The Indian High Commision in Islamabad denied visas for the three-member Pakistan squad, forcing their withdrawal from the competition which offers 16 quota places for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics (Pic: Courtesy ISSF).
Pakistan shooters will not take part in the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup Rifle/Pistol shooting set to begin at the Karni Singh shooting range in New Delhi from February 21. Reports quoted an official from Pakistan’s national shooting federation saying that the Indian High Commission in Islamabad denied visas for the three-member squad, forcing their withdrawal from the competition which offers 16 quota places for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
“We were supposed to fly out by Wednesday morning as the championship begins from Thursday, but we were not issued visas so the visit is as good as off,” Pakistan’s National Rifle Shooting Federation president Razi Ahmed was quoted in reports.
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“I was a bit worried about getting the visas after the Pulwama incident and our fears have come true. It is disappointing that our shooters will not get a chance to try to qualify for the Olympic Games,” added Razi.
After the Pulwama terror attack in Kashmir, which killed more than 40 CRPF personnel, and the subsequent simmering tension with Pakistan, the participation of the shooters at the season-opening ISSF World Cup was always in doubt. One of the two shooters in the team is also a Pakistan Navy personnel.
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Pakistan had applied visas for the two shooters — GM Bashir and Khalil Ahmed — who take part in the rapid fire category, and a team manager. The contingent, apparently, had booked air tickets and obtained NOC for carrying ammunition to New Delhi for the use in the championship.
Earlier in the week, the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) said it had received confirmation from the Indian High Commission that visas were granted to the two Pakistan shooters. Razi said the secretary of NRAI had assured him of the same as the Indian Home Ministry has given clearance as well.
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