Latif wants Pakistan to boycott playing in India

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Strongly reacting to reports linking Mumbai terror attack and Pakistan, former skipper Rashid Latif said their cricketers should boycott the IPL and ICL.

Updated: December 01, 2008 12:21 IST
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Strongly reacting to reports linking Mumbai terror attack and Pakistan, former skipper Rashid Latif on Monday said their cricketers should boycott the IPL and ICL even as pace legend Wasim Akram felt the sport could be a platform to dispel the growing tension between the countries.

Rashid said he was appalled by the manner in which Indian media and government functionaries had tried to implicate Pakistan in the Mumbai attacks.

"What happened in Mumbai is wrong but Pakistan itself is a victim of terrorism. And it is so unfair the way they are trying to drag us into this incident," he said, adding clear message has to be sent to India that Pakistan was not prepared to accept blind accusations.

"Our players must pull out of the IPL and ICL and send a clear message to the Indians. As it is I have a feeling very soon the extremist elements in India will try to stop our sportsmen and artists from working in India," he said.

He also advised the Pakistan Cricket Board to stop pleading with the Indians to send their team to Pakistan.

"I just hope Indian government allows their team to tour Pakistan otherwise it would be very bad for cricket in general and also for relations between the two countries," said the pace great who suggested that India and Pakistan should play a Test in Mumbai to show solidarity and defeat terrorism.

"Cricket is passionately followed in both countries and it has always helped remove misunderstandings among the people. For me, India is like a second home and I would not like to see relations sour anymore," he said.

Former captain Zaheer Abbas also believed that politics should not be mixed with sports.

"What happened in Mumbai is despicable. Everyone condemns it whether a Pakistani or Indian. I have been to India many times and I have always got a lot of respect and love. I know the people want to improve ties. Cricket can help us do that."

Zaheer said if India decided against touring Pakistan it would leave Pakistan cricket completely isolated and in a sorry state of affairs.

"So far India has been supporting us a lot when other teams have been refusing to come to Pakistan. But if the Indians also don't come next year it would be catastrophic for Pakistan cricket," Zaheer said.

India were due to tour Pakistan from January four but uncertainty surrounds the trip after the Mumbai terror attacks.

The Indian government is yet to take a decision whether to allow its team to play in Pakistan.

"If they can't come to Pakistan then we shouldn't also go there for any cricketing activity. The security situation is the same in Pakistan and India," he said.

Rashid also said if England went ahead with their Tests in India it would show double standards on part of western countries who refuse to tour Pakistan due to security concerns.

While Rashid was fuming, Akram struck a conciliatory note.

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