Karachi: The Pulwama terrorist attack has cast a doubt over Pakistan shooters’ participation in the season-opening shooting World Cup in New Delhi, with the country’s federation Monday saying it will not send its marksmen if the visas don’t come through by this evening.
The ISSF (International Shooting Sports Federation) event, which will offer 16 quota places for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, starts at the Dr Karni Singh Range on Thursday.
“We will wait till 6.00 today if we get the visas fine, our contingent will travel to Delhi, but if we don’t get visas today than we can’t go at a short notice as the championship begins from 21st February,” National Rifle Shooting Federation president Razi Ahmed told PTI.
The official said they were yet to get visas from the Indian High Commission in Islamabad despite applying well in advance.
The National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) said the Indian government had given clearance for the applications, but that was before last Thursday’s dastardly attack. At least 40 CRPF paramilitary troopers were killed while several others injured in what is being termed as the deadliest terrorist strike in three decades in Jammu and Kashmir.
Pakistan has applied for visas for two shooters in the rapid-fire category — GM Bashir and Khalil Ahmed — for the World Cup.
“We have applied for visas on schedule but until an hour ago we had not been issued the visas so we are waiting,” Razi said.
Razi said the secretary of NRAI had assured him since the Indian home ministry has given clearance.
“Due to the changed situation in the last few days we don’t know whether we will be issued visas,” he said.
Razi said air tickets had been booked as well NOCs (No Objection Certificates) obtained for taking the ammunition to New Delhi for use in the championship.