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Sabotaging KPL

A row has erupted over the hosting of the Kashmir Premier League (KPL) cricket tournament. India is visibly irked about the tournament being held in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and is making all-out attempts to sabotage the event.

The Indian cricket board BCCI has threatened international players including former South African cricketer Herschelle Gibbs to prevent him from laying, saying it would deny him entry for cricketing related activities in India again. India is also forcing the ICC to distance itself and not recognize the tournament or halt it completely.

The T20 mega-cricket tournament is aimed at promoting Kashmir’s importance and talent at the global level. The tournament will be held from August 9 in Muzaffarabad. India is concerned as it would highlight the Kashmir issue in several countries and amplify calls for resolution of the dispute.

The row spilled in the political arena as several Pakistani ministers condemned India’s move to threaten retired players from participation for political gains. Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said pressuring Gibbs from not participating in the KPL will not harm the Kashmir movement, but rather benefit it. Shehryar Afridi, who heads the Kashmir Committee, vowed the tournament will be held despite Indian conspiracies and foreign players will participate in the tournament. He urged that sports should be kept separate from politics rather than spoiling the gentlemen’s game.

The PCB has also expressed its displeasure over Indian interference in domestic tournaments. BCCI has reached out to ICC on the status of Kashmir and whether tournaments can be held there. However, the ICC clarified it has no jurisdiction over non-sanctioned international tournaments, dealing a blow to the Indian government’s nefarious attempts.

The relations between the two cricket boards have been marred by the strained political relation. This unnecessary spat will worsen the atmosphere. The two sides have not played a series since 2012-13 or a Test match since 2007-08. Thus, India’s attempts to sabotage the tournament are regrettable and should be highly condemned.