Sharif supports Indo-Pak cricket: Aide

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is a strong advocate of Pak-India cricket like millions of fans, his close aide said today, days after Pakistan slammed the doors on a mouth-watering bilateral series in India citing concerns over players’ safety.

“Sharif is an ardent fan of cricket and vetoing a mouth-watering series between Pakistan and India can never be a desired decision for him,” The Nation quoted an unidentified aide of the Premier as saying.

He said the recent incidents in India can force anybody at the top seat to think twice before allowing his men to take the field in a hostile environment.

“The decision to bind PCB (Pakistan Cricket Board) to seek permission from the government for India series is just because there are no positive signals from India. Shiv Sena is promoting hatred and the PM is concerned about the players’ safety,” the aide said.

He said Sharif was a strong advocate of Pak-India cricket like millions of fans on both sides of the border.

The close aide further said Sharif was hoping for improved ties with India where cricket could be taken as a sport not war.

“Yes, there are political tensions but it was India who suspended cricketing ties with Pakistan. We have never wanted this. They should take a sport as a sport. We hope we will be able to solve this issue,” he added.

Pakistan and India have not played a full series since the 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai, which India blamed on militants based across the border.

However, Pakistan visited India for a short limited-over series in December 2012, which was regarded as a stepping stone in reviving cricketing ties between both the countries.

Interior Minister Nisar Ali Khan had said on Monday that he would oppose any move to send the cricket team in India after reports that India wanted to invite Pakistan for a short series in December instead playing a series in the UAE.