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No agreement inked with PCB, says Mashal

No agreement inked with PCB, says Mashal

May 29, 2017 - 15:11

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): The Afghanistaninfo-icon Cricket Board (ACB) says no agreement has been signed with the Pakistaninfo-icon opposite number. It insists just a pledge has been made to strengthen cricketing ties between the neighbours.

ACB Chairman Atif Mashal recently travelled to Lahore, where he met PCB officials and agreed on certain points, including two T-20 friendly matches in Kabul and Lahore.

Similar matches are to be played between U-16 and regional sides from the two countries. Pakistan has promised delivering technical cooperation to ACB.

But a number of Afghan social media activists opposed the ACB move and demanded the cricketing body cut off all ties with Pakistan.

After growing criticism on social media, the ACB chairman said no agreement had been signed with the PCB. He added that only discussions on some points had taken place during his trip to Lahore.

“I was invited by Pakistani officials and they suggested eight points upon which no agreement has been reached so far,” the ACB chairman said, calling the viewpoint of Afghans more important to him.

No decision would be taken against the interest of Afghanistan, Mashal promised, saying the ACB always respected the views of Afghans.

Mushtaq Rahim, a cricket fan and a former candidate for the cricket board post, wrote a lengthy article on the issue: “Any agreement reached with PCB is completely against the interest of Afghanistan. The agreement would have been beneficial for Afghanistan if it involved international events but the two matches are just friendly ones.”

He said cricket was a political game and the board was always headed by a politician. The current PCB chairman was a former diplomat while its executive director Najam Sethi is a journalist-turned-politician.

Social media activist Khoshal Khalil wrote: “Our security forces render sacrifices on a daily bases in the fight against Pakistani proxies. On what basis are the upcoming matches going to be played?”

He also rejected the notion that sportsinfo-icon and politics were separate issues. To him, the two subjects are inextricably inter-linked.

Some people, however, backed strengthening of cricketing links with Pakistan. Abdul Malik Asim, one of them, wrote: “It is strange that a person having Pakistani banknotes in his pocket opposes cricketing ties with Pakistan.”

Asim demanded someone truly opposed to Pakistan should stop carrying Pakistani banknotes. Pathological criticism made no sense, he suggested, stressing a pragmatic approach to Af-Pak relations.

Sports affairs director Babrak Omar recalled similar agreements had been reached with Pakistan in the past as well. Afghanistan under-19 and under-16 teams played practice matches in the neighbouring country. He supported playing against Pakistan in a third country.

Nasratullah Wafa, another social media user, asked for keeping sports and politics separate. According to Wafa, sports play a key role in bringing countries and peoples closer to each others.

“Let the cricket board work in a free atmosphere. Our emotions and interference will harm the performance of the board,” he wrote, warning against politicising a sportinfo-icon that has brought untiy to Afghanistan.



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