The uncertainty prevailing over the India-Pakistan Davis Cup tie deepened after the Pakistan Tennis federation (PTF) appealed against International Tennis Federation’s decision to move the Indo-Pak Davis Cup out of Islamabad to a neutral venue.
In its plea against ITF’s verdict, PTF has asked if Sikh devotees from India feel safe to travel to Pakistan, what does the 10-member Indian Davis Cup side have to fear about?
It is to be noted that PTF was talking in accordance to inauguration of the 4.2 km-long Kartarpur Sahib Corridor on November 9 by the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
After the inauguration of the Kartarpur corridor, a lot of worshipers from India will be sent to visit Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara in Pakistan’s Punjab district to celebrate the 550th birth commemoration of Guru Nanak Dev on November 12.
PTF president Salim Saifullah in an interview with the Dawn insisted that every year Pakistan records a large number of footfalls of Sikh devotees from India. He further added that a lot of Sikh worshipers from all over the world are likely to visit Pakistan to celebrate 550th birth jubilee of Baba Guru Nanak.
When asked about choosing the neutral venue for the tie, the PTF president said although he is disappointed by ITF’s decision, PTF will very soon decide the neutral venue.
Earlier in an interview soon after the ITF’s decision, Saifullah had also mentioned that Aisam ul Haq and Aqeel Khan, the top ranked Tennis players in Pakistan, had informed the PTF that they would give the Davis Cup a miss if the Indo-Pak match was not played in Islamabad.
Originally, the Davis Cup tie was scheduled to take place on September 14-15 in Islamabad, however it was postponed to November after a security assessment by the ITF in August.
The change in venue by ITF was termed ‘victory of soft diplomacy and quiet persistence of AITA’ by the All India Tennis Association CEO Akhouri Bishwadeep.