Olympic body ‘suspends all talks’ with India for declining visas to Pak shooting team after Pulwama

The IOC said it will not allow India to organise any Olympic-related events in the future unless written assurances are obtained from the government.

New Delhi, February 22, 2019 —

The International Olympic Committee or IOC has decided to “suspend all discussions” with India regarding hosting of global sporting events after Pakistani shooters were not issued visas for the World Cup in New Delhi after the Pulwama terror attack.

The Olympic committee also revoked the Olympic qualification status for the men’s 25m rapid fire event from the New Delhi World Cup due to denial of visas to the Pakistani shooters in the wake of last week’s Pulwama terror attack in which at least 44 paramilitary soldiers were killed.

The IOC said it will not allow India to organise any Olympic-related events in the future unless written assurances are obtained from the government.

The two Pakistani shooters’ participation in the tournament had become doubtful after the Pulwama terrorist attack had been reported.

The IOC’s decision comes hours after International Shooting Sports Federation (ISSF) President Vladimir Lisin announced that all the allotted 16 Olympic quotas for the 2020 Games would be scrapped. However, the top sporting body limited the withholding of quotas to only two while retaining 14.

“The IOC restricted the withdrawal of recognition as an Olympic qualification event to the 25m rapid fire pistol competition in which the two Pakistani athletes were supposed to participate. This happened in the interest of the other 500 athletes from 61 countries participating in the other events who are already in India for their competition,” the IOC said in a statement after its executive board meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland on Thursday.

“Since becoming aware of the issue and in spite of intense last-minute joint efforts by the IOC, the ISSF and the Indian National Olympic Committee (NOC), and discussions with the Indian government authorities, no solution has been found to allow the Pakistani delegation to enter India in time to compete.” the statement said.

The International Olympic Committee came down heavily on India for going against the Olympic charter.

“This situation goes against the fundamental principles of the Olympic charter, in particular the principles of non-discrimination, as well as the IOC’s and the Olympic movement’s position, reiterated on many occasions over the past few years, that equal treatment must be guaranteed for all participating athletes and sporting delegations at international sports events, without any form of discrimination or political interference from the host country,” the IOC said.

“As a result, the IOC executive board also decided to suspend all discussions with the Indian NOC and government regarding the potential applications for hosting future sports and Olympic-related events in India, until clear written guarantees are obtained from the Indian government to ensure the entry of all participants in such events in full compliance with the rules of the Olympic charter — and to recommend that the international federations (IFs) neither award nor hold sports events in India until the above-mentioned guarantees are obtained,” it further said.

According to reports, the Indian shooters who will be affected by this decision are Anish Bhanwala, Arpit Goel, Bhavesh Shekhawat, Adrash Singh and Gurpreet Singh.

The Pakistan shooting federation on Wednesday requested the ISSF not to offer quota places in the events their shooters were scheduled to participate in.

Pakistan had applied for visas for two shooters – GM Bashir and Khalil Ahmed – in the rapid-fire category as the event in New Delhi also served as a qualifier for the 2020 Olympic games.

There has been a growing clamour in the country with calls to boycott Pakistani players and sporting events with the neighbouring nation after over 44 CRPF personnel were killed and many injured on February 14 in one of the deadliest terror strikes in Jammu and Kashmir when a Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) suicide bomber blew up an explosive-laden vehicle near their bus in Pulwama district.

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