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With Kashmir Premier League (KPL), Pakistan using cricket route to rake up Kashmir issue again

Kashmir Premier League inaugurated in Srinagar (Pics: Courtesy Twitter/@ChinarcorpsIA)

After repeated failure to internationalise the Kashmir issue, Pakistani rulers are trying to use cricket to fuel the issue. In the latest bid, the Pakistani Cricket Board (PCB) has been promoting the Kashmir Premier League (KPL)  in the Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) and the tournament will be played in Muzaffarabad from August 6. 

Taking offence, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has decided that those participating in the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB)-promoted Kashmir Premier League (KPL), would be barred from playing in leagues in India or having any commercial connection with the BCCI.

“While asking the boards not to allow their players to take part in the Kashmir league, we have informed them that in case they do, they can’t be part of any cricketing activity in India. We have done this keeping national interest in mind,” ANI reported an BCCI official as saying.

The BCCI officials reminded the PCB that POK is part of India and since the BCCI is the part of the Indian system, it can't allow any event, which violates the Indian constitution.

According to the official, this is just an extension of the Indian government’s policy. “We have no problems with those playing the Pakistan Super League (PSL) but this is a league in POK. We are following our government’s line.”

Also Read: Protests erupt against “sham” elections in PoK – Pak army and Imran Khan are in the firing line

On Saturday, the former South Africa batsman Herschelle Gibbs took twitter to accuse the BCCI of “preventing” him from participating in the KPL in POK. He further said that the BCCI raising the issue under a “political” agenda.

“Completely unnecessary of the @BCCI to bring their political agenda with Pakistan into the equation and trying to prevent me playing in the @kpl_20 . Also threatening me saying they won’t allow me entry into India for any cricket related work. Ludicrous,” he tweeted.

Interestingly Gibbs was one of the accused of match fixing in 2000.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has asked the International Cricket Council (ICC) not to  recognise the Kashmir Premier League (KPL).

After the BCCI’s strong stand regarding the KPL, many cricket control boards asked their players to “skip” the controversial tournament being held in POK. Other players, too expected to withdraw as they want to play in India.

Interestingly, before Pakistan, India’s Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir,  has already had its Kashmir Premier League (KPL) in Kashmir. In fact, the second edition of the  KPL2021 started last month and in the ongoing tournament 10 local teams are playing 20 league matches at different locations across the UT.

Supported and managed  by the Srinagar based Chinar Corps of the Indian army, though it's a local tournament.

“#Kashmir Premier League 2021 Phase 2, was inaugurated by Mr Vijay Dhar, Chairman DPS #Srinagar in presence of civil & military dignitaries including Mr Majid from @BCCI. #KPL2021 trophy was also unveiled today.”