Pakistani sports journalists have been denied visa by Indian authorities despite an official invite by the neighbouring country’s hockey board.
#Indian embassy in #Pakistan refuses to accept visa applications of Pakistani sports journalists, who have been invited to cover #HockeyWorldCup2018, starting from Nov 28. We request @SushmaSwaraj to take notice over visa denial.@PHFOfficial @Shoaib_Jatt @jatingandhi @Ajaybis pic.twitter.com/ZdGMhNTV8b
— Sarfraz Ali (@ItsSarfrazAli) November 15, 2018
Correspondents and reporters from Lahore say they received an invitation by Hockey India to cover the upcoming hockey world cup in the Bhubaneshwar, Odisha.
However, TCS, a Pakistani courier service company which accepts applications of accredited sports journalists, has flatly refused to take in their visa requests, they added.
When asked for a diplomatic intervention by the sports journalists, an Indian visa counselor flatly refused to accept the visa requests citing the less ‘time remaining for the event”.
“…. as detailed on our website, it takes 35-45 working days to obtain relevant clearances from India for the issue of a visa. Given the time remaining for the event, we will not be able to accept your visa application,” according to the statement from the Indian consulate.
Pakistani media said they were “shocked and baffled” and described the response as an “completely uncalled for” as they had received the invitation letter last only last Thursday.
They have now requested India’s Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj to take notice over visa denial.
This is not for the first time that India has denied visas to Pakistan.The same issue also forced prominent sports stars and sports writers to miss the two-day Ekamra Sports Literary Festival (ESLF) that took place in Odisha on November 2 and 3.
Former Pakistani cricket great Wasim Akram, who was also scheduled to speak in the fest, was repeatedly denied the visa. The organisers said that Wasim was eager to come and everything was finalised. However, he later informed that his file was not cleared by the new government in Islamabad
Meanwhile, The Pakistan hockey team postponed its travel plans to India for the World Cup by three days and will now arrive on Saturday.
The tournament starts in Bhubaneswar on November 28 and Pakistan play their first game, against Germany, on December 1. Pakistan have been clubbed with Germany, Netherlands and Malaysia in Pool D.