Protests in Pakistan on IPL snub

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Pakistani civil society groups and political and religious parties protested the perceived snub of the countrys cricketers in the auction for the IPL.

Updated: January 21, 2010 16:35 IST
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Pakistani civil society groups and political and religious parties on Thursday protested the perceived snub of the countrys cricketers in the auction for the lucrative IPL tournament in India, even as an association of cable TV operators said they would boycott its broadcast.

Members of a civil society group burnt effigies of IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi outside the Press Club in the eastern city of Lahore.

Modi has earned the ire of political leaders and Pakistan Cricket Board chief Ejaz Butt, who has accused him of "betraying" the Pakistani players. The Cable Operators Association of Pakistan said, it would boycott all matches of the third edition of IPL.

The members of the association said their networks will not air any channel that beams the IPL matches.

Addressing a news conference in the Lahore Press Club, CAP president Jabbar Ahmed Khan said his group had condemned the attitude of the organisers of IPL.

The decision to boycott the Indian Premier League matches was made in a meeting of CAP and will be implemented across the country, he said.

Even leaders of religious parties, which do not usually comment on sports activities, joined the fray today.

Hardline Jamaat-e-Islami chief Munawar Hasan said: "Pakistanis must boycott IPL matches on television, ban the use of Indian products and stop watching Indian films featuring Bollywood stars who are IPL franchisees till an official apology is received from the Indian government and the IPL organisers."

The opposition PML-Q said the rejection of the Pakistani players in the IPL auction had exposed anti-Pakistan feelings in India. "No matter how much the Indians blow their trumpet about being liberal, educated and cultured people, this act has only revealed their anti-Pakistan intentions," senior PML-Q leader Chaudhry Pervez Elahi said.

Moonis Elahi, another PML-Q leader, said the Pakistan government, PCB and Pakistani cricketers should open their eyes and stop compromising the countrys prestige for "personal and selfish gains."

After the main opposition PML-N said yesterday that its members would boycott official visits to India as a mark of protest over the perceived IPL snub, National Assembly Speaker Fehmida Mirza announced that no parliamentary delegations will be sent to the neighbouring country.

Twenty20 champions Pakistan were stunned after none of the countrys 11 players were signed up during the IPL auction earlier this week. The PCB reacted with anger and disappointment, with Chairman Ijaz Butt saying he was "highly disappointed" by the manner in which his players were treated.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik was particularly scathing in his criticism of the treatment meted out to Pakistani players, saying India should apologise and send a delegation to take the cricketers from Pakistan.

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