Ending speculation about their participation at the event in the wake of the Pulwama terrorist attack, India on Monday granted Pakistan’s shooters visas to participate in the New Delhi World Cup.
The International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) event, which will offer 16 quota places for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, starts at the Dr Karni Singh Range in the national capital on Thursday.
Pakistan had applied for visas for two shooters in the rapid-fire category, GM Bashir and Khalil Ahmed, for the World Cup.
“Their visa has been cleared and we have received communication from the Indian High Commission and the Pakistan shooting federation. The two shooters and the manager’s tickets are also being booked,” National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) secretary Rajiv Bhatia told PTI.
A three-member Pakistan contingent will arrive on Wednesday to compete in the shooting World Cup. Pistol shooters Bashir and Ahmed are Pakistan’s only entries in the tournament, where Olympic quotas are up for grabs.
Earlier, the terrorist attack had cast doubts over Pakistan shooters’ participation, with the country’s federation saying in Karachi that it would not send its marksmen if the visas don’t come through by this evening.
At least 40 CRPF paramilitary troopers were killed while several others injured in one of the deadliest terrorist strikes in three decades in Jammu and Kashmir. Pakistan-based Jaish e Mohammed claimed the responsibility of the attack.
Meanwhile, Pakistan’s National Rifle Shooting Federation President Razi Ahmed had earlier said that Bhatia had assured him that visas would be granted since the Indian home ministry has given its clearance.
“We will wait till 6.00 today if we get the visas fine, our contingent will travel to Delhi, but if we don’t get visas today than we can’t go at a short notice as the championship begins from 21st February,” Ahmed had said.