Sport

For me, it's a very shocking, embarrassing, disgraceful and unfair: Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi

For me, it's a very shocking, embarrassing, disgraceful and unfair: Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi

For me, it’s a very shocking, embarrassing, disgraceful, disappointing, sad, wrong and very unfair decision by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) for hosting this tie anywhere else but Pakistan. I don’t see any reason why they had to shift this tie to a neutral venue when the ITF team in the past they came to Pakistan twice and cleared all our safety measures, all our security measures. So there’s no reason now why they had to say that Pakistan is not safe for the Indians to come.

We just had the Sri Lankan cricket team coming and having an unbelievable tour of cricket in Pakistan. We have Bangladesh women’s team playing in Pakistan right now. The British Royal Family – the Prince and the Princess – came to Pakistan and they were there for six days in Islamabad, Lahore, and other cities. They had a great time and took very pleasant memories about Pakistan.

And for me, I’m really sad. I was really hoping and looking forward to hosting the Indians in Pakistan. Most of them were my friends as well. I hoped to send a really positive message to the people in India and rest of the world as well; a sports loving message, friendly message, a caring message. So for me, it is a very heartbreaking news.

Davis Cup: Pakistan slams India, to appeal decision

I really protest against the decision of the ITF. Our government and Pakistan Tennis Federation will definitely try to appeal it. I think this tie would have gone a long way in bringing both the nations together and bringing the people of both the countries together as well. And basically telling the world that ‘yeah, sports prevails over any politicians or politics.’ Unfortunately that’s not the case right now.

For me, this is a discrimination towards Pakistan. Before we faced it when our tie against New Zealand as well in Myanmar, we were forced to forfeit it. In 100 years of Davis Cup history that has never happened, but I think just because it was against Pakistan, the ITF or the referee didn’t really care much. It’s the same scenario right now. If this tie was supposed to be played in India, we would be playing this tie in India very easily and the ITF would have forced us to come to India and play it. So, for me, it’s really discriminating at every single level. And I’m really disappointed because I was really, really looking forward to hosting India in Pakistan and letting sports prevail in our region for the first time over politics.

The writer is Pakistan Davis Cup team’s mainstay. He spoke to Shahid Judge