`No India vs Pakistan bilateral matches until terrorism ends`, asserts Thakur

Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur asserted that any bilateral series of cricket between India and Pakistan would not be held until the latter puts an end to `terrorism` following the Anantnag encounter on Thursday.

“BCCI had decided much earlier that we would not play bilateral matches with Pakistan until they put an end to terrorism, cross-border attacks and infiltration. I think the sentiments of the country and of the public are also the same,” Thakur told reporters. This comes after three top Indian security personnel were recently killed in a gunfight in Anantnag`s encounter with Pakistan-based terrorists in Jammu & Kashmir which has enraged the entire country.

An Army Colonel commanding a Quick Response Team (QRT) of the Rashtriya Rifles, lost his life in the ongoing gunfight in the Anantnag district. An Army Major and a Deputy Superintendent with the Jammu and Kashmir Police also fell to enemy fire in the Kokernag area.

The slain senior Army officers and the DSP were identified as Colonel Manpreet Singh, Major Ashish Dhonak, and Humayun Bhat.

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Notably, India and Pakistan haven`t played a series since 2012-13, following which bilateral cricket has been suspended due to heightened diplomatic tensions between the two neighbours. PCB have also demanded the resumption of cricketing ties between India and Pakistan on several occasions. Earlier this month, BCCI president Roger Binny and vice-president Rajeev Shukla travelled to Pakistan following an invitation to members of the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) and other cricket boards by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to attend Asia Cup matches taking place in Lahore.

“It was a two-day visit and a good visit. The Governor hosted a dinner in our honour. The hospitality of the people of the Pakistan Cricket Board was also good. Their demand was that cricket between the two countries should be resumed, we said it would be decided by govt and we would do whatever our govt would say. It was a cricket visit and there was no political agenda,” Shukla was quoted as saying.

Notably, Pakistan cricket team are scheduled to visit India next month to play the 50-over World Cup, including a league match against India in Ahmedabad on October 14. Last year, BCCI secretary Jay Shah announced that India will not travel to play Asia Cup 2023 which is being hosted by Pakistan and will be played at a neutral venue.

(With agency inputs)

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