The International Tennis Federation’s decision to shift the India-Pakistan Davis Cup tie to a neutral venue hasn’t gone down well with the Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTF).
PTF president Salim Saifullah questioned if Sikh pilgrims can visit the country for Guru Nanak’s 550th birth anniversary the why a 10-member India tennis squad can’t.
“Every year, many Sikhs come here (to Pakistan),”Saifullah told Dawn. “A large number of Indian Sikhs are all set to visit the country for celebrating the 550th birthday anniversary of the founder of Sikhism, Baba Guru Nanak in the next few days. Considering this, why a 10-member Davis Cup team comprising players and officials is reluctant to visit Pakistan,” he said.
The India-Pakistan Davis Cup tie was originally to be held in August but after India raised security concerns security issues regarding the safety of its players visiting the country, it was postponed to late November. However, with deescalation of hostilities between the two neighbouring countries, India requested ITF to shift the tie to a neutral venue which was accepted.
“Following the review of the latest advice given by the ITF’s independent security advisors, the Davis Cup Committee has taken the decision that the Davis Cup Asia/Oceania Group I tie between Pakistan and India on November 29-30 must be played at a neutral venue,” the ITF had said in a statement.
Pakistan has the choice of nominating a neutral venue. “…the Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTF) has the choice to nominate a neutral venue and has five working days to confirm the proposed venue. The venue will be announced once the choice has been submitted or approved.”