India will not play cricket with Pakistan if it harbours Dawood, says BCCI secretary

(From Express Tribune)

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) secretary Anurag Thakur said on Saturday there will be no revival of cricketing relations between India and Pakistan if  Islamabad harbours Dawood Ibrahim and continues dialogue with Hurriyat leaders.

BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur

BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur

“Dawood in Karachi. National Security Agency (NSA) wants to meet separatists here. Are you really serious about peace and you expect we’ll play cricket with you?” Thakur said in a twitter message.

On Saturday, a newspaper and channel came out with proofs to show that Pakistan is providing a haven for Dawood, the mastermind of the 1993 Mumbai blasts.

Thakur’s statement comes a day after the scheduled talks between the national security advisers (NSAs) of the two neighbours were called off.

Earlier this week, Thakur had cited firing altercations between Pakistan and India along the Line of Control and Working Boundary as the reason for not playing with Pakistan, saying “cricket and terrorism” cannot go hand-in-hand.

“Peace on the borders is essential for a cricket match between India and Pakistan and no cricket match is possible under the shadow of unprovoked firing and bombardment at the border,” said Thakur.

According to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by both the nations, India is expected to play an away series against Pakistan in UAE. Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman, Shahryar Khan, said in a statement earlier this month that he was hopeful that the BCCI will honour the MoU signed with Pakistan to play a series.

“We hope India honours the agreement. If they don’t, it would not be good,” Khan said.

PCB has time and again offered to keep politics and cricket aside and even some players have echoed the board’s sentiments. Test captain Misbahul Haq said Pakistan and India should be playing against each other in bilateral series regularly and playing cricket should not be linked to the overall political relations between the two nations.

However, the BCCI has always left matters to be handled by their government.

Although the fate of the series looks uncertain, the final verdict is yet to be decided.

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