ISLAMABAD: While terming the existing ban on Pakistan for holding international squash events as unjustified, former world champion Jansher Khan on Sunday blamed India for making attempts to keep the sport away from Pakistan.
“It seems that the Indian lobby is behind the PSA ban on Pakistan for holding international events,” he said in a statement.
The legendary Jansher urged the international squash body for immediate removal of ban as Pakistan is home of squash legends and a country which successfully held several international events during the last two years.
The former champion said Pakistan, which has proud legacy in squash, has unfortunately been facing barred from holding international events.
“Relationship between Pakistan and International squash are sine qua non, as Pakistan had several big names in international squash, who had achieved many milestones globally,” he said.
It is relevant to note here that in February this year, the Professional Squash Association (PSA) had refused to allot international events to the country because of security reasons. In fact, Pakistan successfully held several international events during the last year.
In a bid to give a message to international squash body that Pakistan is a safe country for holding international matches, recently the Pakistan Squash Federation held two back-to-back non-ranking series, one against World V and the other against Egypt.
World No 2 Karim Abdel Gawad and world No 15 Mohamed Abuelghar also participated in the Egypt-Pakistan series. Whereas, Pakistan’s top-ranked world No 47 Farhan Mehboob outclassed Gawad to send a strong message to world’s top players that Pakistan still has got a huge potential in the sport.
“Actually, India has been lobbying to keep international squash away from Pakistan so that Pakistani players could not get chances to play international events to improve ranking,” Jansher, an eight- time winner of World Open, said.
“World No 2, world No 15 and several other top-ranked players not only participated in recently-concluded two non-ranking events, but they also enjoyed here. I don’t think why the PSA think otherwise,” he said.
The legendary player also suspected something fishy behind the ban on Pakistan’s top-ranked player Nasir Iqbal, who is currently facing four years ban imposed by World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) for using banned drug during 12th South Asian Games, held in India last year.
He had won gold for the country in the South Asian Games, but later like others, Jansher also felt that Indian lobby played a role for getting maximum four-year ban on Nasir Iqbal, meaning the career of emerging players will reach to an end in 2020, when ban imposed on him will expire.
When contacted, Sikander Mayor, the PSF development officer, said that PSA security consultant visited Pakistan from July 12 to 15 and the federation gave him comprehensive briefing about the country Pakistan.
“We informed him that Pakistan could easily hold international events. I think there is no justification for PSA to keep the ban intact. We are hopeful that ban will be lifted soon,” Sikander said while adding that if the ban is lifted in this month, then PSF will hold at least three mega international events.