Karachi: Sporting relations between Pakistan and Bangladesh have taken a hit after the latter postponed a much-anticipated cricket tour and a football club from there pulled out of the Asian Confederation Cup being held in Lahore.
Pakistan Cricket Board officials were not very pleased over a story in a leading cricket website that the Bangladesh Cricket Board president Mustafa Kamal had asked the South African Cricket Union to play against them in May. Kamal is quoted as saying that the BCB was willing to foot the bills for the unscheduled series, whether it is played in Bangladesh or South Africa.
The PCB is still upset over the manner in which the BCB latched onto a High Court injunction in order to postpone its tour to Pakistan. "Bangladesh are not playing any international cricket until September and yet they have ignored a good opportunity to play against a strong side by skipping the tour to Pakistan," one board official said.
The PCB hierarchy is due to meet soon to discuss the fall-out of the postponement and chalk out future plans, including how to continue cricket relations with Bangladesh hereafter.
On the football front as well, relations between the two countries are not good as Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) secretary Ahmed Yar Khan Lodhi lashed out at Bangladesh's Sheikh Jamal Football Club for pulling out of the AFC President's Cup, scheduled to take off from May 8 in Lahore.
The club refused to tour Pakistan due to security reasons, despite a full security plan sent to them by the PFF last month. "We are very disappointed by their pull-out despite our assurances. We have asked the AFC to ban them because once the AFC decided we will host the event, there was no excuse for the pull-out," Lodhi said.
The PFF secretary said it was strange that while the national Bangladesh team played in Lahore last year without any problems, a private club had made an issue of the security. According to Lodhi, a FIFA security consultant visited Lahore last month and everyone was satisfied with the plan.
Security concerns, however, are not the only headache for the PFF as arranging visas for Chinese Taipei's Taiwan Power Company (TPC) club will prove to be a huge ask as Pakistan does not recognise the state, according to its foreign policy. "We did get a heads-up from the interior ministry. A team from Chinese Taipei visited Pakistan in 2007, so we're hoping everything goes smoothly this time too," Lodhi said.