Pakistan confident of procuring India visas for FIH Junior World Cup after missing last edition

By PTI

KARACHI: Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) is confident of participating in the FIH Junior World Cup to be held in Bhubaneswar from November 24 to December 5, after having missed the last edition of the event in India due to visa issues.

PHF President Brig (retd) Khalid Sajjad Khokar said that despite being informed late about the tournament by the world body (FIH), the federation has still managed to send all necessary documents to the Indian High Commission on time for smooth processing of visas for its contingent.

“We don’t want to see a repeat of what happened last time when the Junior World Cup was held in India in 2016. We have now submitted all documents so there is enough time for the host country to issue us required visas,” he said.

In 2016, Pakistan were unable to take part in the Junior World Cup after being denied visas by the Indian High Commission citing a delay on the part of PHF in applying for the travel document.

“This time we have already got NOCs from the Pakistan Sports Board and other relevant ministries and we are keeping them in touch about developments. We have also requested them to help us procure the visas on time for the tournament,” Khokar said.

“We are confident this time there will be no glitches and our team will be given the best security for the World Cup,” he said.

Khokar said Pakistan’s participation in the Junior World Cup was very important as hockey activities at the international level had nearly come to a halt for the nation because of the COVID-19 pandemic and other issues such as lack of funds.

“We want our team to be playing and gaining exposure in India,” he added.

PHF secretary Asif Bajwa said the FIH had informed them late that the last date for submission of application for Indian visa was September 24.

“I spoke to the FIH that how it is possible for the PHF to apply for the visas for a good number of players and officials at such a short notice.

“I also talked to FIH president Narinder Batra on phone and he assured FIH’s help to assist Pakistan in getting the visas,” Bajwa said.

Bajwa said a minimum of 60 days were required to get an Indian visa and on September 28, the PHF had sent a list of 25 players and nine officials to both Hockey India and the FIH.

Pakistan’s last appearance in India in any hockey event was in 2018 when the senior team participated in the men’s World Cup.

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