 21:45 IST

The Government of India has firmed up its line of "No Cricket With Pakistan", in the wake of the attack on Sri Lankancricketers say highly placed sources in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

It is learnt that in the ICC [Images] meeting to be held in Dubai [Images] shortly to review preparations for the 2011 World Cup Cricket tournament, the Indian Government would convey the line that Pakistan as a venue for the world cup should be cancelled as it is "unsafe" for cricketers to travel and play there.

This thinking is expected to be conveyed through the BCCI President Sharad Pawar [Images] to the ICC.

India-Pakistan-Bangladesh-Sri Lanka have been decided as the joint venues to host the biggest cricket carnival in the world in 2011 and the preparations for this begin a good two years early.

The last time that India-Pakistan-Sri Lanka played joint hosts for the World Cup tournament was in 1996.

But Australia [Images] and West Indies [Images] had refused to go to Sri Lanka [Images] to play on the ground that the LTTE [Images] conflict was at its height and it would be unsafe for their team to travel there.

This time around the tables appear to have been turned. Lahore [Images] which had become the safe haven for the two finalists was today the venue of an unprecedented attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team, the first time such an attack has taken place in cricketing history.

After the Mumbai [Images] terror attack, the government had refused to allow the indian cricket team to tour Pakistan on the grounds that it was unsafe and sources said that the same advice had been tendered to Sri Lankans also by the Indian government informally, though officially the MEA would not confirm this.

The meeting in Dubai would be watched keenly by cricket lovers as well as big business houses because of the huge ad revenue involved.

The subcontinent is in the midst of conflict, whether it be the ongoing offensive by the Sri Lankan government against the LTTE forces, the mass killings of soldiers in Bangladesh and the attempt to destabilize the democractic mandate in Bangladesh but what has made the situation untenable for Pakistan is that the attack happened on its soil and no amount of justification can alter that.

For the Indian government the thinking is clear.

The Indian cricket team will not go to Pakistan to play cricket and the mood appears to be similar of all other cricket playing nations.

The fact that the Pakistan government could not protect the cricketers is a clear sign that the situation is getting out of control in Pakistan, said a senior official in the MEA. 

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