Pakistan’s Ministry of Sports has started the process of giving a No Objection Certificate to the country’s Hockey Federation for sending the national team to the World Cup in New Delhi starting February 28.
An official of the ministry said there was no chance of the government not clearing the team’s trip to India in retaliation for the snub given to Pakistani cricketers at the Indian Premier League auction.
“We believe in keeping politics apart from sports and we will be soon issuing the NOC for the hockey team to travel to India for the World Cup,” the official said.
He said the NOC would include security and other clearances from the Ministry of Interior and Foreign Affairs.
“Security of our players is not an issue for us since the World Cup is an international event managed by the International Hockey Federation who are responsible for security of all participating teams,” the official said.
Some former Test captains and Olympians had suggested not sending the hockey team to India as retaliation for the way Pakistani cricketers were embarrassed by the IPL franchises.
The ministry official said that the NOC would be processed soon since the PHF wants to send the team a few days before the tournament to help them acclimatise to conditions and also play a couple of practice game before its opening match on February 28 against India.