The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has hit hard on India after two Pakistani shooters were denied visas for the ISSF World Cup in New Delhi, in the wake of the Pulwama terrorist attack, that led the death of 44 Indian soldiers the responsibility of which was taken by Pakistan’s Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM). With the political conflict leading to a no show for the two shooters – GM Bashir and Khalil Ahmed, the IOC has decided to not entertain India in talks related to hosting rights for future events, until and unless a written clearance from the government is obtained.
The IOC board also decided to revoke the Olympic qualification status for the men’s 25m rapid fire event after a request for the same was made by the National Rifle Association of Pakistan (NRAP) after its shooters couldn’t get visas for the said event. 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.
IOC Executive Board revokes Olympic qualification status of men’s 25m rapid fire pistol event in New Delhihttps://t.co/SuoM8rRJgD
— IOC MEDIA (@iocmedia) February 21, 2019
“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”, IOC said in a statement after its executive board meeting took place in Switzerland on Thursday.
As per the Olympic charter, equal treatment should be given to all participants in an event recognised by the IOC, no matter what the political differences the hosting country might have with one of the participating nations.
“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.
“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,” the statement further read.
Sporting ties between India and Pakistan haven’t been at its best in the past few years but an effect of the same wasn’t witnessed on multi-team events like the ISSF World Cup, Hockey World Cup or other ICC events. The recent suicide blast in the Pulwama district of Jammu & Kashmir, however, has taken the bilateral relations of the two countries to a new low. It remains to be seen what sort of an action plan the Sports Ministry and the Indian government come up with next.