PHF keen to play hockey in India, govt to take final decision

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> PHF President Qasim Zia met sports ministry officials before announcing that the government would take a final decision on sending the hockey team to India

Updated: January 01, 2009 13:00 IST
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Pakistan Hockey Federation on Thursday said although it's keen to send the national team to India for a four-nation tournament later this month, a final decision on the tour would be taken by the Foreign Ministry.

PHF President Qasim Zia today met sports ministry officials in Islamabad before announcing that the government and foreign office would take a final decision on sending the hockey team to India.

"We want to send our team to India because we feel it can help reduce the tensions between the two countries," Zia, an elected member of the ruling Pakistan People Party, said.

"We personally feel that sporting ties need to continue between Pakistan and India but the matter is in the hands of the government and foreign office," he added.

Pakistan is among three nations India invited to play in a double league invitational tournament in Jallandhar and Chandigarh in January.

Following the Mumbai terror attacks, the organisers reportedly are not very keen to host the Pakistan team and have apparently already made some alternate arrangements. Zia, however, expressed his ignorance of any such move. "So far we have heard nothing of this sort from them," he said.

Sports Minister Aftab Shah Jillani said today's meeting was held to finalise a summary to be sent to the government. "There is a feeling that the security of our players might be of concern if they go to India now," he said.

"We don't want to mix politics and sports but the Indians set the wrong example by cancelling their cricket team's tour to Pakistan. So we have to be careful while deciding on a policy of having sporting ties with India," he said.

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