ISLAMABAD: Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Kashmir Shehryar Khan Afridi on Saturday criticised the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for reportedly trying to stop international cricketers from taking part in the Kashmir Premier League (KPL).
Speaking at a press conference, Mr Afridi urged the International Cricket Council to take notice of the tactics employed by the BCCI to forward “India’s political and hegemonic plots”.
Referring to allegations levelled by South African cricketer Herschelle Gibbs that BCCI had threatened him in a bid to stop him from playing in the tournament, he asked the cricket-playing countries and national cricket boards to frustrate India’s vicious designs and hold aloft the flag of global sports.
Flanked by KPL president Arif Malik and its CEO Chaudhry Shehzad, Mr Afridi said India should not be allowed to politicise the tournament because cricket is a gentleman’s game.
He said the Indians were trying to mislead the foreign players by claiming their security would be at risk if they took part in the KPL. But all the players should know that the KPL management would provide state-level security to the participating teams and players.
The chief of the Kashmir committee said Pakistan would keep working to ensure that the Kashmiri youths got their fundamental rights and that their talent and culture were highlighted appropriately. The KPL was a purely commercial venture, so India should not politicise it.
Mr Afridi said the KPL and the Kashmiri youths would both rise and shine and India could not suffocate Kashmiris.
The KPL would help promote tourism in Azad Kashmir and also highlights the region’s culture, he said. He also praised the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and its chairman and CEO for fully backing the KPL.
KPL president Malik said the hurdles put in the way of the tournament’s organisers were not limited to foreign players; rather the Indians had gone to the extent of threatening even the commentators as well as the broadcasters.
He said the KPL would be a tournament with international standards and a stadium was being revamped and turned into a state-of-the-art facility for the purpose.
The Kashmir Premier League T20 for 2021 is the first edition of KPL. Of the six teams playing in the inaugural season, five teams are from Azad Kashmir while the sixth one is from outside the region.
The league is the second T20 competition arranged by the PCB after the Pakistan Super League. Wasim Akram is the vice president of KPL.